The best time to make a decision about purchasing new windows is not while a tropical storm is whipping up in the Caribbean. Hasty decisions to get hurricane protection installed on your home (or any structure) will rarely result in the purchase and installation of the proper type of product or degree of protection. We tend to get anxious and forget the most important rule of common sense purchasing – don’t purchase a big ticket item without making sure it is what you want or what you need. No one likes to feel taken advantage of nor do they enjoy finding out, after the fact, that they didn’t make the best purchase. Impact-rated windows (sometimes referred to as just “impact windows”) are one such item that many homeowners feel compelled to buy without doing the proper research. If you don’t get the pertinent information it’s easy to make a poor choice that could result in buyer’s remorse. Here are a few tips and some information to help guide you in your decision making:For more information, visit their website at impact windows .
Old isn’t bad. Before you even consider new windows – impact-rated or non-rated – have an independent energy audit performed on your current windows. Most power companies like TECO, FPL or Duke Energy should perform this service for nothing. A professional audit can run as much as $500. You may find out from the audit that spending just a few hundred dollars to weatherize your current windows may save a fair amount of money on your energy bill. You may even find out the you will save even bigger bucks by not needing new windows at all.
Even if your windows are old they may still be good – especially if they are old wood windows. Installing some replacement felt strips, a few seals and some caulk can make a world of difference in the performance of your current windows. Don’t think that new windows will be the solution to water leakage, either. Even brand new windows can allow water to get into your home in an amount that is “within manufacturer’s acceptable standards”. Unfortunately, this is a phrase commonly used to address warranty issues regarding leakage of both air and water. For some reason their “acceptable standards” never seem to be as high as the ones that you thought that you paid for when you signed their contract.
Hurricane proof? Impact-rated windows are a “sacrificial” form of hurricane protection. They are designed to break but after they are broken they are not supposed to allow the wind to pressurize the interior of the building. Many folks misunderstand the term “impact-rated” thinking that it means “unbreakable” or “hurricane proof”. None of these terms are accurate. In fact, impact-rated windows break a lot easier that window companies would like you to know. Just to be clear, there is no such thing as a hurricane proof window or unbreakable window for residential use available from any of the major U.S. window manufacturers.
There are lots of online videos that show you the mess that results from a broken impact-rated window. If you don’t want the expense, mess and inconvenience of replacing them after they suffer storm breakage, vandalism or a maintenance accident, you need to protect them.