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If you live in an area that is prone to hurricane activity, then you should make sure that your home is properly protected from extreme weather conditions. Impact windows can provide the protection without the need for shutters or other coverings. These windows feature two layers of glass with a layer of polyvinyl butaryl in between. The glass may shatter if an extremely large object hits the window, but the pane will stay in place. This helps to retain the structural integrity of your home. If you want to schedule a window installation with your local contractor, then consider the following things before you purchase your windows.
Choose Tempered Glass
Impact windows feature two panes of glass and these panes along with the membrane in between provide window strength. The two glass panes may be made out of either annealed or tempered glass. Tempered glass windows are often more expensive than annealed varieties, but they are much stronger. Tempered glass is cooled quickly during the manufacturing process and this creates greater compression across the surface of the glass. The compression creates greater volume and the glass then becomes at least four times stronger than annealed glass.
Ask your contractor if tempered glass varieties are an option for your home. The added strength is extremely important in making sure that your roof does not collapse in the event that hurricane winds are forced against your house. These winds can create extreme pressure changes in your home if they find their way into small window cracks and this causes the roof to be pulled inward.
Consider the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient
If you decide to invest in new windows, then you want the installations to save you on energy costs in the long run. This is best to offset the cost of the windows, and impact windows are generally expensive. Many people look at the u-factor associated with the windows they buy. The u-factor indicates how well heat is retained in the home. A low u-factor means that the windows insulate your house well.
If you live in a hurricane prone area, then heat retention is likely not a concern of yours. The amount of heat that flows through the windows into your home should be considered instead, because the heat can increase your air conditioning bills during the spring and summer months. The solar heat gain coefficient is the rating you should look at instead and a low rating is best.
Impact windows often come with tints or glazes and these coverings can greatly reduce the solar heat gain coefficient. Consider choosing a bronze or gray tint to reduce the amount of heat that enters your home.
When you work with a contractor to have impact window installed in your home, you need to make sure that the windows you choose are certified. Certifications are necessary before a window can be called impact resistance and the certification is provided only if the windows passes a series of tests. Missile tests are completed on windows to determine if they are impact resistant.
Both large and small missile tests may be completed before a window can become impact certified. A large missile test involves the firing of a big piece of lumber from a cannon. If the window stays intact after the fast moving object hits the glass, then the test is passed. During a small missile test, small pieces of gravel are forced against the window. Check certifications to see if both of these tests have been completed on the windows you intend on buying. If they have, then the glass will remain strong against all types of flying debris.
If your home is located in a hurricane area, then it is best to protect your house from potential damage. Impact windows can help with the protection, but you should make sure you purchase the right varieties before you ask a contractor to install them.