Saturday, December 2, 2023


Exposed: The ‘borderline scam’ of RV dual-pane windows!

By Cheri Sicard
Josh the RV Nerd, one of our readers’ favorite RV YouTube channels, is about to expose one of the RV industry’s biggest myths: RV dual-pane windows!

According to Josh, RV dual-pane windows are “a borderline scam”!

It’s not that they don’t have any value at all, but it’s probably not what you are expecting or have been led to believe.

To help you be a savvy RV consumer, the video covers what benefits you should and should not expect from RV dual-pane windows, along with what you can expect to get for your money when choosing this often-pricey RV upgrade.

Josh begins by explaining that these windows are often sold as RV “thermal pane” windows (sometimes cutely labeled thermo pane windows). However, the consumer needs to understand that they are NOT actually thermal-pane windows at all.

Josh says it’s difficult to tell RV dual-paned windows from ordinary frameless windows visually. You should see a sticker touting that the window is insulated; however, according to Josh, it’s not. He explains why he says that along with the technicalities of why and what the insulation ratings actually do, and do not, mean, at point 1:20 in the video below.

RV thermal windows: Not what you think

When they think of thermal or dual-paned windows, most people envision the residential variety, which is two panes of glass that is typically filled with some sort of gas to prevent the transmission of thermal heat.

That is NOT what you are typically getting with RV dual-paned windows, that are typically made of two pieces of glass bonded together without space between them.

Go to point 3:17 in the video for the technical comparison of RV dual-pane windows versus single-pane RV windows. You might be surprised that there is little to no insulation gain to these expensive RV upgrades. Josh says you can accomplish more by simply pulling your RV’s shades closed. Doing this clocks in at double the R-rating of the RV dual-pane windows!

RV windows and condensation misconceptions

At point 5:30 in the video, that condensation in an RV is just moisture looking for a place to collect. The type of windows has no bearing on the amount of condensation in your rig or where it accumulates. And not accumulating on the windows means it is accumulating somewhere else where it could possibly grow mold or mildew. Josh says a good dehumidifier is the answer, especially when cold camping.

Are there ANY advantages to RV dual-pane windows?

Josh says they do offer one significant benefit, and that is the amount of noise they keep outside of your RV. They might not insulate against the weather, but Josh says they truly do insulate against noise.

Josh suggests you go to an RV dealer lot and experience it for yourself. Go into a rig with double-bonded RV windows, then go into a single-paned rig and compare.

Are there exceptions?

Yes. A few brands make true dual-pane RV windows like you see in residential homes. But according to Josh, you are going to have to look very hard to find them. Be prepared to open your wallet, as well, as they are almost always in high-end diesel pushers and large luxury 5th wheels. If you know of exceptions, drop them in the comments.

Of all the brands he works with, Josh does not see any of them making a true dual-pane window.

“Euro-style” RV windows are the other exception, as they are true dual-pane windows with inside and outside layers with an air break in between. When he shot the video, Josh said there was no reliable R-value information on these. However, he did find some references that you can locate at point 9:50 in the video.

He also says that the insulative properties of the Euro-style windows are another factor you can go out and test for yourself on a hot day at an RV dealership.

Be sure to watch until the end of the video for Josh’s tips on what to do instead of paying for expensive RV dual-pane windows. You’ll get better insulation and save a bundle of bucks!



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Gary Bate (@guest_258756)
1 month ago

We recently camped for several weeks in freezing nighttime temps in the high Sierra (8,000ft) ended up buying a roll of that double sided foil coated bubble wrap and cutting to size for each window. Boy did that make a huge difference, we also used the scraps to block out drafts at points we detected using a cooking digital thermometer. Our propane heater was out but we have a couple of tiny 200 watt electric space heaters along with a 1500 watt (solar) power bank which also helped to maintain above 60f at night.

Neal Davis (@guest_258222)
1 month ago

Thank you for the video summary, Cheri. It is extremely informative and helpful. Thank you!

Bob P (@guest_258167)
1 month ago

A true dual pane window has a 3/4” gap between the panes with Argonne gas sealed between them. Argonne is a inert gas, I had dual pane windows in a house I owned in northern IL back in the 70’s they do work. As Josh said these RV windows are pure profit makers, if you spend $2000 extra for them you just upped the manufacturers profit by $1700.

Richard (@guest_258116)
1 month ago

We are FT 17yrs in a Class A. I chuckle at people promoting “Dual Pane Windows” in a motor home, with a windshield, that creates a gigantic “Hole” in the insulation scheme. Windshields have an R-factor of about -27. I have to blanket mine with layers of insulators when we get caught in cold climates. Yes, we have dual pane (side) windows.

Diane Mc (@guest_258084)
1 month ago

Dual pane windows in our 2002 Newmar Dutchstar in all but the driver’s side window…not sure why. We had that one done later. Never have had a single issue and sure helps keeping coach warm. Crossing my fingers I didn’t just jinx us😊

Tommy Molnar (@guest_258081)
1 month ago

Josh’s video was a good one. I went over to YouTube to watch it so I could see what kind of comments would be posted. Of course, I commented over there – ha. We have HEHR dual pane windows on our aging Arctic Fox, and they are true dual pane windows with the gap between the glass. We had them installed at the Northwood factory. The original single pane units could not be opened without a screwdriver to wedge them up (on the up and down windows).

Mikal H (@guest_258076)
1 month ago

I have had true dual pane windows in every RV we’ve owned since 2003. I have no doubt that, like everything else in the RV industry, they have cheapened them considerably. I have not had broken seals and fogging. Big difference between true dual and single pane windows.

It’s not a given that condensation that would have formed on windows is guaranteed to form elsewhere. It forms due to relative humidity…a combination of moisture in the air and temperature. A well insulated RV, which most are not, will keep surfaces warmer, thus minimizing condensation. Like a well-built home, my Newmar even has a vapor barrier in the walls. You get what you pay for.

MattD (@guest_258068)
1 month ago

Thermal pane windows are more for keeping heat IN instead of OUT. After years of doing heat loss calculations for new construction permitting, it’s all about keeping heat in, thus conserving energy to heat the home. Even as far as triple pane windows used in northern climates of the country. And yes, there is an airspace between the panes. The more the better. The best way to keep heat OUT is with a Low E coating on the inside of the outter pane. The higher the Low E coating the better the reflective ability of UV rays.

Troy (@guest_258051)
1 month ago

I have a 2017 Thor Challenger 37LX, and it has actual dual pane windows with an air gap between the panes. The problem is that they aren’t made to withstand the earthquake in the middle of a hurricane that these things go through every time they hit the road. The seal is busted on almost every one of these windows and moisture gets between the panes and fogs the window. On two of my bigger windows the inside pane fell off, and since that’s the pane that the open closing mechanism attaches to, now I have two single pane windows that just flop open and closed with the wind and movement unless I duct tape them closed.

Jesse Crouse (@guest_258041)
1 month ago

Learned our lesson in our 98 Bounder. Replaced 2 windows with factory “dual pane” or should I say “dual pain and over priced” windows which failed again. Switched to single pane and no more problems.

Bob P (@guest_259991)
25 days ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

I had a ‘99 Bounder with the right side passenger cab window fogged up to the point DW couldn’t see out. I called the local window shop who came out removed the window and left me to cover the hole(didn’t appreciate that). 5 weeks later after several calls they replaced the window $169. Then on the trip to FL the anti sway bar fell apart preventing us from driving faster than 52 mph. Upon making repairs, hoping that V10 engine didn’t fire a spark plug through the dog house at us I got rid of it shortly after arriving home, never have another one. Lol

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