Argon- and Air-filled IGU
Should I use an argon- or an air-filled IG unit?
Insulating Glass Units (IG Units) can be made with air or other gases between the two lites of glass. While air itself is a good insulator, filling the gap between the glass panes with a lower-conductivity gas such as argon can improve performance by reducing conductive and convective heat transfers. This phenomenon results from the fact that the density of the gas is greater than the density of the air. Air-filled IG units are commonly used in commercial applications. However, an argon-filled IG unit sometimes might be required in order to meet specific requirements and energy codes.
The use of a less conductive gas in an IG unit has insulating benefits but may come at a higher initial cost compared to an air-filled IG unit. There are also concerns about maintaining the gas fill levels over time. Argon permeation is greater than air for most IG sealants, which can result in negative pressure in the IG air space. Argon-filled units also cannot use breather tubes for high-altitude applications.