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Double-Pane Window Replacement: A Guide For California Home Owners
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Double-Pane Window Replacement: A Guide For California Home Owners

Considering a replacement of your double-pane windows? Here is a compilation of what to look out for before you start.

Shahen Araboghlian


8 min read

May 26, 2022

Most of California enjoys Mediterranean-like weather, with hot and dry summers and wet and mild winters. The state is also one of the most crowded and visited in the U.S. Depending on which city you live in, the crowds might get bigger and the noise louder. Taking the weather and noise into consideration, your best bet is to have the best windows possible to protect you from both.

Whether you’re looking to replace your windows to make your house more environmentally friendly, increase its selling value in the California housing market, or just fix a crack, you want to consider the best options available. Thanks to its many benefits, both aesthetically and functionally, a double-pane window is the most obvious option out there. But being the obvious option doesn’t mean you don’t need to know the whys and hows of this type of glass. Embark on your double-pane window replacement journey knowing full well that you’re making the best decision for your house.

Double-Pane windows are a must in the constantly-changing climate of California.

Introduction To Double-Pane Windows

Taking a walking tour in the Golden State will introduce visitors to the state’s beautiful and diverse architecture. A lot of the gorgeous houses and buildings were constructed before the mid-1900s, and their beauty lies in the history they tell. But, the older a structure gets the more problematic the original windows might become. Most of those older structures were built before double-pane windows were introduced to the world in the 1950s and gained popularity in the 1970s. Accordingly, it’s pretty common to find old-fashioned, single-pane windows all around California.

If you live in a house built after the 70s, you’re probably familiar with double-pane windows and enjoy their benefits, and if not it’s probably about time you make the shift. Not sure what type of glass your windows are made up of? Take a pen and hold it close to your window glass. If you see a single reflection, it means your window is single-paned, but if you see two, then you’ve got yourself a double-pane window. 

As the name suggests, a double-pane window, also known as a double-glazed window, has two panes of glass instead of one. The panes are separated from each other by a layer of air or insulating gas, the latter being more common, as gas is denser than air. Argon is the most popular gas, especially for home windows, but gasses like krypton and xenon can also be used. This protective layer of gas, alongside the extra pane of glass, slows down the transfer of heat and cold between the outside and inside of the house. 

Why Choose Double-Pane Windows?

Energy Saving 

Double-pane windows are a form of energy-efficient windows, which regulate the internal climate of your home. They do so by minimizing the transfer of heat and cold from the outside to the inside, and vice-versa. By regulating the atmosphere inside the house, a double-pane window helps reduce a lot of strain on your air system. Once you replace your single-pane windows with double-paned ones, you won’t feel the need to heat or cool your house as often. This energy-saving characteristic of double-pane windows comes especially handy in California counties where the weather fluctuates a great deal from one season to the other.


Double-pane window glass replacements, and even first-time installations, are usually more expensive than regular, single-pane windows. But, the thing with these types of windows is that you immediately get what you paid for, and continue doing so for the complete lifetime of the window. Choosing the right type of window is an investment worth making, even if you have to pay a little extra now—the amount of savings you’ll do in the long run will cover for the extra expenses, and then some more.

Double-pane windows block the noise outside, allowing you to enjoy calm afternoons in the safety of your home.


Comfort is a given with double-pane windows. Not only do they keep your home’s atmosphere in check, and save a lot on utility payments, but they also block a lot of the noise coming from the outside. Thanks to the two layers of glass and the insulating gas in between, noise pollution will be minimized to a large extent. No matter how noisy your neighborhood is, you’ll still get to enjoy the calm inside of your house.


With double-pane windows, you’ll officially declare to your neighbors that you’ve gone full green. A double-pane glass window replacement helps keep your house warm in the winter and cool into summer, bringing your usage of the air cooling system to a minimum. With the help of your energy-efficient windows, you’ll cut back on your energy usage, and reduce your home’s unnecessary emission of carbon dioxide.

When To Replace Your Double-Pane Windows

It is true that well-installed, double-pane windows can last you a lifetime, but sometimes things can go awfully wrong, and an immediate replacement would be on the horizon for you. Sometimes it might be a problem with the installation, at others, it might be faulty materials, or just nature giving your windows a difficult time. In all cases, if it's not functioning normally, it might be time to consider double-pane window replacement inserts. If you’re still not sure whether your windows need replacing or not, just make sure to check all the signs, and make your decision accordingly.

Leakage During Storms And Rain

The least a window should do is protect you from the rain. If your window is not doing that anymore for whatever reason, it's a call for you to pay some attention to it. As soon as you see the first signs of leakage, you should contact a repairman. Leakage is not only annoying for cleaning purposes, it can also be hazardous if it happens near electric devices or an outlet. Besides being hazardous, constant leakage can cause dampness, which in turn will damage the structure of your walls and home in general.

If the utility bills keep increasing, you might want to check your double-pane windows for faults.

High Utility Bills

Energy-efficient windows have a way of spoiling you. You’ll soon get used to paying lower electric and gas bills. But what if your utility bills start increasing suddenly? That can mean one of two things; the weather has changed drastically, or that your double-pane windows aren’t doing their job of regulating the home’s atmosphere properly. If at any given point you realize that you’re paying more than you normally do, you might want to check your windows. 

Unnaturally Loud Noises

It’s not a double-pane window’s job to completely block the outside noise, but it does a pretty good job at minimizing it. You’ll get so used to that perk that you’ll immediately notice the noise getting louder inside your house. If you happen to realize that the noise has gotten louder, then you might have a faulty window or two inside your house. Contact an expert immediately, to see where the fault is at, and whether or not your windows need replacing.  

Visible Damage 

The minute you notice a crack in your window, you have to call a repairman to take a look at your window. Cracks can’t and shouldn’t be taken for granted, no matter how small or unnoticeable. If not replaced in time, a small crack can cause leaks, draughts, and even condensation. Long story short, if you see it, you have to replace it.

If the view out of your window is getting foggy, you might have a leakage somewhere.

Foggy View

There’s nothing more annoying than a foggy window on a rainy day. If you ever notice that the view out of your window has become misty, you should know that there is a leak somewhere. A foggy view should not be a problem with well manufactured and installed, double-glazed windows, but sometimes small impact damage can cause a lot of harm to the window. Once damaged, a small opening appears between the layers of glass and the spacer bar, through which air gets leaked, causing undesired moisture. With the first signs of moisture and fogginess, it's best to replace your double-pane window.

Everything You Need To Know About Double-Pane Window Replacements In California

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when selling your home, or viewing one in California, is not checking the durability and functionality of the windows. Whether buying or selling you need to know for sure that your windows are energy-efficient and that they’re installed correctly. Non-energy-efficient windows would immediately lower the selling price of any house. In all cases, if you need to embark on a journey of replacing windows, at least make sure you know the basics of window replacement, and how much such a project might cost you.

What Types Of Double-Pane Window Frames Are There?

Whether you’re looking for a double-pane sliding window replacement or a double-hung one, the frame material matters more than the style itself. After all, it’s the frame material that plays a major role in creating a durable window and not the style. This is particularly important for residents of the Golden State, as the weather changes regularly, challenging the windows to high extents. Do not fret though, as there’s always a frame type that will surround your double-pane windows perfectly. Luckily, all frame types work well with two-layered glasses. Aluminum, vinyl, wood, and fiberglass are all options you can take advantage of, depending on your taste and the weather conditions of your city.

Window costs might change depending on local labor rates.

How Much Does Replacing a Double-Pane Window Cost?

The cost of replacing a double-pane window in California is dependent on a few factors. The double-pane window replacement costs vary from one city to another and are hugely dependent on the type of frame, window style, glass, and installation costs. On average a regular-sized, double-hung, vinyl double-pane window would cost between $400 and $1,500.  For a standard, wood, double-hung window you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500. As for installation costs, local labor rates vary from one region to another but are usually around $40 per hour.

Is It Possible To Replace One Layer of a Double-Pane Window?

Can you replace just one glass layer of a double-pane window? The short answer is yes, but it is not applaudable. A double-pane window, with all its parts, is considered a single sealed unit. That is, both layers of glass, alongside the gas or air in between, are a single unit.  Trying to replace just a single layer of glass might cause more damage to your window than the actual damage. If you don’t mind risking the insulated gas escaping and reducing your window’s effectiveness, then by all means go ahead. If you do, then buy a full replacement double-pane window glass and avoid future problems. 

Can You Replace A Double-Pane Window?

Replacing a faulty double-pane window takes a lot of effort and time. First, you need to remove the sash off the frame and take all the necessary measurements. Next, you need to take it to the closest glass service store and order a new one. Finally, you have to wait for the replacement to arrive so that you can install it. All this will leave your house exposed for a few days. Not to mention, as a non-expert you might cause damage to the newly manufactured glass. Accordingly, it’s best to contact professionals and relax while they do the job they’re trained for.

Need help with a home improvement project? Get a free quote today!

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