Krypton Gas, The Energy Saver

Triple Pane with 2 spaces filled with Krypton Gas

Homeowners looking to increase the energy-efficiency of their homes usually consider a number of different home renovation options, and one of the first places that they turn is to their exterior windows. For homeowners living in older homes, window replacement is usually a necessity, as the single-paned windows of old are virtually incapable of preventing the loss of hot or cold air that is characteristic of today’s energy efficient homes. These homeowners are sometimes shocked to learn that today’s energy-efficient windows are not only double-paned, but they are often times filled with something called Argon, or sometimes even Krypton.

With names reminiscent of the glowing green rocks that hurt Superman, many homeowners immediately steer clear of such futuristic home improvement options. However, far from the tools of comic book villains, these windows are some of the most energy-efficient available today, and are important considerations for homeowners undergoing a window replacement project.

Krypton and Argon are both elements found naturally in the Earth’s atmosphere. Everybody breathes these two gases on a daily basis, and they are both clear, odorless, non-reactive, and most importantly, non-toxic. While dry Nitrogen was used to fill windows in the years past, recently, window manufactures have begun inserting these two gases in the space between double and triple-paned windows to increase the efficiency of the windows. With Argon or Krypton filling the spaces between double and triple panes, less air from the outside will penetrate windows, altering the temperature inside of a climate-controlled home, and less air from the inside will escape out of the windows. Because Krypton and Argon are non-reactive and non-toxic, they pose absolutely no threat to homeowners should a window be broken and the gases escape into the home.

Krypton provides the best thermal insulation available in window insulation today, but tends to be very expensive. Usually found in windows with thinner spacing between panes, such as those found in triple-paned windows, Krypton is ideal for windows with spacing between ¼ inch and 3/8 inch. Many window manufactures will also recommend a blend of Krypton and Argon to fill the spaces between panes, giving homeowners a solution that blends the efficiency of Krypton with the cost savings of Argon.

Like precious metal, some gases are rarer than others. The air we breathe is comprised of chiefly of Nitrogen (78%), and Oxygen (21%). 96% of the remaining 1% is Argon Gas; relatively speaking, a lot. At sea level, Argon is about 8200 times more abundant than Krypton, roughly the same ratio as scrap aluminum to gold. Both gases are “mined” out of the atmosphere in Air Separation Plants. Air is first liquefied, and the rare gases are then distilled out.

At double the atomic weight of Argon, Krypton represents only 1.14 parts per million of the Earth’s atmosphere; roughly one cubic foot for every 877,000 cubic feet of air. Stated another way, the amount of raw air necessary to produce enough Krypton to fill just one 101 UI Triple pane Double hung window, would inflate two Spirit of Akron Class Goodyear Blimps.

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