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Single Hung vs Double Hung Windows: The Differences

If you’re building a new home, renovating the one you already live in, or are simply looking to replace your current windows, you’re going to need to do some research when considering what type of windows, you’re going to install.

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want to use single-hung or double-hung windows.

In order to make an informed decision, you’ll first need to understand the difference between the two options.

This article lays out everything you need to know to understand the key differences between the two window types to ensure you have all the information you need to decide which windows are the best fit for your home.

image - Single Hung vs Double Hung Windows: The Differences
Single Hung vs Double Hung Windows: The Differences

Window Function

Single-hung and double-hung windows look the same but have one significant difference.

Single-hung windows allow you to open up the bottom sash, but the top sash is fixed in place.

On the other hand, double-hung windows allow you to open up both the bottom and top sash.

This one functional difference ends up causing various other differences regarding ventilation, maintenance, and energy efficiency.

Ventilation and Airflow

No one enjoys sitting in a stuffy room, especially if it’s hot. So which window type will get you the best ventilation? It doesn’t take too much brainpower to figure out that double-hung windows can provide greater ventilation and air circulation than their single-hung counterparts.

The option of opening up the bottom sash as well as the top sash is a ventilation game changer.

But the best part about double-hung windows is that it gives you options.

If you want to keep airflow to a minimum, you can keep the top sash closed and open up the bottom one.

But on those hot and stuffy days, you can go ahead and get additional airflow by opening both straps. That’s a luxury you don’t get with single-hung windows.

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Energy Efficiency

So, double-hung windows get the edge in ventilations, but the reason why they get that advantage is the same reason they aren’t as good at being energy-efficient.

Single-hung and double-hung windows are generally less energy-efficient than some other window types, but single-hung is better out of the two.

For a window to be energy-efficient, it needs to be well sealed. If it’s not, then in the summertime, the cool air from inside can easily seep out through the window, causing your air conditioner to work extra hard to maintain a comfortable temperature.

The same concept applies to letting warm air leak out in the winter, stressing your heating system.

Both of these scenarios are a sure-fire way to send your energy bills into the stratosphere.

Naturally, windows that have multiple moving parts and openings, like double-hung windows, will have a harder time sealing properly.

It’s the top sash that will generally have more trouble getting a strong seal.

Cleaning and Maintenance

There are essentially no differences for cleaning the inside of single-hung and double-hung windows.

The biggest difference comes when you need to clean the exterior. Obviously, to clean the outside of a window, you need to be on the outside.

Not only does this take time and effort if your home has multiple stories, but you also need a ladder to get up high enough clean, and that’s always a safety risk.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Fortunately for the owners of double-hung windows, the windows tilt to the inside, which means you can clean both sides of the window from the comfort and safety of the inside of your house.

Some single-hung windows do tilt to the inside, but that’s limited to the lower panel.

So even if you can get access to the exterior of the lower panel from inside, you still need to go outside to reach the upper panel.


Both types of windows are perfectly secure. However, it can be a little bit easier not to close the upper panel of double-hung windows properly.

If you don’t lock the panel properly, the upper sash can get pulled down by gravity, leaving the window open when you thought it was closed.

Just make sure you double-check the locks when you close the window.

Cost Differences

Since double-hung windows have a more functional versatility, they typically cost a bit more than a single-hung window of the same size.

Prices will vary depending on the brand, materials, style, and size of the window.

So, if you are looking for a more exact price point to help decide which windows will fit into your budget, visit the website of a local window business like windows-west.ca/locations/calgary/, and you can request an estimate for free.

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