The Argon Gas Trick – How Much Argon Gas is in Your Windows?

We can tell a lot about your window shopping experience by the questions you ask us. One common question we get is about the percentage of argon gas in a window we’re offering. This one tells us that you’ve met yourself a creative window salesman.

There is a certain type of window salesperson out there who likes to tell creative stories about the products he sells and about the products sold by “the other guys”.

One of those stories has to do with how much argon gas is in a window. I’ve been through quite a few window plants over the years. When you tour these facilities one thing you notice is that they all use the same types of equipment. You see the same welders, the same cleaners and the same argon filling stations. There could be small changes in the end result, but I’ve never seen any substantial difference.

Why would they lie like that?

I think the window salesperson telling this story is always selling pretty expensive windows. He needs a way to explain why you should pay thousands for for his windows than other options in town. This isn’t the only reason he’ll give, but it’s one of many.

He’ll give you a laundry list of reasons why his windows are far superior to any other window a layperson like you has ever laid eyes on. Then, when he finally shows you the secret price and you gasp, he’ll politely remind you of all of the reasons that his products cost so very much.

I believe he thinks he can get away with this story because argon gas is clear and you can’t see it. Unfortunately for him the National Fenestration Rating Council posts efficiency ratings for every residential window out there. Every window comes with a sticker that shows the ratings and the website shows how the ratings were achieved. The argon’s percentage is right there on the website.

But that’s not completely right?‽!

When I recorded this video yesterday the only examples I found on the site we’re 90/10 meaning 90% argon gas and 10% air. I asked in the video for anyone with any other info to post a comment and someone did in just a matter of hours. You guys are the best.

He posted that 2 manufacturers in the DC area offer options that are 95% argon and 5% air. He was absolutely right.

I checked it out this morning and found just what I expected to find. The addition of 5% more argon gas didn’t seem to make any substantial difference in the efficiency rating. The U-Factor for those options were still in the regular range for any double pane window meaning these options were not any more efficient. Just what we suspected, the additional 5% of argon gas didn’t make the window any better.

If anyone thinks I’m wrong about that post a comment or send me a message. I’d love to hear from you.

If a tree falls in the forest…

If there is 5% more argon gas in one window than another, and the windows have the same efficiency ratings is one better than another? In my humble opinion, no.

I’m not suggesting that manufacturers aren’t being truthful about the efficiency ratings for their products. Rather, I am suggesting that there are in-home salespeople who are comfortable tell stories that are disconnected from the truth.

If you’re interested in looking up any of these things for yourself you certainly can. The website is here and you should know that it’s not very user friendly. It can be a bit of a challenge to navigate, but all the info is there for you to see.

So, when you hear a window salesperson tell you that his windows have more argon gas than another product I would suggest you quietly roll your eyes and show him the door the first chance you get.

Unfortunately, the salesmen that use this type of tactic tend to be the pushiest so you’re likely to hear about the super special discount you can get if you buy right now and then once you say no he’ll probably call the manager for a super special deal.

Should I by from them anyway if the price is great?

My advice is to not feed the wild animals. No matter how high his original price or how fantastic his discount may seem there’s definitely a better value out there and a company that treats you honestly isn’t that hard to find.

Good luck with your window project!

As the YouTube channel gets going we’re going to be looking for new and interesting topics to use for our new videos. If you have a window question that you’re struggling with post a comment to let us know. We might just use it for an upcoming video.

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As always if you’d like to get a quote for your project from my company or a company I recommend check this section here. To stay updated on our new Window Wednesday series you can subscribe to our YouTube channel here or just come back to the site every Wednesday.

Have fun!

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18 responses to “The Argon Gas Trick – How Much Argon Gas is in Your Windows?”

  1. Michael J Bleidl Avatar
    Michael J Bleidl

    This is the first time I’ve come across your site and I thinks it’s great. I’ve been in the windows and doors replacement business for over 15 years.

    My initial position was with a well-known local company. This company had a sales policy of ‘one night close’. Many people have never of this type of sales. As a sales force we were given a daily lead(s); most of these leads were from telemarketing, door knocking canvassers, trade shows, or paper advertisements offering two windows free for one, free labor, lifetime warranty, free no credit advertising, and occasionally a previous customer referral. We were instructed in memorizing a flip-book monologue, a specific process of price presentation along with specific ordered closes and price drops. We were instructed not to leave the home without a signed contract, preferably with a deposit check.

    Our sales presentation included argon gas versus other gases, virgin vinyl, screen materials, the heat lamp show, jumping on the sample window and more.

    If we did not close that lead it automatically went into a unit that called the customers the next day offering additional discounts, even after we had sometimes had so many in-home price drops that the last in-home price was 50% lower than the price we started with.

    I found from a little investigation that the company was marking up these windows approximately 900%. A window that cost the company 75.00 to purchase from a third party manufacturer, we sold starting at 750.00 installed.

    I was successful at this company for almost two years, ranking as one of the top three salesmen out eighteen or so in the sales force. While I practiced one-call close techniques I tried to be as low cost as I could and with as little pressure as possible. When the sales manager decided to accompany me on a call my time with the company quickly came to an end. He chastised me for “not doing any of the process we taught you to”, even though I was consistently a top ranked closer.

    I opened my own company about 6 months later, using an excellent product with a long history, and using e-mail to present a price following a 15- 30 min visit to the house to measure, talk about my product and explain our process from contract to install and payment.

    I successfully sold that company 12 years later and now am starting a series of new ones.

    I’m happy to expand on other shady techniques/marketing I’ve come across and you are welcome to use my story as you see fit.

    1. thewindowdog Avatar

      Thanks for sharing. I think sometimes people don’t believe me that these sales tactics are real. Where are you located?

    2. Michael Bullen Avatar
      Michael Bullen

      I see that argon is about one third heavier than air.Other than air, having the ability to contain moisture, is there sufficient difference to warrant argon use?
      As a T.I.G .welder for 45 years, I’ve used argon as a shield gas ,most of the time.

      1. Russell Avatar

        That’s a great question. I’d love to hear the answer.

        I’m looking to replace over 40 windows and the prices I’m getting are all over the board. Don’t know if I need gas in the new windows or not. We keep indoor temps pretty moderate so utility bills are not that big an issue.

        What’s this I read that air causes moisture? Is that why my existing windows (that supposedly have argon gas) are all fogged?

        I just need a basic replacement window that works at least as well as the cheap builder grade windows I have now without breaking the bank.

        1. thewindowdog Avatar

          Argon gas does make a substantial difference in efficiency and you’ll see most every company will recommend it. The price ins’t high and the whole point of replacing windows is improving efficiency (at least in most cases).

          Luckily anything efficiency rated is easy to compare. The company offering them should be able to show you the efficiency ratings with difference options so you can see the difference. I would suggest getting windows with argon gas.

  2. colin HURST Avatar
    colin HURST

    You are knowledgeable about windows and the amount of argon gas installed between the panes in the manufacturing plant. But gases diffuse. By the time the window is installed how much argon will still be between the pains? After one year how much argon will be between the panes? Is there a way to measure argon content on site?

    1. thewindowdog Avatar

      Hi Colin, people worry about that sometimes but I don’t think it’s a major issue. If the argon gas were to leak out of your window then air would need to replace it. If air gets in that air will have moisture in it and you’ll see condensation inside the glass unit. That would be a seal failure and is covered by most warranties for a very long time. There isn’t an easy way to measure argon gas in the field without expensive tools, but if you don’t see condensation inside the glass you’ll know that outside air has not gotten in.

  3. AE Avatar

    Good text and YouTube video! It is good that someone is educating people about these things in a way that is understandable and relatable.

    However, I have something to add. I work within glass industry and have noticed that many IGU manufacturers or window manufacturers do not check the gas concentration level with additional equipment. They trust the number that is told by someone but there are many cases when we have tested the glass with non-invasive gas concentration measurement device and the result have shown different level than promised. Therefore, salesperson telling about higher gas concentration level might be true, but evidence should be shown. There are no regulations about the gas fill rate which is why many companies are selling products that do not meet the expectations, intentionally or unintentionally. Checking the argon level should be part of the quality control process of insulating glass and windows.

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