Question about windows for acoustics

PollyGOctober 7, 2012

In the northeast and planning to replace 18 casement windows as part of a renovation project on a late 1960s home.

An adjacent apartment building (~30 feet) has a loud fan that turns on in roughly 40 minute intervals for about 10 minutes. The wall that faces this fan is mostly original single-pane windows that will be replaced, and we hope to significantly improve the acoustics and energy-efficiency of the home. After researching window options, we noted that different window technologies can provide different STC/UTC ratings, but we do not know what window rating will be needed to dampen the noise inside our unit.

We have quotes for Andersen 400, Jeld Wen Traditional Plus Clad, and Pella Proline for new construction frame, no grilles, dual pane windows with Low-E Argon fill. The thermal performance seems similar, and from looking at online performance data the STC/UTC ratings are 26/22, 30/25, 27/24 respectively. It seems that except for Andersen, higher end options can get STC/UTC to around 34/28 with some combination of dual or triple pane, uneven lite width, and/or lamination. Our contractor has expanded the search to look at higher end versions of those brands that support these choices as well as Eagle Axiom and Marvin UC. It may be difficult to get quotes for all the possible combinations of brands and glass options.

We don't care at all about external appearance. We would like a white painted wooden interior frame, but don't care about fancy wooden trims. When we visit window stores, the salesmen mostly want to focus on window appearance issues, and they only discuss price in vague terms. We really just want a quiet window with reasonable cost. Does anyone have any advice on window series we should focus on to maximize acoustic performance for lower cost? Should we consider any other companies? How much extra should we expect to pay to get close to 34/28 acoustic performance over the basic A-400, Jeld Wen, and Pella Proline? Thanks.

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I would look for a window with a STC over 40 if you are seeking maximum sound reduction. Milgard makes one of the best products to accomplish this. However, if all the noise you are trying to block is simply coming from a noisy fan, quite often a standard window with the addition of laminated glass will usually doa pretty good job. I would ask the manufacturers you have already looked at to provide you with the STC ratings for their windows so equiped. Do not be talked into simply upgrading to triple pane glass as that will have no effect on sound transmission over double pane glass. BTW argon and krypton gasses do nothing to reduce sound either.

Here is a link that might be useful: Milgard Quietline Windows

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 3:03PM
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Thanks for the feedback. We were looking at Milgard, but our contractor thinks they are not available in the northeast. Today we bought a sound meter from radio shack, and it recorded a 57db reading when the fan is running directly outside the window location. Thanks

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:20PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Contractor is correct.

Milgard is no longer offered on the east coast.

A well engineered replacement casement with laminated glass will give you considerable STC improvement.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 8:13AM
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Sorry, missed the part about living in the N.E. Your contractor is correct they are not available anywhere in the eastern US that I am aware of.

Casement with foam filled frame, sashes and with laminated glass would be your best bet. You could also take a look at Monray storm windows. These are specificall built for sound abatement and have even been used on homes near airports and train stations and other areas where sound is a big problem.

Here is a link that might be useful: Monray Storm Windows

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 8:33AM
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The 400 series has a STC rating of 33 with laminated glass in there double-hung, the casement is 30. I believe they had storm windows that would clip into their frames as well, would be interesting to the STC numbers with these mounted. The MAC/airport program here used Renewal by Anderson windows with Monray storms mounted on them. The Andersons used standard glass and the Monray's had 3/16ths non-laminated glass.Marvin also sells a storm window for some of their windows as well.For low and high frequencies a window without gas would perform slightly better than argon filled but not for mid frequencies.Larson also makes a sound control storm window(the SCS line) it uses 3/16th glass and is more economical and available than the Monray's.Pretty much everything will have an effect on the sound transmission loss from the glazing spacers to the wallsthe windows sit in, so it would be best to take a look at the big picture before spending big money on items you don't need.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:09AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Interesting that the casement numbers were less impressive (assuming it had lam glass as well) than the Double hung.

+1 on figuring out what you need and where the sound is coming from first.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 9:10AM
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It's all on there website if you want to check it out.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 9:51PM
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Does anyone have experience with the Andersen Combination Units (storm windows)? I can find the product page and installation instructions but no product specifications on the Andersen web site.

I have 5 200 series windows and I'm considering adding the combination units to cut down the noise from a nearby road. Would love to know what the STC or OITC would be with both the 200 series and combination unit.

I have 9 additional original windows in 4 bedrooms that I will be replacing this year. Trying to decide between a high end sound reducing window and more of the Andersen 200 series with the combination units.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 9:22PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Andersen should be able to provide with all the STC information and I am sure they have some glazing options to offset the glass thicknesses and drive up the STC.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:23AM
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The airport programs in Minneapolis all use some type of storm window.Renewal by Anderson was using storms from Monray.Seems that 3/16ths standard glass is the minimum requirement for storm windows for the program.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:42AM
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Just remember windows are only part of the sound package. To maximize that wall facing the fan, you will also have to look at insulation, sealing cracks etc.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:55AM
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I would be interested in any numbers you find, especially with the storms.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:02PM
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Found this on page 93. Adding a combination unit to a 400 Series tilt-wash double-hung (3862) unit with Low-4E glass will improve its STC rating from 26 to 32.

Here is a link that might be useful: Andersen Brochure

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 10:13PM
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The location/opening of windows is very important to receive auspicious air/wind.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 5:36AM
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The Marvin Integrity series has a STC/OITC glass option. Takes the rating to STC 32, OITC 28. This isn't laminated glass, it is a combination of 1/8" and 3/16" glass for the insulated glass.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 8:15AM
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Just installed 5 Andersen combination units on my existing 400 (not 200) DH TW windows. Big difference in suppressing the road noise. Well worth the money (~$150 each). Very pleased.

Plan to buy Andersen 400 Stormwatch DH windows for the bedrooms then add these combination units. Should end up with an STC close to 38.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 12:06AM
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You're thermal and air infiltration numbers should improvel and the life of the prime window should be extended as well.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 11:46AM
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Andersen told me today that they do not recommend using a combination unit with a Stormwatch window. So I will go with the regular 400 Series DH Full Frame window paired with the combination unit. That combo will match the rest of my windows.

Note that you also can't use a combination unit with the DH Insert replacement window. Has to be a Full Frame window.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 12:55PM
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We just installed 24 Andersen casement windows in our house renovation. These windows overlook a lake and noise was never a problem in the past. However, with these windows, we have a new acoustical problem - any noise outside (distant traffic, leaf blower, mowers etc.) is magnified by the windows - a sort of harmonic effect - and it is a dull roar inside when it is really not loud outside. If I open a window, the noise abates. I have been told it is because the 2 panes of glass resonate at the same frequency and amplify the noise. I am looking for (reasonable) solutions as these are all brand new windows and I really can't afford to remove and replace them. Thanks for any suggestions.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 7:57AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

This was discussed previously and Oberon had some poignant feedback on it.

Sorry to hear of the difficulty but I would wait to see what he comes up with or see if you can search the old threads.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 1:47PM
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