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Protecting Windows From Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

A Window

With hurricane season in full swing, make sure you're onboard with storm preparations. And because your windows are one of the most vulnerable points on your house, you need to protect them in any tropical storm, even one that experts don't classify as a hurricane. Here are four tips for protecting your windows from a hurricane or tropical storm.

1. Cover or Board Them up

The traditional way to board up your windows involves using thick plywood (5/8 inch or more) and heavyduty screws. If you aren't physically able to install these on your own, you can hire a handyman or contractor.

If you live in an area that receives hurricanes often, you may want to invest in storm shutters. You can find several types available in materials such as wood and aluminum. Storm shutters allow you to quickly and easily protect your windows before an impending storm.

2. Remove Potential Missiles

While you probably can't do anything about items in your neighbors' yards, you can make a big difference by looking around your yard for things that the hurricane might pick up, toss at your house, and potentially break your windows. Analyze all of your garden elements, yard decor, tools, and outdoor living furniture.

Big and heavy items may not seem like much of a risk, but with winds up to 200 mph, lawn furniture could especially damage your home. You also need to corral anything that's flat or tends to flap in the wind. Stiff, lightweight sheets such as tin roofing panels can be one of the biggest risks for your windows. In addition, look around for other loose items such as:

  • Hanging plants and baskets

  • Trash and recycling bins

  • Freestanding burn pits

  • Wheelbarrows

  • Clotheslines

  • Kiddie pools

Place these items in your garden or storage shed, or bring them into the mudroom or laundry room if you have no shed.

Keeping your trees well-pruned can also help avoid window damage that occurs when the wind rips a loose or dead branch off and throws it at the side of your house.

3. Don't Open Windows During Storm

You might have heard that opening your windows slightly during the storm can help equalize pressure inside your house. This is a myth. Opening windows just means you're more likely to get a vicious updraft that can help the hurricane totally disintegrate not only the windows but the entire house. 

Even a tightly built house has some air exchange between the inside and the outside already, so you don't need to worry about equalizing the pressure - that happens on its own.

4. Inspect Windows and Storm Shutters Annually

Weak or faulty latches, window frame damage, and other maintenance issues can make a window more likely to fly open or buckle in high winds. Schedule a thorough home maintenance or professional inspection each year. If you haven't had such an inspection yet this year, check your windows over before boarding them up.

Ideally, you should schedule future inspections around the beginning of hurricane season so an early hurricane hit won't catch you off-guard. Hurricanes can hit the US in July and even June, although August and September hurricane hits are much more common. 

These tips will help you guard your windows against breakage in high-wind storms such as hurricanes. If any of your windows do end up breaking in a hurricane, consider replacing just the glass rather than the whole window. This process can save you quite a bit of money, and you can repair even double-glazed windows this way.

Always choose a reputable company to inspect and replace your windows such as Window Wise. Call us during business hours or contact us via our website anytime to learn more and receive a free estimate.

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