Blog

« Back to Blog

What is the Big Deal About Spacers?

June 2, 2015

SuperSpacer-BLike most people, when you think about windows, you think about the parts you can see — the glass, the frame and the hardware. But there is much more to a window than that.

Most windows today are made up of a double- or triple-pane IG (insulated glass) unit. The glass panes are kept apart by a spacer that maintains a uniform separation between the glass. The gap between the panes is usually filled with a gas — most commonly argon — for greater thermal performance.

So, what is the big deal about spacers? Used in the IG unit, spacers play an integral role in window performance and, depending on what kind of spacer is used, they can significantly boost the energy efficiency of your windows.

3 Key Functions of Spacers

For maximum energy efficiency, and superior glass performance, the spacers in your windows should:

  • Be flexible in order to absorb the stress caused by thermal expansion and contraction
  • Increase the temperature of the edges of the insulated glass – to reduce condensation, prohibit mold growth and increase the overall energy efficiency of the window
  • Create a tight seal to prevent leakage of gas fills and keep moisture out

Types of Window Spacers

Metal Spacers:
Usually made from aluminum or other alloys, these types of spacers are not recommended as the metal readily conducts heat or cold from the glass surface resulting in condensation and mold growth. Spacers made from rigid materials do not accommodate the natural expansion and contraction of the glass within the frame, which can cause stress cracks that eventually lead to sealant failure, gas fill loss, and condensation between the panes.

Less Metal Spacers:
These types of spacers are made from stainless steel or a metal alloy with a foam separator secured to the top. This type of “warm edge” technology outperforms all-metal spacers, reducing heat transfer and condensation.

No Metal Spacers:
All-foam spacers have no metal in their construction and are highly energy efficient, dramatically reducing heat/cold transfer. Because these types of spacers are flexible, they can expand and contract along with the natural expansion/contraction of the IG unit, making them less prone to sealant movement, which significantly improves gas retention.

The NO-Metal Advantage
Because the edge of a sealed IG unit is the most vulnerable to heating and cooling losses, an all-foam spacer with no metal, such as the Super Spacer, offers the best in thermal efficiency. The low thermal conductivity results in less variation in glass surface temperature, improves condensation resistance, and promotes sound absorption.

Take a look inside our windows. EuroLine uses IG units manufactured by PFG Glass, sealed with Super Spacer® TriSeal™ — a flexible silicone spacer designed to satisfy the toughest commercial glazing demands — both for our commercial and residential projects. Combine this with high quality uPVC and multi-point locking hardware, and you have high-end window and door systems that offer an excellent choice for your home. Our products meet or exceed the latest standards for building codes. Our windows and doors have earned the ENERGY STAR and are used in Passive House, LEED and Net Zero projects across Canada and the US.

Click the links below for more information:
EuroLine Windows
EuroLine Doors
PFG Glass Industries
Quanex Super Spacer

2 thoughts on “What is the Big Deal About Spacers?

  1. Joe Bower says:

    As a home inspector, I would like to know for the most part. When the rubber window spacer begins to move inside the window pane. Is this a manufacturer defect and how does it affect the window? Thanks!

    1. EuroLine Windows says:

      Thanks for the comment, Joe. In all the years that we’ve used IGUs with Super Spacer®, we’ve never seen or heard of the spacer moving.
      I would not be able to speak to any other brands.

      Perhaps you are referring to the glazing gasket that sits in the frame against the exterior of the glass, not the spacer between the glass panes?
      This gasket can, over time, contract and pull out of the frame at the corners. It is important to use a high quality gasket that will reduce this effect, such as an appropriately formulated EPDM gasket. However, this does not guarantee that the gasket will never shrink, as it is exposed to sometimes extreme weather conditions. This is not a manufacturer defect, and any water that gets into the glazing cavity should be able to drain back to the exterior. Even so, our recommendation would be to replace the gasket if this happens.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *