In this article we will discuss insulated glass units and the use of Argon Gas as a means of insulation. But why is having a gas filled glass unit so important? Does Argon gas insulation really make that much of a difference? Absolutely, and here is why. From the Greek word argos (meaning inactive or lazy), Argon is an important part of an energy efficient window. Argon gas conducts about 47.87 % less heat than air, and is also around 30% more dense than air, making for an excellent barrier for heat transfer. Heat energy as well as noise has a much harder time travelling through Argon than they do air.
About 1.28% of the air we breathe is Argon gas, and it is the third most common gas in our atmosphere. It is one of the noble gases, and is inflammable. It is colorless, odorless and completely non-toxic as a solid, liquid, and of course a gas. Argon is completely harmless unless there is so much of it that it replaces all the oxygen in the atmosphere. If an Argon gas filled glass unit breaks, there is no danger whatsoever from the gas.
It’s been seen in studies that insulated glass units constructed with Super Spacer (more about these later) averaged about a 1% loss after being subjected to accelerated weather testing. This loss of approximately 1% is very low. Even if it is higher, and after 15 years or so you’ve lost 5-10% of the gas, it will still perform better than a dead air space. That’s outstanding! However because Argon gas retention is workmanship related, it is possible to build units of the same construction that will have different insulation values. The insulated units made at Glass-Rite are IGMA tested (Insulated Glass Manufacturer’s Alliance) at a national Architectural Testing firm. Our units are shipped from Albuquerque, to an altitude of about 646 feet in Southlake Texas. After they have been shipped, they are put through a series of rigorous tests that take about 3 months to complete. Tests for continuous high humidity and accelerated weathering are performed to determine if the units pass or fail. Glass-Rite’s insulated glass (IG) units pass with flying colors and no seal failures (keep in mind that they passed this even after being shipped from New Mexico’s 5,300 ft to 646 ft).
The job of the IGU (insulated glass unit) manufacturer is to ensure that the argon in the IG stays inside the IG. That 0.19% per year loss of Argon due to natural dissipation (not resulting from a failed seal) is about the best available. Here at Glass-Rite we use the Super Spacer system with Argon gas. The Super Spacer is the material that is between the two panes of glass, and is made up of structural foam material that has been shown to conduct heat at a rate 950 times lower than that of an aluminum spacer. Part of the Super Spacer is also a Mylar backing that acts as a barrier to retain the Argon gas. Some insulated glass units are still being built using an aluminum spacer. IGU’s with the Super Spacer and Argon gas can keep the glass up to 10 degrees warmer than a unit with an aluminum spacer.
Using Argon gas in IGU’s is quickly becoming an industry standard. At Glass-Rite our locally manufactured vinyl windows come standard with IG’s made with the Super Spacer and Argon package. By utilizing all the benefits of Argon gas we are able to produce a more energy efficient unit than some other products on the market. Contact us today to set up a free, no-pressure estimate for your home windows and patio doors. Or please feel free to come by our window showroom in Albuquerque and shop to see our manufacturing process in person!