Learn about energy-efficient replacement windows. Find out whether there is a difference between triple or double pane windows when it comes to energy-efficiency..
LESLIE: Roger is calling from West Virginia and he wants to talk windows . How can we help?
ROGER: Hello. I had a question about getting into replacement windows ; that has to do with triple-pane versus double-pane. Some of the technology is a little overwhelming and I’d like to be able to understand that more clear as to which way to go or is it necessary?
TOM: That’s a good question, Roger, and the answer is no because double-pane and triple-panes are fairly similar. Now, if you get up to a real brutal climate, like you’re up in the high hills of the north part of the country where you’re dealing with just brutal winters, you might get a better return on investment. But in your part of the country, in West Virginia and in most of the center of the country, I would say no. It’s not going to be a big difference between double-pane and triple-pane. What is more important is that the window is Energy Star-rated  and it’s never been a better time to replace your windows with those that are Energy Star-rated because there is a federal tax credit that you may be eligible for, which goes from now until January of 2008, where you can actually get an income tax credit for …
LESLIE: Of up to $500.
TOM: Yeah, for putting in new windows that are Energy Star-rated windows.
ROGER: Oh, that’s good to know.
TOM: Yeah. So it’s a good time to do it.
ROGER: Now, I was also on the internet trying to understand some of this technology that’s new that’s come out; I guess some of the gases that they put in between the panes.
ROGER: And I guess there were two main kinds; one is fairly new.
TOM: Argon and krypton.
ROGER: Yes. Yes. And out of those two, I didn’t know – you know, you get salesman hype and you don’t know what to believe. But also it was saying that it’s not so much how many panes you’ve got but the distance between the panes.
TOM: Listen, Roger, you know there’s a lot of science between designing a window that’s energy-efficient and I commend you for trying to understand the science but the government’s done the job for you. If the window is Energy Star-rated, you know it’s meeting the model energy code and if you go that route, you don’t have to worry about what the difference is between argon and krypton and the space between the glass and whether it’s got swiggle or whether it’s got …
LESLIE: I love that word. You know I love that word. (Roger laughs) Swiggle. It’s my favorite. I’ve been waiting for you to say it.
TOM: Exactly. She just loves to hear me say it. Swiggle, swiggle, swiggle.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) My swiggle. (Roger chuckles)
TOM: But really, Roger, you don’t have to do that work. If you get an Energy Star-rated window, it’s going to meet all those standards for the model energy code and don’t try to – you know, this way you get out from under, you know, what one salesman says versus the other. Just say, “Hey, is it Energy Star-rated? What Energy Star rating does it have?” And go from there.
ROGER: Do you have a brand that you would lean toward?
LESLIE: And it’s not just the window manufacturer. You have to make sure that they’re set nicely in a good frame. Stay away from aluminum-framed windows because they’re just going to cause condensation and it’s not going to be really good because they’re going to hold a lot of the temperature, whether it’s cool or hot. Make sure you go for a nice vinyl or wood-framed window. Triple-pane glass, not necessary; go for the double pane and Energy Star-rated. That’s all you need to know and you’ll be really happy.
ROGER: That’s great.
LESLIE: And let them measure for you.
ROGER: (chuckling) That’s great. That folds it down into – put the jelly on the bottom shelf where I can get it.
TOM: There you go.
LESLIE: (chuckling) I like that.
TOM: Roger, thanks so much for calling 888-MONEY-PIT.