Rreplacing single-pane with dual-pane windows

My house is about 20 years old and in excellent condition, including windows and patio doors.
These are narrow frame black anodized aluminum sashes. I would like to replace these window frames with dual-pane windows in order to save energy (money).
The outside of the house is stucco and the flanges of the window sash are underneath the stucco.
What is the cheapest DIY approach to replace single pane with dual pane windows without ripping out the old frames.
I do not like the wide, white plastic frames. They take up space, make the rooms darker and look cheap.
Thanks for any input
Walter www.rationality.net -
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You probably can't, with true double-glaze, because the panes are too thick. You MIGHT be able to replace the glass with laminated (glass/plastic/glass) glass, which would give you some improvement.
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I looked into this many years ago. My plan was to buy double pane insulated glass, which I could get relatively cheaply, and replace the exisitng single panes. There was just enough room for the insulated glass if I routed out the rabbits to make them deeper. I abandoned the idea after I did some calculations and realized that there was no way I'd recover the costs with reduced heating bills even though I live in Minnesota and energy efficiencies can save a lot of money.
The fundamental problem is that the R value of the window goes from about a 1 to a 2 when you switch to insulated glass which isn't very much when you consider the wall is about a 10. The decrease in heat transfer for the total square footage of glass gave me a 20 year payback at natural gas prices of the time. It isn't enough of an improvement to bother unless of course you need to replace the window sash anyway.
I've concluded the best value is to make sure the exisitng windows and storms are in good shape, weather stripped, and caulked.
Tom

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Dual pane Low E argon are apx R 3.3 and tri-pane R 5. that along with much less wind infiltration. Your figures are way off on payback also. Windows are only one part of a complete system, wait till your new Ng bills come.
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That's ticket. heat loss comes in two forms leakage (cracks, opening doors) and conductive losses. The big benefit of modern windows (from the perspective of a guy who owns a 140 YO home) is getting a tighter window. Reducing conductive losses is just icing on the cake.
YMMV
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For how long?
Nick
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Nick what do you mean "for how long", new windows increase a houses value, save winter and summer in utilities from R value and less air infiltration, and the UV reduction saves everything inside from damage. Warranties of 15 years are normal, with the new sealants introduced in the last few years condensation may not occur for 30 years. Payback keeps getting less as utilities go up, I see no reason to keep old glass, unless you can`t afford new glass or it is architectural.
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How long does the argon stay in the window? I've heard as little as 5 years.

Covering loss of argon?
Nick
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With old sealers maybe 5-20 years, who knows now how long, even so considering all the other benefits, low E, dual pane, higher R, Uv protection, air infiltration etc etc new is still the way to go
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People who read guarantees or outfit their windows with Schraeder valves.
Nick
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote in 3134.bay.webtv.net:

With all of those features comes a higher price. You have to figure that in when calculating payback. In many cases the windows never pay for themselves (in money), because they fail and have to be replaced before the energy savings pay for the extra cost. The added comfort thogh can be priceless.
Brad
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Do a Google search under
"Marvin Tilt Pac window-sash replacement kit"
Instead of replacing the whole unit you replace the sashes.
It's your best bet.
BTW Argon stays at least 15 years unless the seals fail. It is larger and denser than air.
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