Monday, December 14, 2009

Illustrative Video about Impact Windows and Doors

For those looking for an easy explanation (with clear illustrations) of how hurricane-driven forces and wind-borne debris can significantly damage a house, the Federal Alliance for Same Homes (FLASH) organization has put together a series of great videos covering this topic. The video embedded below highlights how vulnerable window and door components are in the event of a hurricane.  With great video simulations, it shows how the building envelope can be breached if window and door openings are not properly protected against the enhanced wind pressures and wind-borne debris.

The video recommends to always use products which have been tested and approved by the following standards, evaluation reports or approval systems:

  • SSTD 12
  • ASTM E 1886
  • ASTM E 1996
  • Miami-Dade Protocols
  • TAS 201, TAS 202, TAS 203

You can find additional information about hurricane protection and impact windows at FLASH has more educational videos, in addition to a variety of written reports.

If you find this information valuable, let me know.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How to protect yourself from hurricane product fraud

With opening day of the 2009 Florida hurricane season only a month away, it’s a good time to caution consumers about false advertising and promotional scams for window films. A previous post advised that so-called “hurricane protection film” was no better than a band aid at stopping wind-borne debris from penetrating household window glass. Their intended application is actually automotive glass to help screen UV rays.

Consider this? You could go to your local auto parts store and buy a sheet of stick-on UV film. It’s as thin as a bread wrapper with paper backing to protect the adhesive. Before you buy this stuff and go to the trouble of pasting on a bedroom window, ask yourself a simple question. Would this film stop 2x4 flying at 60+ mph from breaking through the glass during a hurricane? Well, this is the same stuff that the “hurricane film professionals” would install at your home.

There is only one “approved” glass for windows and patio doors that can stop flying hurricane-driven debris. Impact-resistant laminated glass. Think of it as a glass sandwich, consisting of two panes of glass laminated together with a polymer interlayer. It is the only true hurricane-resistant glass that is laboratory tested, stamped with an approval number in accordance with current Miami-Fade or Florida building codes.

Don’t take our word for it. Contact the International Hurricane Protection Association (IHBA) at In December 2008; they announced the formation of the Consumer Safety Task Force for Hurricane Protection Products. This newly formed group works in tandem with the Florida Attorney General’s office to help protect consumers “who have been, or are being subjected to deceptive or misleading trade practices by unscrupulous hurricane profiteers”, quotes the IHBA press release.

So, what should you do if someone tells you that they can give you “approved hurricane protection” for a fraction of the cost of impact glass or hurricane shutters? Just ask these three simple questions: (1) Does the product have an approval number issued by the Miami-Dade County Building Code or the Florida Building Commission? (2) Is the contractor licensed to install the product with a permit? (3) Will your insurance company accept the product for hurricane protection?

We hope you are a better informed consumer after reading this post. You can get help from law enforcement if you like. Or, just slam the door on these guys and get in touch with a licensed window contractor.

If you have any questions or want to share additional information regarding this topic, drop us a comment below.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Energy Consumption in a Typical Home

Even though this blog focuses on impact-resistant windows and doors and hurricane protection, I could not help pointing out the data that I am about to present below.  Since energy efficiency has become such a hot topic during the last few years (and properly so), I was wondering how, that is, in what proportion a typical house or family uses energy.  Searching on the Web, I came across this data gathered by the US Department of Energy in 2007. 
  1. Space Heating  (28%)
  2. Small Electronic Devices & Motors (16%)
  3. Space Cooling (11%)
  4. Water Heating (11%)
  5. Lighting (11%)
  6. Refrigerators & Freezers (8%)
  7. TV, Cable & Computers (6%)
  8. Laundry & Dishes (5%)
  9. Cooking (3%)
  10. Furnance Fans (1%)
Unless you had given it some thought before, it is probable that you will be surprise that heating the house takes more than double the amount of energy that it takes to cool it off.  So, I hope that this bit of information might bring some perspective or insights next time you are using your HVAC unit.

Linking this information back to our main topic of impact windows and doors is not hard.  Impact windows have significantly improved insulating qualities than standard-glass (single glazed) windows and doors.

If we have some out there reading this blog, feel free to drop us a comment or share information with us about these topics.  If you need to get additional information about the data above, you can browse to the US Department of Energy.