While hurricane season has passed, the fear of an exceptionally strong storm always looms in the back of the minds of South Floridians. It’s been over a quarter of a century since Hurricane Andrew decimated our communities, but the memories of that storm, as well as the damage wrought in the panhandle by Hurricane Michael, underscore the dangers of such storms. Here’s what you need to know about storms like Hurricane Michael and impact windows: can they survive the force of a Category 5?
Impact windows are highly sophisticated and rigorously tested weapons in the defense of your home. In fact, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has extremely strict guidelines for hurricane windows before they can even be certified as impact resistant. As impact windows are highly regulated, the installation of them requires a qualified professional and a permit from your local municipality.
Impact Testing in Miami-Dade and Broward
While obtaining a building permit before installing impact windows may seem like a nuisance, they serve a vital role. As the applicant is required to provide information about what is to be installed, who manufactured it, product approval numbers and other relevant materials, the local building department can confirm that the windows meet the diligent safety standards enforced.
Large-Missile Debris Test
If your windows are 30 feet or less above ground level, Broward and Miami-Dade counties require that impact windows can pass a large-missile debris test. To pass the test, a window must be able to withstand a nine-pound, 2×4 lumber missile traveling at 34 mph, followed by passing wind testing for 9,000 cycles, all while leaving only a small hole in the glass.
Small-Missile Debris Test
If your windows are 30 feet or more above ground level, they are required to complete small-missile debris testing. To pass this testing, the windows must be able to withstand impacts from 10 ball bearings traveling at 50 mph. The product is then subjected to wind loads for 9,000 cycles.
Impact Window Performance in the Real World
What does all this mean in the real world? Put simply, it’s difficult to say. According to Peter Dyga, president of the East Coast chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), “Windows are impact-resistant, not impact-proof. The strongest building code in the world is not going to totally protect us from a natural power, a category 5 hurricane, which is super strong,” Dyga added. “The idea is to minimize hurricane damage as much as possible.”
While impact windows are designed to handle an incredible amount of damage – up to winds of 140 mph – the exact conditions outside during a Category 5 hurricane are impossible to predict. What is possible to forecast, however, is that impact-resistant windows are your home’s best chance for protection from the onslaught of a Category 5 storm like Hurricane Michael.
Hurricane Season is Gone, But the Savings from Impact Windows Last Year-Round!
If you are looking to install impact windows to protect your home this hurricane season, we’re here to help. At ASP Windows and Doors, we want you to be worry free when the next storm’s coming. We have an unmatched selection of the best impact windows, doors and security glass to ensure your home is not only safe but energy efficient. Fully licensed, insured, and Ygrene certified, we offer no down payment and 100 percent financing until December 2018 on new impact windows and installation. We’re local and family-owned, so we know what it means to live in Florida – during and after hurricane season. If you’re looking to replace your old windows, contact us today at (888) 782-8342 for a free in-home estimate on our extensive range of fully customizable windows, doors, and glass. Let us take the stress off when it comes to storm planning and reducing your energy costs!