Hurricane season is upon us in Florida and other Atlantic coastal states. NOAA’s hurricane forecasters predict a 60% chance of an “above-normal season,” but not one as drastic as 2020. Forecasts expect 13 to 20 named storms, 6 of 10 could become hurricanes, with 3 to 5 “major hurricanes” (Category 3, 4, or 5).
The storm season officially began on June 1, but one named storm arrived early, on May 22. Elsa, the fifth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, formed in early July. If predictions are correct, several more storms will form before the 2021 hurricane season ends on November 30. Millions of people will need to prepare as each one arrives.
The best way to secure your home for this year, and for those to come, is to take action now. Performing passive protection—before the storm hits—will help you protect both your family and your home.
What Is Passive Protection?
Passive protection is an important proactive strategy when preparing for hurricane season. People who have done passive protection for their homes will need to take little, if any, immediate action as a storm approaches. This includes performing “home hardening.” These precautionary measures include:
- Retrofitting your roof for enhanced strength and protection.
- Installing impact-resistant windows and doors.
- Inspecting windows and doors for any cracks—if any are found, having them sealed, repaired, or replaced.
- Investing in a wind-rated garage door (and securing it before the storm arrives).
- Protecting and securing your HVAC system.
- Closing all doors on your property.
- Doing a tree audit by removing dead branches or other hazards; having an arborist evaluate if necessary.
- Clearing gutters and outdoor drains; ensuring drains are pointed away from the house to divert rainwater.
- Having a professional inspect your home to learn if they have any additional recommendations.
Planning for disaster before it happens eliminates several of the major stresses associated with storms that bring hurricane-strength winds. It also better ensures the safety of people and property.
Windows Are a Vulnerable Area of the Home
Featuring our PGT WinGuard® Vinyl Casement Window CA5540
Investing in your home to integrate strong measures to protect it from hurricanes and tropical storms is a smart strategy. You’ll want to focus on storm protection for your home during the off-season. Hurricane doors and hurricane windows help fill this need and keep your family safe from flying debris in the event of a storm.
Related: Replacement Window Guide
Windows are one of the most vulnerable areas of a home when it comes to storm damage. Hurricane-resistant windows not only protect against breakage when hit by high-powered winds, but also prevent water intrusion. Most importantly, these carefully engineered windows ensure your family isn’t injured by shards of flying glass or debris crashing through windows.
Value of Hurricane Impact Windows over Shutters
Many people struggle to install hurricane shutters and nail up plywood as a storm arrives. While these protective measures are better than no protection at all, the best preventative for storm protection for windows is to install impact windows. Once they are installed, you can feel more secure as an imminent storm approaches.
Hurricane Impact-Resistant Windows
Impact-resistant windows simplify the storm readiness process. This investment also eliminates stress and offers extra tangible benefits as well.
- Once installed, you’re set, no additional storm preparation for your windows is necessary.
- Keeps your loved ones safe from dangerous glass shards.
- With no exit routes blocked, potential fire safety hazards are eliminated.
- Lower energy bills due to the transfer of heat and cold being reduced.
- Safeguard a home’s interior and its contents from harmful UV damage.
- Reduction of exterior noise.
- Additional protection from potential intruders.
- Potential discounts on home insurance for further savings.
- Doesn’t negatively impact a home’s appearance, since most people can’t tell the difference between impact windows and traditional glass ones.
- Increases the resale value of your home.
Shutters do provide a level of protection. However, they also come with some drawbacks.
- Installation requires work before each storm.
- They add extra stress because many shutters need to be installed and removed between storms.
- Many shutters types require separate storage, which is cumbersome and takes up space.
- Requires physical labor and, if unable to do it yourself, means you pay someone else to do it (and also risk limited availability of help as demand for these services surges when a storm is imminent).
- Many homeowners’ associations do not permit shutters to be left up long-term if you are away from your home.
- Permanently installed shutters impact the home’s appearance (and are not always the most attractive).
- Blocks out daylight when in use.
- Depending on the shutter type, they could block exit routes in an emergency situation.
Additionally, shutters wear out over time, and plywood barriers typically need frequent replacing. With hurricane impact-resistant windows, you make an investment that can last decades. You also give yourself solid hurricane window protection. Year after year.
Outdated windows and doors not rated for hurricane resistance can lead to severe injury or damage to your home. However, securing your home significantly reduces the risks. Making investments, such as impact windows, will also go a long way towards preventing the worst from happening.