Impact windows, also known as hurricane windows, are impact resistant windows. They usually combine laminated glass, heavy duty glass and a special silicone glazing process. Designed to keep the glass from breaking away from the frame. After much research, it has been discovered that keeping the exterior envelope of the window during a storm is fundamental. This way, there are greater chances of keeping the roof in place.
These windows have become prevalent over the past 25 years, especially in the Fort Lauderdale area. After hurricane Andrew, municipalities in the Miame-Dade county in South Florida started to look for stronger window systems. Much research was done, and finally, the adopted laminated glass, which was used mostly in the automobile industry.
Laminated glass consists of two panes of glass bonded together by a sort of interlayer. This interlayer is made of polyvinylbutyral. Although, the glass may break due to a strong impact, the polyvinylbutyral keeps the window intact. Holding the glass together, preventing damage to your home that could be caused by any storm or strong winds.
How can impact windows reduce energy costs?
These types of windows are not only ideal for areas prone to hurricanes. They can protect your home from strong windows and storms, as well as from burglars, and reduce your energy costs. By reflecting the outside’s heat and regulating your home’s temperature, your energy bills will decrease.
Additionally, having impact windows and doors in your home could qualify you for an Energy Star rating for tax credits. Energy Star qualified windows may have two or more panes of glass, and warm-edge spacers between the window panes. As well as improved framing materials and Low-E coatings.
These are microscopically thin coatings that help keep heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer. This will all result in less carbon dioxide emission, caused by the generation of electric power. Thus, your environmental impact is reduced, and it is also translated into a reduced energy bill.
How much money will you save with impact windows?
If you are trying to save money, then it merely depends on how energy efficient your complete window systems are. Energy efficiency is measured using two ratings:
- U-factor. It measures the rate of heat transfer and tells you how well the window insulates. In the winter heat will flow from the inside of the window to the outside and in the opposite direction in the summer. The lower the U-factor, the better the window insulates.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). It measures the fraction of solar energy transmitted and tells you how effectively the window blocks heat from the sun. The lower the SHGC, the less solar heat the window transmits.
The lower these ratings are the more effective your windows are. It is important to research your windows’ provider before making the choice to replace your standard windows with impact windows. Some homeowners even go as far as adding tints or Low-E coatings to reduce even more the energy cost.
There are plenty more benefits to these windows, that go beyond being resistant. Energy efficiency is one of them. Also, reducing noise and UV rays entering your home. Window ratings also have an effect on the efficiency of your windows and doors. Which is why it is necessary to do your research before making the choice of replacing your old windows for resistant hurricane windows.
Should you replace standard windows for impact windows?
Energy efficient windows are an important element to take into account. Both in a new home or an existing one. Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use. Whether you are building your new home, or renovating an old house. You must choose the best energy efficient windows that fit your budget.
If you made the decision to replace your standard windows with impact windows, there are some things you should know. First, it is best if a professional makes the installation. Second, there is a series of steps to follow in order to install them. It can be quite tricky to install them, but here’s a quick guide.
- Typically impact windows do not need special installment, two people should be able to do it. However, it is recommended to have an expert in the matter either help you, or perform the installation themselves.
- Remove the standard windows. Separate the existing windows from their frame and place it in a safe spot.
- You should dry-fit the already assembled impact window into the opening of the frame. Dry fitting can ensure you measure properly before you apply any sealer.
- Apply sealant. After dry fitting the windows, remove the unit and apply and approved sealant to the outside perimeter of the opening.
- Nail it down. After applying the sealant, you must, very carefully, put the window in place and nail it into the frame.
- Extra hold. If you want to guarantee that no air pressure damages your windows and endangers your home, apply approved silicone caulking. This should be applied on the edges of the frame.
Impact windows maintenance
Maintaining impact windows is a simple task. It all starts with the products you use to clean them. They can simply be cleaned with water but this method often leaves streaks once they dry. Hard water, is also not so great to clean, since the minerals in it are what leave the streaks behind. Distilled water has had all impurities removed, which makes it better for cleaning the windows.
Using a combination of 50% distilled water and 50% vinegar is also a great option. Vinegar is great for cleaning pretty much anything. It leaves no streaks behind on the glass after cleaning. Paper towels leave lint traces on the glass. Use a micro-fiber cloth, or even newspapers, they are very absorbent and remove dust and dirt. Keeping your impact windows clean guarantees their longevity, which ensures the safety of your home.