Dual Pane Windows Do Not Stop the Noise
High Tech “soundproof” windows dramatically reduce noise,
increase energy efficiency, and install in as little as one hour each
When the uproar outside is simply too much – barking dogs, honking horns, or blaring sirens, not to mention lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and the noisy neighbors – cutting the clamor can be vital to reclaiming some much needed peace and quiet.
For years homeowners seeking to get rid of the irritating outside noises have been repeatedly advised to invest in dual pane windows. That solution will never solve any serious noise issues due to one simple fact – double pane windows were not designed to keep noise out.
While homeowners can expect only a 0% to 20% noise reduction with dual pane replacement windows, true soundproof windows can cut the outside racket by up to 95%. Now homeowners can install such soundproof windows, using technology that recording studio professionals trust, in their own homes.
Solving the Noise Problem
Dual pane windows are well designed to keep out the heat and cold, but not the noise.
While the seals of a new window provide some noise reduction, the two pieces of glass
in dual pane windows are separated by an air space, and sealed into one solid glass unit. Like a drum, this causes both pieces of glass to vibrate at the same time. This drum effect defeats the noise reduction benefit of dual pane windows.
“Our fourth floor condo is near an intersection and a bus stop, so the sound of braking, accelerating, honking, and sirens interrupted our sleep at all hours of the night,” says Doug Alexander, a condo owner along with his wife in White Rock, BC, Canada. “During the day, the sound of leaf blowers, slammed car doors and trunks, and the occasional parking lot car alarm also wore on our nerves.”
While the Alexanders already had dual pane windows throughout their condo, the windows were not up to the task of reducing exterior noise to a livable level.
“With older windows like ours, the window seals degrade so the noise comes in almost like the windows are open,” says Alexander.
The Alexanders considered purchasing dual pane replacement windows but balked at the added cost and disruption of having to replace the window frames, flashing, and caulking. They also anticipated difficulty getting approval for the project from their homeowner’s association. These problems led them to search for a new solution.
The Alexander’s research led them to Soundproof Windows, Inc. a company with expertise engineering windows for some of the most noise sensitive environments in the world, such as recording studios. After consulting with the company, they decided they had found the noise reduction solution they sought. They also received guidance from the company on which exact windows to soundproof and to what specification to achieve the greatest result.
The company has adapted recording studio window soundproofing technology for residential homes by creating a secondary soundproofing window that installs inside, behind the existing window. The product is custom designed specifically to match – and function – like the original window. Installation is simple, straightforward, and fast – leaving little to no mess at all.
The inner window essentially reduces noise from entering on three fronts: the type of materials used to make the pane, the ideal air space between original window and insert, and finally improved, long-lasting seals. The combination can reduce external noise by up to 95%.
The first noise barrier is laminated glass, which dampens sound vibration much like a finger on a wine glass stops it from ringing when struck. An inner PVB layer of plastic further dampens sound vibrations.
Air space of 2-4 inches between the existing window and the Soundproof Window also significantly improves noise reduction because it isolates the window frame from external sound vibrations.
Finally, the company places spring-loaded seals in the second window frame. This puts a constant squeeze on the glass panels, which prevents sound leaks and helps to stop noise from vibrating through the glass. These spring-loaded seals stay as acoustically sound 15 years down the road as they were on day one.
Some other window companies offer soundproofing solutions. Most offer acrylic windows that were originally designed to insulate. Acrylic that is 1/8” or ¼” thick is not acoustically very good. It may offer up to a 30% acoustic reduction, but in any noisy environment that is still insufficient. Also, they do not open and close like existing windows.
“The Soundproof Windows cut our exterior noise to about 1/4 of what it used to be,” says Alexander, who along with his wife self-installed four of the windows in about four hours. “Now we sleep soundly at night, and it’s much easier to talk face-to-face or by phone without having to talk over noise. If tires squeal, a car honks, or an ambulance goes by outside, it’s faint and no problem at all.”
While the Alexanders did not require a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating for their home improvement project, the most objective measure of sound reduction is the window’s STC rating. In this rating system, the higher the number the more noise is stopped.
Most standard single pane windows typically rate around a 26 STC. Installing a high quality, dual pane window would increase a homeowner’s potential rating to a 27 to 32 range. In comparison, the acoustic soundproof windows are lab tested and earn a 48 to 54 STC rating and can go well beyond this level of soundproofing, if required.
“Soundproof Windows advised us to use 1/4” thick glass panes about 2-1/2” from our existing windows,” says Alexander. “Our advisor told us that thicker panes could provide even more soundproofing, but that in our case thicker panes were not required because external noise would likely penetrate our walls and offset the benefit.”
Cutting Energy Cost and Draftiness
Converting to soundproof windows can also significantly reduce energy costs. The new inner window provides an additional layer of insulation resulting in better values than the best low-e, argon gas filled dual paned window. This can reduce heat loss by 77% or more and can reduce the heating-cooling portion of energy bills by 15-30%.
According to Alexander, while he purchased the windows primarily for noise reduction, he appreciated the added energy benefits.
“The windows have helped to prevent cold drafts from entering even when it’s windy outside, which makes our home more comfortable,” he says. “The added insulation and better seals also improve energy efficiency.”
With an upgrade to the latest soundproof windows, homeowners no longer have to settle. They can now get the much needed peace and quiet they deserve, making their homes a relaxing, noise free oasis.
For more information, contact Soundproof Windows, Inc. at 4673 Aircenter Circle, Reno, NV 89502; call 1-877-438-7843; email email@example.com; or visit http://www.soundproofwindows.com