Double Hung Windows: Advantages and Disadvantages

Written by bprescottMarch 21, 2011

Examining Double-Hung Windows: Advantages and Disadvantages

Double-hung windows are the most common type of window in the U.S. They have a traditional appearance and operate by sliding up and down. Dividers, called muntins, either divide individual panes of glass or they snap on for decorative purposes. Spring-mounted operating mechanisms are the newest style of double-hung windows. Easy operation and a traditional style are just two of the advantages of double-hung windows.

Advantages

The advantages of double-hung windows are:

  • Versatility. Double-hung windows are compatible with most home styles and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and stock colors. The choice of material for double-hung windows includes aluminum, fiberglass, wood, and vinyl.
  • Air conditioner and screen friendly. Unlike casement windows, double-hung windows can accept air conditioners and screens. Because they slide up and down instead of cranking out or sliding to the side, they can hold AC units safely and screens can be added and removed when necessary.
  • Easy to clean. Newer double hung windows have tilt-out upper and lower sashes (the part of the window that holds the glass). This makes the windows easier to clean. Many manufacturers also offer windows with removable sashes for even easier cleaning.
  • Energy efficiency. Although precise measurements are required to minimize moisture and air leaks, high quality double hung windows have the option of quadruple weatherstripping. This feature prevents heat from escaping and cold air from entering, eliminating the need to adjust the thermostat up.

Disadvantages

The disadvantages of double-hung windows are: 

  • Not as airtight as other windows. Double hung windows have the option of quadruple weatherstripping, but without it, they’re not as airtight as other windows, such as casement windows or fixed windows. Fortunately, modern double hung windows are better constructed than old windows, so replacement windows will eliminate the issues owners of older homes may have with their original windows.
  • Limited ventilation. Double hung windows work by sliding the bottom sash up or the top sash down. This means, only half of the window may remain open at one time.

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