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!