Contractors often have an uphill battle convincing prospects that windows filled with argon and the even pricier krypton are worth the extra bucks. What you see is what you get, so if you can't see what you're getting, how do you present it to consumers?

To sell prospects, Bill Hughes provides a vivid demonstration. The president of Medallion Security Door & Window, in Fayetteville, Ga., uses freeze spray and a heat lamp to show customers that the energy transfer that takes place in gas-less double-paned windows does not happen with triple-paned windows filled with krypton.

“That opens people's minds,” he says. “You show them in their homes that the windows will pay for themselves.”

KRYPTON'S WOW FACTOR George Sullivan, president of Benchmark Windows, Lakewood, Colo., gets out his calculator and totals up just how much his prospects will save on energy bills with triple-paned krypton windows vs. non-filled double-paned. The difference, he argues, is huge. “These figures aren't make-believe,” Sullivan says. “A double pane [with no gas filler] has an R-2 value. With low-E and argon, it's R-3. Our window has an R-rating of 10.”

Of course, for many consumers, krypton is something they associate with Superman, not windows. Fred Finn, president of Euro-Tech, Bensenville, Ill., says the need to explain what it is and what it does, along with the fact that krypton-filled windows are not available at big box retailers, is an advantage. “Krypton is so state of the art,” Finn points out. “We give the homeowner something to be impressed about.”

WILL THEY PAY? Nonetheless, not all replacement contractors find this particular battle worthwhile. Krypton-filled windows are “obviously a very good product,” says Brian Elias, president of Detroit-based Hanson's Windows & Siding.

“They do increase insulation, but I don't know if I can relate the difference to consumers. It's hard to sell people what they can't see,” he says.

None of his customers have ever asked for krypton, Elias says, and so he doesn't push it. And because it's a much more expensive product, he notes, he'd have to sell it for double Hanson's cost. And, he points out, “not everybody can afford a Cadillac.”