Identifying the Difference: Is Your Window Double Hung or Single?

October 8, 2021

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If you’re a homeowner asking, is my window double hung, it’s a good idea to find out the answer to this question! Double hung windows allow for more fresh air circulation inside the home and easier venting of smoke, airborne grease, and heat.

Double hung and single hung windows might look similar, but single hung windows allow the lower pane to lift for opening, while the upper pane stays stationary. Double hung windows allow both panes to lift and lower for opening.

The easiest way to find out if a window is double hung is to look for a lock and latches on the frame around the upper pane and note if you can undo them and move that pane. If so, you have a double hung window!

is my window double hung

It’s also helpful for homeowners contemplating new windows to consider various operation styles and how to choose the best one for your interior spaces. Discuss this information with a window installation contractor near you, so you know you’ll be happy with your new windows for many years to come!

Features of Double Hung Windows

Window panes typically use latches or stoppers to keep them in place when opened. Lower window panes might have these stoppers on the top of their frame, for easy access. Upper panes might have latches along the outside edge of their frame.

If you see latches or what appear to be locks on upper window frames, don’t assume they’re just secondary locks! Try opening them and sliding the window, without forcing, and note if it opens and the latches snap into place.

For first floor windows, you can also check the outside of the window pane. Double hung windows will have a small gap between the sash, or the horizontal part of the framing around the glass pane, and the jamb, or the vertical part of the framing attached to the house. This gap allows the window pane to move; stationary windows won’t have this gap.

Advantage of a Double Hung Window

Single hung windows are typically cheaper than double hung, as a double hung window needs more moving parts and other components, increasing their manufacturing costs. However, double hung windows offer many advantages over single hung, making them an excellent investment for any home!

First, note that heat, smoke, airborne grease from stovetop cooking, and other bothersome irritants tend to rise and then get trapped along a room’s ceiling. Being able to open the upper pane of a window can then mean allowing those irritants to vent outside the home, improving indoor air quality instantly.

double hung windows

Double hung windows also allow you more control over outside wind and air circulation. As an example, opening a lower window pane might create bothersome wind and drafts for anyone sitting by the window. Opening the upper pane allows for added air circulation while keeping that wind away from you while you relax by the window!

Opening a top pane can also allow you to block more noise from the home’s exterior. If you have children playing in the yard or a neighbor is using their central air conditioner, you can keep the bottom window closed and block that sound while opening the upper pane, for fresh air and less bothersome sound.

Parents with younger children might also appreciate being able to open the upper pane of a window while keeping the lower pane locked securely. You can enjoy more fresh air in interior spaces with less worry about the risk of an open window when a child is in the room.

Which Is Better, Double Hung or Single Hung Windows?

There is no window style that is the best for every home, or every room in your home! When choosing between double and single hung, first note your budget and if you can afford the increased expense of double hung windows.

You might then consider the advantages of having upper panes that open, but also note if you would actually use that option! For instance, if you don’t cook a lot, you might not need to vent heat, smoke, grease, and other irritants from your kitchen out that upper window pane.

On the other hand, double hung windows might be the perfect option for a child’s playroom, where you want fresh air but not the worry of a child climbing onto an open window. If your home is often stuffy during the summer months, being able to vent heat out that upper pane can mean a more comfortable atmosphere and less use of your air conditioner.

advantages of double hung windows

Double hung windows also have two locking mechanisms, one for each pane, offering more security against break-ins. Consider all these factors when deciding between single hung and double hung windows for your home!

Double Hung Windows and Energy Efficiency

Since single hung windows have fewer moving parts and won’t have that gap between the upper sash and jamb, they are somewhat more energy efficient than double hung windows. This doesn’t mean that you should be overly concerned about losing heat and cold with double hung windows, which can actually save you money on your utility costs! What does this mean?

What makes windows energy efficient?

An energy-efficient window is one that provides lots of insulation for interior spaces, keeping out unwanted heat, cold, humidity, and harsh sunlight, while keeping in your heated and cooled air. Window frame material is one aspect of its energy efficiency; wood, vinyl, and fiberglass frames block heat and cold, while aluminum conducts these elements, making aluminum window frames less energy efficient!

Multiple panes of glass also make a window energy efficient. Single-glazed windows have just one pane, while double-glazed and triple-glazed windows have two or three panes layered on top of one another, with air, argon, or krypton gas between them. Those added panes provide increased insulation and energy efficiency.

Low-E coatings are thin metallic coatings applied to window glass, to block heat but not light. In the summertime, that low-E coating will keep heat from the summer sun out of your house; in wintertime, the coating will keep your heated air inside the home!

energy efficient double hung

Proper installation also ensures better energy efficiency. A high-quality installer will ensure window frames are caulked properly, closing up gaps and cracks around the window itself. A level and even window will also avoid developing gaps over the years, also adding to their energy efficiency.

Double hung windows lower your utility costs

Since double hung windows can allow you to vent trapped heat, humidity, and cooking smoke more readily than single hung windows, they might actually lower your utility costs throughout the year. Bringing in more fresh air from outside can also keep interior rooms cooler and less stuffy during summer months, so you might cycle on your air conditioner and dehumidifier less often.

Double hung windows can also mean letting more fresh air into your bedroom at night, but without cold winds reaching the bed itself! In turn, you might use the air conditioner or a fan less often at night during the summer months, also lowering your overall utility costs.

All of this information means that double hung windows can be as energy efficient if not even more so than other window styles. To enjoy maximum energy efficiency, invest in quality framing, double-glazed or triple-glazed panes, and a window style that allows for maximum comfort inside your home.

The Best Window Styles for Your Home

Single hung and double hung windows are somewhat standard for residential houses and apartment complexes, as they’re typically the cheapest option on the market. However, they’re certainly not the only choice you have when it comes to window styles.

window styles

Upgrading to a different window style and size can mean improved curb appeal outside the home as well as more sunlight and fresh air circulation inside. Compare a few different window styles and their advantages, so you know which is right for your property.

  • Casement windows are an excellent choice for homes, as these open from the side like doors. This design means that casement windows are sealed more effectively when closed, keeping out drafts and outside heat. They also allow for maximum fresh air circulation when opened!
  • Awning windows have a hinge at the top of the pane and open from the bottom outward, like the shape of an awning. These are excellent for venting air from interior rooms and for blocking falling rain outside.
  • Sliders, as the name implies, slide from side to side. Slider windows are excellent for areas where an obstruction such as a kitchen sink can make lifting and lowering a window difficult. Since there is no middle sash with a slider window, they also allow in more sunlight and fresh air when opened.
  • Bay and bow windows jut out from the home, often providing a window seat along the interior room, which is excellent for spaces where you need more seating! Their shape also allows more sunlight into your house while providing a homey and cozy look for your property.
  • Stationary, fixed, or picture windows don’t open and close but are just panes of glass installed in a wall. These are excellent for rooms where you want more light and a view of the outside but don’t need to open the window. Fixed windows, which can typically be cut to order, are also a great choice for odd spaces where a standard window just won’t fit.
  • Transom windows are small panes designed to fit over other windows or doors. These might open from the bottom or might be fixed panes. They provide more sunlight or fresh air to interior rooms.

Signs it's Time to Replace Home Windows

While new windows are sometimes a costly investment, it’s vital that homeowners schedule window replacement when needed. Window panes get thin over the years, and older windows sag and pull away from a home’s framing. Thin window panes and those gaps around the frames let out your heating and cooling, increasing your utility costs.

Older windows that warp and sag might also fail to lock properly. Potential intruders can also slide a pry bar into gaps around old windows and break into your home more easily than trying to force open new windows that close and lock snugly!

To ensure your home is safe and comfortable, consider scheduling a new window replacement when you notice those gaps around window frames and between sashes and the jamb. If you struggle to operate and lock your home’s windows, it’s also time to schedule a window replacement.

single hung window replacement

Homeowners should also remember that older windows might detract from their property’s overall curb appeal. Upgrading to new windows can mean an improved appearance from the home’s exterior, for a more welcoming look.

Updated windows and especially those larger than the home’s current windows can also let in more sunlight and fresh air, or allow for a better view to the outside. Your home will then have a better appearance both inside and out!

Do New Windows Increase Property Values?

Some studies show that your home’s value might increase up to 85% of the cost of those new windows! ( In other words, your property values might increase $850 for every $1000 you spend on new windows.

Updated, energy-efficient windows also help improve a home’s overall efficiency, reducing utility costs while enhancing your home’s interior environment. Potential homebuyers will typically prefer a house with bright and sunny interior spaces, and with windows that are easy to operate and clean!

Even if you’re not thinking of putting your home on the real estate market anytime soon, investing in new windows can mean lower utility costs and better air circulation inside the home. More sunlight can also mean healthier houseplants, a brighter and more welcoming space, and even an enhanced mood for everyone in the family! All of these are reasons enough to invest in new windows even if you’re not concerned about reselling it anytime soon.

finished window replacement

Arlington Home Window Replacement is happy to bring this information to our readers and hopefully, it helped you answer the question, is my window double hung. If you’re ready to update your home and create a welcoming look inside, turn to our Arlington window replacement contractors. We carry a full catalog of stunning, affordable windows, perfect for every room of your home. For more information, give us a call today.

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