Acoustic Window Inserts: Do They Really Work?
Acoustic window inserts have been presented as a quick and convenient solution to noise problems. But do they really measure up? This article aims to examine the details and size between facts and myths.
What Are Soundproof Window Inserts?
Soundproof window inserts are supplementary panes, often made of glass or acrylic, intended to be installed behind your existing windows. The primary objective is to provide a barrier against external noise. They are commonly installed using magnetic strips or snapped into place without the need for extensive modifications to your window frames.
Let's look at some of the Negatives and Issues in Design
The adage “more mass equals better soundproofing” rings true in the world of acoustics. However, the lightweight materials used in window inserts often fail to provide the necessary mass for effective noise reduction.
Lack of Effective Gap
Soundproofing generally requires an effective gap between layers to act as a ‘sound trap’. Most window inserts snugly fit behind existing windows, offering no effective gap.
The quality seal is crucial in any soundproofing, window inserts often feature inadequate seals, leading to less-than-optimal soundproofing performance.
Difficult Daily Use
The inserts can be cumbersome when you want to open your windows, as they usually need to be removed and reinstalled.
Use of Acrylic Materials Like Ethyl Acrylate
Some acrylic window inserts contain ethyl acrylate, which is considered a potential carcinogen in certain jurisdictions.
Installation Issues: Magnetic Strips and Double-Sided Tape
The installation often relies on magnetic strips secured with double-sided tape, which can lose adhesive properties over time, weakening the seal and potentially causing the insert to become loose or even fall.
Targeted at DIY Market
These products are mainly designed for DIY installations and generally do not meet the specifications for professional-grade soundproofing.
Are Soundproof Window Inserts Effective?
The simple answer is not particularly effective. They might reduce some higher-frequency noises like conversation but fall short in blocking lower-frequency sounds like traffic noise.
Updated Comparison of Your Soundproofing Options
Draftproofing Existing Windows
It is the least effective but simplest and cheapest option. It aims to eliminate gaps through which air and minor noise can pass.
Offers marginal improvement but doesn’t solve issues like seals and gaps.
Soundproof Window Inserts
These are more effective than simple draftproofing but offer limited noise reduction and come with several design issues, as detailed above.
Offers a substantial step up in terms of performance, including better sealing and a more effective sound-trapping gap and much better in terms of every day use.
High-Performance Secondary Windows
These offer an even greater degree of soundproofing due to the robust acoustic design of every part and are well-suited for environments that require maximum noise reduction.
While acoustic window inserts may seem like an easy solution for those looking to reduce noise quickly, their limited effectiveness and various design shortcomings make them a less-than-ideal choice. For those serious about soundproofing, secondary glazing or full window replacements provide a more reliable and effective long-term investment.
SPECIALIST SOUNDPROOF WINDOWS & DOORS
Through specialist manufacturing and precision technology, we can reduce noise pollution by up to 95%. By installing specialist soundproof windows and doors, we provide you with the best products on the market. Don’t compromise on design. Don’t compromise on quality.
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