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Survey: Most homeowners affected by Sandy not updating windows

Posted On Wed, May 29, 2013

The Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins on June 1, and even though 2012 was a relatively tame year for these types of disaster, Superstorm Sandy proved to be extremely devastating for homeowners in the tri-state area in particular.

Yet despite the damage that many people witnessed in the storm's aftermath, a new poll indicates that these same individuals have no intention of updating their current windows.

According to a new poll which was conducted by Harris Interactive, more than nine in 10 homeowners who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy say that they don't plan on installing storm shutters to reinforce the windows that they have in place this year.

John Smith, who presides over a nationally recognized window protection manufacturer, pointed out that many people don't take this preventive measure because of preconceived notions, some of which are accurate.

"The primary reason that homeowners do not buy hurricane window protection is that most products are difficult to use," said Smith. "Most homeowners use heavy plywood or corrugated metal hurricane panels, which take many hours to re-install."

Windows can be one of the most vulnerable areas of a home due to the impact of gale-force winds during a hurricane. They can also result in injury should the panes shatter.

How to know when windows need to be replaced
In addition to installing a storm shutters, there are ways of determining when it's time for windows to be replaced. These projects may result in lower home insurance rates when the adjustor assesses a home's insured value.

Perhaps the most basic way to know when windows need to be switched out for new ones is if those currently in place aren't performing, such as if it becomes difficult to open or close them. In addition, if a substantial amount of air is leaking in from the windows - even when they are closed - this is also a sign that a replacement is warranted. Condensation between glass panes and windows that are painted shut are tell-tale signs as well.

Another indication is if keeping a window in the open position requires extra effort. For example, if a window always shuts and only remains open if it's propped up with a yardstick or a nail, a full-frame replacement may be in order.

When the elements creep into the interior of the home, this is an additional indication of home improvement work being in order. During the cold weather season, the cold temperatures may cause frost and ice to build up on the windows. But if it forms between the panes of glass or can be felt on the interior, this suggests that the windows' insulation has degraded past a point of a no return.

In addition to the weather, windows should effectively block out intrusive sounds that emanate from outside. If traffic or wind gusts seem to be louder than they have in the past, replacing windows with ones that have better sound reduction features may be in order.

Something else to take into account when examining the effectiveness of windows is whether it's appropriately caulked. Window replacement experts say that this can be determined by standing outside of a window and shining a flashlight around the framing. If someone on the inside can see the light from the flashlight shining through the cracks, the seal may have failed or the caulking may have eroded, making replacement something that should be considered.

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