Broward County in Florida is so vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms, the county puts out a guide to hurricane preparedness and safety. If you live in Broward County, they recommend that you have a plan, and that you secure your home. There are many things that should be done to prepare for a hurricane, but your home and your family are a major priority, and keeping them safe is essential.
These are some of the things that Broward County recommends:
Do not use plywood to cover windows! They do not give you enough protection, and if you are covering standard windows, they can break, causing a breech in your home. The abrupt pressure change when this happens – the difference between the pressures inside your home and outside in the storm – can actually cause structural damage.
Your windows and doors help keep your home standing, and when broken during a storm, the pressure can tear down walls and rip off roofs. Using plywood might be cheaper in the short term, but hurricane impact windows or hurricane shutters will keep you safe.
Do not use duct tape on windows! Tape will not keep a standard window from breaking, and will not keep the glass inside the frame if it does break.
The only window that resists breakage, and actually does not fall out of the frame when broken is a hurricane impact window or impact resistant window. They are specially made and coated to keep flying glass out of your home, and to resist breakage, just as a windshield is.
Make sure shutters or hurricane impact windows have the Miami-Dade County Product Approval or a Florida Building Code Product Approval. All hurricane impact windows meet these criteria, and meet all Florida building codes. You can ask your dealer or installer to show you approval.
Do not leave any window open for equalizing pressure between the inside and outside of your home. It is not necessary and could be a dangerous mistake.
Benefits of hurricane impact windows:
Impact resistant windows can reduce energy costs significantly. The windows may also qualify for an energy credit, up to 1500 dollars.
Increased home value
Reduction of outside noises heard inside the home
Year round hurricane protection
Insurance premium reduction
No more putting up and taking down shutters
While Broward County does not go so far as to recommend that you only install hurricane impact windows, they are the only window in Florida not required by law to be covered by hurricane shutters. Their safety benefits are recognized by the state of Florida, Broward County, and by insurance companies. They will keep your home and family safe.