Home Improvement

Double-Hung Windows vs Single Hung: What’s the Difference?

Windows are a vulnerable point when it comes to sealing your home against the elements, which can have an impact on your electricity bill. According to the EIA, your home’s windows impact between 25 and 30% of your home’s energy use.

That means they’ve got an effect on your electricity bill, too. If you’re considering updating your energy-sapping windows soon, the first consideration is between double-hung vs. single-hung windows.

Keep reading to discover the difference, and whether single-hug or double-hung windows are most suited to you.

What Are Single-Hung Windows?

Single-hung windows are also called single-sash windows. They have a lower, movable sash and an upper fixed one.

The bottom part of the window slides up and down to allow air in or keep it out, while the top is immobile. All the ventilation provided by single-hung windows comes via the bottom portion.

Describing Double Hung Windows

Double-hung or double-sash windows have two operable sashes. Both of these can slide up or down to open or close the window.

When you open these windows, warm air escapes via the top sash, and cold air flows into your home via the bottom one. In this way, they improve the interior comfort of your home.

Comparing Single Hung vs. Double Hung Windows

Apart from the way you operate them, there are four main differences between these two varieties of windows. These are:


Both these types of windows require the same amount of maintenance, depending on the material they’re made of. You’ll need to paint or varnish wooden windows regularly to keep them in good shape, while vinyl or fiberglass windows require very little, if any, maintenance.

Since double-hung windows have more moving parts, there’s a slight chance that more things can go wrong, but this is a minimal consideration.


It’s much easier to clean double-hung windows than single-sash windows. You can tilt the sashes inward while cleaning them, so you can reach them from inside your home.

This is especially beneficial for second-story windows.

With single-hung windows, you need to clean the exterior of the window from outside your home. This is inconvenient and requires hiring an expert for upper-story windows.

When you consider that you should clean your windows at least once a month, this can soon become a real headache.

Energy Efficiency and Ventilation

By sheer volume, double-hung windows allow more air into your home because you can open twice as many sashes.

Also, since double-hung windows increase air flow, they’re good for removing warm stale air from your home. They’re also a better choice when it comes to energy efficiency.

The constant flow of warm air and cold air helps keep your home’s temperature on an even keel in summer and can help reduce the amount of time you use your air conditioner.

That means you’ll use less electricity, lower your home’s carbon emissions, and save money on your electricity bill.

Unfortunately, both these types of windows have higher air leakage rates than hinged or projecting windows. The better quality windows you buy, the less likely they are to leak.


Since they offer increased functionality, and more moving parts, double-hung windows usually cost more than single-hung windows of a similar size.

If you want to enjoy the benefits of a double-hung window at a lower price, you should opt for a cheaper material such as vinyl. For all its beauty, wood is the most expensive option for windows.

Window Shopping Tips

It’s best to work with a window or patio door installer for expert advice regarding your window installation, but there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your new windows.

These are:

Available Styles

You’ll find you have a lot more options when it comes to choosing a design for your double-hung windows. These windows come in a choice of modern or classic looks to suit any type of home.

Single-pane windows typically suit historic-looking homes best.


The materials you choose, determine the cost of your new windows as well as their durability and the amount of maintenance they require.

The most popular types of window materials are wood, fiberglass, steel, and vinyl.

Wood is a beautiful addition to any home, but it is prone to sun damage, warping from the weather, and termites.

It’s vital to keep your wooden windows painted or varnished to prevent them from losing their appeal. This is a time-consuming and expensive process.

Vinyl and fiberglass are available in many different colors to suit your home’s appearance and are impervious to all but the most extreme weather events.

They’re also cheaper and last a long time without any maintenance, although they can’t match the appeal of traditional wooden windows.


If you don’t ensure that you’ve locked the top of your double-hung window when you close it, gravity can cause it to sag downward. This is a security risk, but it’s easily remedied by getting into the habit of closing it properly before you leave home.

Since you can only open the bottom section of a single-pane window, they’re not ideal for homes with small children, as they can easily climb out of the open section.

With double-hung windows, you have the option to open only the top half, which is safely out of their way.

Find the Perfect Fit for Your Home

If energy efficiency is your main concern, you can opt for double or triple pane glass when choosing single or double-hung windows, too.

Bookmark our website, and check back regularly for the latest home improvement tips and ideas.


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