Dual-pane windows are a common feature in newer homes. They help with temperature control and keep heating and cooling costs down. If dual-pane windows work in our homes, it would make sense that RV dual-pane windows would also be a good addition to your camper.
RV dual-pane windows are not common additions to most off-the-lot campers. However, they can be added for an upcharge, or as replacement windows.
They have their benefits, but there are also some cons to RV dual-pane windows. In this article, we will look a little closer at RV dual-pane windows and how they work in your camper.
What Are Dual-Pane RV Windows?
RV dual-pane windows are just as they suggest. They are a window that uses two panes of glass instead of one. The space between the two panes of glass is usually filled with an inert gas like argon or krypton (not kryptonite, that is a whole different thing).
Are RV Windows Made of Glass?
Some travel trailers use single or dual-pane acrylic windows. Those that have dual-pane acrylic have small holes in them that allow air to transfer in and out. For our discussion, we will focus on the RV dual-pane windows made of glass found on motorhomes, fifth-wheels, and large travel trailers.
Dual-pane RV windows are most frequently made from two panes of tempered glass. This type of glass is heated and cooled multiple times to make the glass stronger. Tempered glass is also called “safety glass”. When tempered glass breaks, it will break into pieces or chunks instead of sharp shards.
Do Double Pane Windows Make a Difference in Your RV?
We know that dual-pane windows make a difference in your home, but what about your RV? Many RV owners swear that replacing single-pane windows with dual-pane windows makes a noticeable difference in the interior comfort of your RV.
Pros of Dual-Pane Windows in an RV
If you are considering dual-pane windows for your camper, you are probably weighing the pros and cons. As we have researched the subject, we have come up with the following pros to installing RV dual-pane windows.
1. Controls Condensation
RV dual-pane windows limit or halt condensation from developing on your windows. The two panes of glass, plus the gas in between, create a temperature barrier between the indoor and outdoor environments. This barrier keeps moisture from condensing and settling on cool windows.
This does not seem like a huge deal, but condensation on your windows can be quite harmful to your RV. Over time, condensation can cause warping of your window frames. Condensation can also lead to rot and mold growth in your RV walls and other features.
For more info on condensation forming on RV windows check out our blog article called Why are My RV Windows Fogged Up?
2. Improves Temperature Control
If you like to travel in the winter or the peak of the summer, RV temperature control is a challenge. RV dual-pane windows can make a huge difference in your ability to heat or cool your camper even when the temperature is very hot or extremely cold.
If your furnace or air conditioner runs less to keep your camper warm or cool, you also can expect to increase the life of both appliances. Less wear and tear on your RV furnace or air conditioner also means less maintenance time and costs.
3. Reduces Noise
If you spend a lot of time camping in RV parks, you know that they can be a bit noisy. If you want to have a quieter place to relax, double-pane windows really help to reduce the noise you can hear from outside. RV double-pane windows can also reduce the noise from wind and rain as well.
4. Stronger Windows
Stronger RV dual-pane windows can provide a couple of benefits. First, they provide more support to your RV’s frame because double-pane windows are sturdier. RV double-pane windows can also reduce the chance of breaking a window. Double-pane windows have a better chance of not breaking if hit with an object.
5. Energy Efficiency
Just like the improved windows in your home, dual-pane windows in your RV can increase energy efficiency for your RV. This means that you use less electricity to operate your furnace or air conditioner. If you are running on your battery or using propane to power your furnace, this can extend the charge of your battery or the available propane in your tanks.
6. More Secure
We hear more and more stories about break-ins that occur at motorhome parks, campgrounds, and dispersed camping sites. Very often, thieves will break a window to enter your camper. Dual-pane windows in your RV can help prevent break-ins because they are stronger and more secure.
Cons of Dual-Pane Windows in an RV
So, RV dual-pane windows sound pretty great. But they do have some downfalls that you need to consider before you run out and replace your camper windows.
1. Installation Cost
If you decide to add RV dual-pane windows to your motorhome or travel trailer, you will be quite surprised at the cost of installing new windows. When compared with the price of purchasing and installing single-pane windows in your camper, RV double-pane windows are quite a bit more expensive.
2. Fogging Between Panes
If your dual-pane windows are not installed correctly, the seal that holds the two pieces of glass together can slip, creating a leak. If the gas between your double-pane windows leaks, you can get fogging in between the windows.
This will obstruct the view from the window. Replacing or repairing a dual-pane window with a slipped seal can be quite pricey.
One of the advantages of using single-pane windows in an RV is the weight. Single-pane windows are much lighter than double-pane versions. Adding RV double-pane windows is particularly tricky if you have a travel trailer.
While each window’s individual weight is negligible, together, they can add up to a noticeable amount of weight that affects your RV’s dry weight. Heavier windows mean you have to carefully consider the amount of stuff you bring, so you don’t exceed your GVWR.
Should You Replace Your RV Single Pane Windows with Double Pane?
Whether you decide to replace your single-pane windows with RV dual-pane windows really depends on a number of factors. For most people that are traveling and camping during more moderate weather, single-pane windows are usually just fine.
However, if you do spend a lot of time winter camping, RV dual-pane windows can make a huge difference in the interior environment of your motorhome or travel trailer.
The other time we would consider replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows is if you have had issues with security when camping. RV dual-pane windows can provide a bit of comfort and peace of mind if you have experienced a break-in on your camper.
Are Frameless Double-Pane Windows Better Than Framed?
There is quite a bit of debate about framed vs. frameless windows. Frameless windows seem to be increasing in popularity. They give you that picture window experience in your RV. However, they can be challenging to install and seal properly in the frame of your camper.
Framed windows give you a better seal when they are installed. The rubber seal used when installing framed windows seals gaps better. This added bit of coverage seems to improve the temperature control in your RV.
Also, as your RV’s seals age, framed windows generally keep their seal better than frameless windows. Either way, always maintain your RV window seals with the proper rubber conditioning treatment.
How Long Do Dual-Pane Windows Last?
The expected life of RV dual-pane windows varies by manufacturer. You can expect these windows, when cared for properly, to last for the life of your RV. However, if your dual-pane windows are improperly installed or are damaged, this can decrease the life of the window.
Do RVs Usually Come with Dual-Pane Windows?
Dual-pane windows are standard features on the more high-end RVs. You can have the windows in a new or used camper upgraded to dual-pane windows, for an extra cost.
Other exceptions are 4-season RVs and travel trailers. Double-pane windows are usually the standard since they do a better job of keeping the interior of your RV warm and toasty when you are winter camping.
What Are the Best Dual Pane Window Manufacturers?
There are plenty of manufacturers of RV dual pane windows. Some popular options include:
- Peninsula Glass
Keep in mind that most dual-pane windows are fairly similar. The real difference in their performance comes with how they are installed and maintained. If you want your RV dual-pane windows to work well and last a long time, make sure you install and maintain them properly.
Are Dual Pane Windows Worth It in an RV?
For most people, RV dual pane windows are not a necessary investment. Single-pane windows keep the weight of your RV lower and are fine for moderate weather conditions. RV dual-pane windows are a great investment for camper owners that like to camp all year round and spend time in colder climates.
That’s not to say that RV dual-pane windows are not worth the investment. They really can improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your RV. If you are willing to spend the money, they can be a great way to increase the value of your camper or travel trailer.
About the Author:
Jason Gass is a full-time freelance writer and part-time RVer whose goal is to share great stories around a campfire with good friends.
When he’s not working, he spends most of his time camping, searching for the best breweries, and road-tripping in his teardrop trailer with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.