Replacement Window Spacers
Warm Edge Spacer Systems
This area of our site is dedicated to Warm Edge Technology or “Spacers”. There is tremendous debate over the various types of spacers made and which windows have what spacer. A “Spacer” is basically the material between the two, or in triple glazing three, panes of glass. Thus it is important.
There are 4 main companies that manufacture window spacers.
Supercept Window Spacer System
Intercept Spacer System
The Swiggle Spacer System
Supercept Spacer System
Just recently, Simonton Windows announced their release of the latest and greatest window spacer manufactured as yet. One of the top window companies, Simonton has guaranteed energy efficiency before in the new construction and replacement windows they offer, but never this strongly:
Unlike the Intercept Spacer System manufactured by PPG, this new Supercept window spacer system is made of stainless steel that is known for its unsurpassed strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion, which are all important attributes in a window spacer.
ENERGY STAR Tax Credit
With the new Supercept window spacer system, the purchased replacement window is sure to meet or even surpass the energy requirements for the Energy Tax Credit.
With the new thermal performance requirements established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 enacted by President Obama, ENERGY STAR promises an Energy Tax Credit, but only if:
The window is purchased for a pre-existing home
U factor of less than or equal to .3
Same for the SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient)
Shape and Flex
If a spacer is too stiff, the panes of glass will not always mesh together nicely, and maintain the seal, so that in a sudden or sustained change in temperature, the window will lose all thermal performance promised by its manufacturer.
The Supercept Spacer System has a distinct U-shape that will allow enough flex to keep the seal in all climates, but at the same time, it maintains adequate rigidity so as to ensure thermal performance and temperature control.
This quality is common and required among all spacer systems that call themselves warm edge spacers because there is minimal heat transfer across the window.
From the Super Spacer web site:
What is Warm Edge Technology?
Today more than ever, homeowners are replacing their old worn out windows with energy efficient replacement windows. Poorly insulated windows can attribute to 25 percent of a building’s heating and cooling loads. As a homeowner, it is just as important to know what type of window spacer material is being used on the insulating glass unit as it is to know what type of glass package (or glazing) is going into the window. The type of spacer material in your windows can make or break your investment!
In order to overcome the thermal inefficiency of conventional aluminum spacers, a new type of spacer product called warm-edge technology has evolved in the industry. Warm-edge refers to the type of spacer material used to separate the panes of glass (or glazing) in an insulated window unit. If the material conducts less heat or cold than a conventional aluminum spacer at the edge of the glass, it is said to be ‘warm-edge.’ Most of these newer spacers are less conductive and outperform pure aluminum. But there’s still one small problem-- they all contain some kind of metal. And metal is highly conductive
Super Spacer also sent in this recently gained information about their product:
The GGF (Glass and Glazing Federation) of London, England has recently completed a study of warm edge spacer systems that began in January, 2002. The government funded Pii Project's primary objective was the evaluation of the thermal conductivity of commercially available warm edge spacer systems. The study included aluminum bar, Azon Warm Light, Swiss Spacer, TPS, Swiggle strip and Edgetech Super Spacer. The two year project included software simulations as well as "real performed with various window componants such as clear glass, low-e glass, soft timber framing and aluminum framing systems. Each test series was kept standard with the exception of the spacer bar. At project completion, Edgetech's Super Spacer was best in all catagories.
Super Spacer recently received news that it has passed the difficult European gas loss standard. The newly adopted EN 1279 European Norm standards have proven difficult to pass for most. Edgetech has recently been awarded passing marks for the EN 1279 part 3 portion of the standard entitled, Long term test method and requirements for gas leakage rate and for gas concentration tolerances. Edgetech had previously passed the 1279 part 2 portion for long term requirements for moisture penetration. With the addition of the part 3 testing complete, this allows Edgetech to freely sell it's products throughout all of Europe, to the new standard of the future for that part of the world. This opens up an entire new market place for Edgetech for future sales growth.
Intercept Spacer System
To learn more about Intercept Spacers, visit PPG.
From the PPG web site:
Features/Benefits of the Intercept? Insulating Glass System
Reduced Interior Condensation
Intercept? I.G. units feature "Warm-Edge" technology that reduces condensation problems around the window perimeter. Compare the Intercept? insulating glass window at top with a conventional insulating glass window on the bottom. Both windows have Low-E glass and argon infill. The difference is the Intercept? "Warm-Edge" spacer.
Reduced Heat Loss
Intercept? spacers are so energy efficient they keep the edges of the window glass warmer, so your home feels more comfortable in the winter. As you can see below, the temperature difference between the edge of an insulating glass unit with an ordinary spacer, and one with an Intercept? spacer system can be dramatic.
This thermograph or "heat picture' compares room side glass temperature for an Intercept® I.G. unit (left, yellow is warmer, blue is cooler), and a conventional I.G. unit (right). Since the Intercept® I.G. allows for significantly warmer glass temperature, especially at the edges, your home will feel more comfortable.
Improved Insulation Glass Unit Life
Less condensation means:
less stains or damage to windows or walls
higher allowable relative humidity indoors/less annoying static electricity
better clarity of view
Under normal weather conditions, I.G. units expand and contract with temperature changes. In conventional insulating glass units, sealant takes the stress of the flexing, which can cause seal failure and insulating gas loss.
Intercept? spacers (top) flex instead of the sealant during temperature changes. So it resists spacer movement and sealant failure.
Warmer Glass Temperature means:
Better insulating value (89% higher R-value)
lower energy bills
less drafts/improved comfort
The Swiggle Spacer System
From the Swiggle Web site:
Introduced to the marketplace in 1979, Swiggle Seal offered the industry a dramatic alternative to the conventional aluminum spacer system. By containing its own spacer, sealant and desiccant, Swiggle allowed the manufacturer to use one product to perform the job of several conventional I.G. components. The first flexible I.G. spacer to be marketed as Warm Edge, Swiggle Seal has been in use longer than any other Warm Edge spacer system. Swiggle Seal reduces conductivity of the spacer by 75% compared to aluminum spacer bar, offering superior thermal performance and durability qualities.
A - Swiggle Seal - the first insulating glass spacer system to be marketed as Warm Edge.
B - Gray Swiggle Seal - an alternative to standard black that offers an enhanced co-extruded gray coating.
C - Grooved Swiggle Seal - designed to accommodate a center lite of glass. Grooved has an excellent track record in the demanding decorative window and door market for more than 20 years. This flexible warm edge spacer system offers the manufacturer a fast, simple and cost effective method of producing decorative insulating glass window units.
D - DS Swiggle - designed for dual seal IG applications using silicone, as with bent glass IG.