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What Is A Thermal Break In Windows?

Our Montana winter is settling in here at Glo European Windows. We’ve had some brutal cold days and I imagine more are on the way. These frigid days bring a sudden realization of the importance of insulation: insulation for our homes, our mittens and even our windows. Okay, well you might not think of windows needing insulation but it’s true! Just like our homes, our windows have a thermal break: insulation built within the frame, which makes a huge impact on the overall performance of your window.

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Insulation within a window is referred to as a “thermal break”. The thermal break is a continuous barrier between the inside and outside window frames that prevent conductive thermal energy loss (see the image above). The barrier securely bonds the interior and exterior metal frames of the window sash. This thermal break creates thermal energy loss resistance and combined with gas-filled triple pane glazing, keeps the interior space of your window at a more comfortable temperature. When your windows have a comfortable temperature, you have a comfortable temperature. Like we’ve discussed in earlier blog posts, the colder the window frame the greater the conductive current. Cold windows draw heat from your body, creating that “drafty” feeling, which never allows us to feel warm. So, if your windows are warm, they are not stealing your much needed body heat from you, allowing you and your home, to remain warm.

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European aluminum windows also feature something called a “warm edge spacer”. A warm edge spacer is the barrier between the glazing units or panes of glass. Our windows have a high-performance spacer, which serves multiple functions: – It accommodates stress caused by thermal expansion and pressure changes. – It provides a gas tight seal that prevents the loss of Argon or Krypton gas (which also has insulative value) in the unit. – It provides a moisture barrier that prevents water that would fog the unit called desiccants.

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Fun fact: The same desiccant in your windows is the same material found in those little packets that are always in new shoes, jacket pockets, etc. to keep them pristine and moisture free. Next time, instead of throwing the packets in the garbage, reuse them in your gym bag, gym shoes or between towels to keep things fresh!

  – It provides an insulating barrier reducing the formation of interior condensation near the edge. The warm edge spacer allows for greater performance and increased energy efficiency, which is crucial during cold winter months (and summer heat). The wider the thermal break the better the window will insulate. Our windows are equipped to perform with large continuous thermal breaks ranging from 1 3/8” to 2 3/8” throughout the frame, compared to poorly insulated windows with only a ½” thermal break, if that.

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When temperatures this winter drop to the single digits, and I have visions of sugar-plums dancing in my head, you can be sure I’ll also be dreaming of thermal breaks wider than an inch…although that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as a nursery rhyme.