How do soundproof windows work and are they a good investment?
If you live near an airport, a highway, a fire station or just a busy street, a considerable amount of outside noise is inevitable. Some people get used to it but for others, unwanted noise is, at the very least, a distraction that can become a major disruption in their lives. Let’s explore how soundproof windows work and if they are a good investment.
Noise can affect your health, sleep, concentration and ability to relax. It can influence your work, mood and outlook, and create a constant source of stress. So, what can be done if the noise can’t be eradicated? Let’s see if noise-reducing windows are a good investment.
The advantages of soundproofing windows
Most people think that unwanted noise enters through the walls but according to scientific research, about 90 percent of this extraneous sound comes through windows and doors. The main culprit is the window glass itself, although sound can also seep through “leaky” window frames. With a standard window, loud noise causes the window glass to vibrate and this actually amplifies the sound.
The solution, in almost all cases, is the installation of specially designed windows that stop the noise from entering the home or business.
“Many of our customers are coming to us as a last resort,” said Richard Mann, owner and president of EZ SoundProof, Soundproof Window Treatments, a Massachusetts-based company that provides custom-made soundproof windows all over the United States. “They love the location of their home or business but the outside noise is driving them crazy.
“They’ve tried all kinds of other remedies without success and they don’t want to move. Our soundproof windows can provide significant noise control.”
How do soundproof windows work?
Air is not only a great insulator but it can also provide a barrier to block out sound. The typical soundproof window incorporates a second pane of glass inside the existing window. This pane is made of special soundproofing glass, which is laminated to create a sound-reducing air pocket.
The laminated glass is made by fusing a clear plastic membrane between two layers of plate glass. It is generally a quarter to seven-eighths of an inch thick and is mounted about three to six inches from the existing window.
When installed, soundproof windows create a double-pane system that eliminates 75-95 percent of the outside noise.
“There was an immediate change,” said Maranda Stevens, a massage therapist who recently installed soundproof window treatments from EZSoundProof.com in her Boston massage studio. “You couldn’t hear anything.”
“People would comment about how quiet it was and what a big difference it was,” added co-worker Stephanie Jenkins, another Massage Therapist located in the same building, “They didn’t know what made the difference, but I did.
How are soundproof windows rated?
The noise-reduction ability of a window is rated by sound transmission class (STC). The higher the number, the better it is at blocking unwanted sound.
A standard single-pane window has an STC rating of about 27 and a dual-pane window’s STC is around 28. Soundproof window inserts have STC ratings of 45 or higher. An STC rating of 55 blocks out about 95 percent of the noise.
The STC rating is a key factor when you are planning to soundproof existing windows.
Do soundproof windows replace existing windows?
Sound-insulated windows are not installed in place of existing windows. They just provide another layer of soundproofing inside the room. Soundproof windows are mounted in front of any type of window, including sliding doors, fixed windows and skylights.
Soundproof window treatments from EZSoundProof.com are completely customizable in terms of shape, size and color so they blend in with existing windows. The addition of these sound-deadening windows does not affect your ability to open and close existing windows. And in almost all cases, existing blinds will work with the new soundproof windows.
Soundproof window treatments from EZ Soundproof are also moveable and easy to clean. You can also remove the soundproof windows in order to clean the existing windows.
How much do soundproof windows cost?
The price can vary based on size, the number ordered and various features.
EZ SoundProof Window Treatments helps cut costs by offering windows that can be ordered installed by the purchaser.
“Home or business owners can save hundreds of dollars by ordering from us,” noted Mann. “If you’re soundproofing an entire home or office, that really adds up.”
The best tip for consumers is to educate themselves about noise-reducing windows, shop around, ask about the STC ratings and get the best price.
Can soundproof windows reduce utility bills?
Absolutely. Because the second window pane and the resultant air barrier create additional layers of insulation, homes and businesses with soundproof windows retain heat and cool air much better than buildings with standard windows. Thus you get more bang for your heating and cooling buck.
According to Mann, EZ SoundProof window treatments cut energy usage by 30-50 percent. There is also a total elimination of drafts. So, in addition to making your HVAC system more energy efficient, the rooms are more comfortable.
Are there any other benefits?
Yes. Soundproof windows block out the intake of dust, pollen and other allergens, making for a healthier home or work environment.
Acting as interior storm windows, soundproof windows also provide an added layer of safety against severe weather, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms and high winds. The laminated glass is 100 percent shatter-proof, which shields the room’s interior from the weather and broken glass.
In addition, soundproof windows eliminate 99 percent of the ultraviolet ray spectrum. This protects against the discoloration and fading of furniture, carpets, artwork and drapes, an important feature that dramatically enhances their life cycle and significantly reduces replacement costs.
For hotels, and other commercial businesses where appearance is critical, the elimination of UV rays is a major benefit.