Panes of glass in a window or patio door are held apart by spacers. Spacers impact the overall performance of the insulated glass. The quality of the materials used to produce spacers, their longevity, flexibility and thermal properties are critical.
How Important is a Spacer in a Window?
Outside your home, windows have to stand up to the extreme weather conditions all year round. They face changes in temperature, wind loads, barometric pressure, and humidity. Additionally, windows are bombarded with harmful UV rays and hot infrared radiation from the Sun. On the inside of your home, windows have to face changes in temperatures, too. And because the edges of the insulated glass unit are the coldest parts of the window, they are the most susceptible to condensation. Most often condensation occurs in well insulated and weather tight homes. Not only may condensation on the window lead to damaged woodwork, trim, and draperies, but it can also fuel mold growth.
High quality, non-conductive spacers create a thermal barrier and increases the comfort during cold and warm weather by reducing the transfer of heat and cold into your home. Also, warmer interior glass surfaces significantly lower possibility of condensation.
Four Benefits of High Quality Spacer
Do Your Research about Spacer Materials before Buying Windows
Older double-pane windows and patio doors have metal spacers - typically aluminum. The problem with aluminum is that it is a super conductor of heat and cold. During winter it conducts cold and makes the edges of the glass even colder. This decreases overall U-Factor of the window making it less energy efficient. In addition to the increased heat loss, the colder edges of glass are more prone to condensation. Plus, aluminum spacers are usually square-shaped. This leads to another problem – inflexibility of the spacer. This inflexible design is typically a major reason for a seal failures, and special gas leakage. The end result of the failing insulated glass seals is depletion of the gas, and fog in between panes of glass that can’t be cleaned.
PPG Intercept Warm Edge Spacer
To address the problems of aluminum spacers, PPG Industries introduced Intercept Warm Edge Spacer in 1992. Intercept features a unique, one-piece steel or stainless steel alloy that creates an effective thermal barrier to help reduce heat loss and condensation. This also keeps the edges of the glass warmer. U-shaped spacer is flexible, thus greatly reduces the possibility of seal failure
With conventional inflexible aluminum spacers, the sealant flexes, which can lead to sealant failure. This leads to loss of insulation ability, gas leakage, and foggy glass that cannot be cleaned
During the dramatic changes in temperatures as well as movement of the panes of glass, Intercept spacers move along with the glass, thus preventing sealants from breaking
Minimize the Possibility of Interior Condensation
PPG Intercept spacer features "Warm-Edge" technology that minimizes the possibility of condensation problems around the window perimeter. Compare the Intercept insulating glass window (below left) with a conventional insulating glass window (below right). Both windows have LowE glass and argon gas. The difference is in the spacer.
Increase The Temperature Around the Edges of Insulated Glass
This thermal picture compares room side glass temperature for an Intercept insulated glass (left, yellow is warmer, blue is cooler), and a conventional aluminum spacer (right). Since the Intercept allows for significantly warmer glass temperature especially at the edges, your home will feel more comfortable.
EdgeTech Foam Super Spacer
The EdgeTech Company had gone a step further and designed the foam Super Spacer. This spacer system features a non-metal design that eliminates cold-edge metal-to-glass construction at the glass edge. This ensures greater insulation at the glass edge - where the window traditionally insulates least effectively - and virtually eliminates condensation at the edges of the window associated with metal spacers that conduct cold air.
Duralite HeatSeal® Spacer System
Duralite HeatSeal is an insulating glass edge structural seal system built by using a unique composite laminating technology. It contains NO METAL, but uses a durable polycarbonate structural spacer element. Polycarbonate is the same material that is used in the production of the canopies in F-20 fighter jet airplanes. It has insulating chambers with captured pillows of air that reduce energy loss through the spacer. 3-sided Continuous Moisture Barrier makes this spacer impermeable to gas and water vapor. Durable bondline adhesive is moisture resistant and withstands prolonged UV and water exposure. Protective layer of encapsulated desiccant in either grey or black color, prolongs the life of the entire spacer system.
Construction of Duralite HeatSeal Spacer
Thermal Properties of Duralite HeatSeal Spacer - Comparison To Other Spacer Materials
Let Us Help You Find The Best Window For Your Home and Budget
As company that specializes in new construction and replacement vinyl windows, we offer windows that utilize the latest spacer technologies. ALSIDE ClimaTech glass packages feature PPG Intercept Warm Edge Spacer. This unique system will help you keep heating and cooling costs down, reduce condensation and boast long-life service of your insulated unit. Additionally, we offer ClimaTech PLUS featuring NO-METAL foam Super Spacer. This sophisticated spacer system provides the warmer edge temperatures and dramatically reduces condensation.
For even higher energy savings, greater comfort, and even longer life of the insulated glass unit you may want to consider OKNA windows with NO-METAL Duralite HeatSeal Spacer. HeatSeal spacer, with the unique POLYCARBONATE component, is one of the best spacer systems available on the window market today. The POLYCARBONATE durable material is structurally superior to many other spacers. INSULATED CHAMBERS reduce energy loss through the spacer. And 3-SIDED CONTINUOUS MOISTURE BARRIER is impermeable to gas and water vapor.
To learn more about windows and patio doors call us at 860-357-5177, or click here to schedule a free in-home consultation.