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Taming Outside Sounds During a Storm

13 Aug

Sounds from any severe weather event, be it a hurricane, tropical storm, tornado, mirco-burst or torrential downpour, have a tendency to create a certain amount of anxiety in children, pets and even some grown adults. Although we are visual creatures by nature, it is the sound that accompanies our visual input that solidifies events in our minds. The relationship of lightning and thunder are a great example. If there was no thunder, lightning would just be a pretty flash of light in the sky.
No one knows this better than Hollywood. As a test, find the scariest movie that you have ever seen and watch it with the sound turned off. You will find that even the most horrifying scenes have become quite subtle. As even more proof, take a look at your pets as they sleep right through it. Conversely, as you increase the sound during that same movie, the effects of the louder sounds intensify the angst created within the audience. Louder sounds also stir your pets and even if they might not show interest, you will see their ears moving as sound levels increase. As soon as you make a move, they will snap to their feet in anticipation. They can sense the additional tension in the room.
Sound: The point here is that sound stimuli have effects on everyone during a weather event and the more you can do to reduce each stimulus the calmer everyone will be able to remain. Wind gusts buffeting against deployed shutters, high winds whistling between lapped panels, the clang of hailstones and pelting raindrops all create noises that can amplify the perception of a severe weather event. If you’ve never been through a tropical storm or hurricane, describing the noises to you is impossible. The effect that it has on children and pets is heart-wrenching and there is a certain helplessness that adults feel when their efforts to ease the anxiety and fear are futile.
The encounter: I came to Florida in 1976 and I can remember my 1st tropical storm. The winds and torrential rains scared my cat so bad that she hid for 3 days. Our special needs boy of 6 was just plain scared. There were just 3 of us in the house and we had to holler to each other just to converse. Neither my wife nor I were from Florida so we had no idea what to expect and we learned a lot about storm noise from our first tropical storm encounter.
Increased noises: Take for example hailstones or even large raindrops…..when they hit a metal panel the sound is increased. When they hit glass, the sound is somewhat less.
There are also cracks and joints in, or around, most types of shutters. Corrugated metal and plastic panels have overlapping joints. Unless these laps are sealed tight in some manner when the wind blows through these overlaps they can whistle. It’s like holding 2 pieces of paper together and blowing at the edges. When you blow just right they can make a pretty annoying sound.
Metal roll-downs and accordions have small cracks that are formed at the joints to form hinges. The small slits that result can whistle during high winds or emit an eerie sound effect, as well. Screen type hurricane systems also cause whistling. Bahama shutters have fixed louvers with gaps and colonial shutters have fixed gaps between themselves and the wall that aren’t (or can’t be) filled or covered and they can also create a howling sound.
Fabrics and straps make a flapping sound. Have you ever heard a tractor trailer on the interstate that has straps making that “buzzing” sound as it goes by? The same thing can occur when high winds blow between the fabric and the overlap of the wall.
The remedy: Even the most meticulous installation of your typical storm shutters won’t eliminate the cracks and open passages that create storm noises. It’s simply something that you will have to be prepared to endure during high winds. But there’s a better solution………
Installing Evolution Hurricane Shutters over your window does 2 things to improve the sounds during a tropical storm experience.
First, it lowers the amount of sound that comes through your windows. The air that is trapped between the shutter and your window becomes insulation that will deaden any outdoor noises including those of a storm. Second, because the crystal clear panels are made from space age polycarbonate they don’t create additional noise or amplify storm noises. Polycarbonate is less dense than glass or metal and is, therefore, a better insulator and doesn’t transmit sound as well. So no matter what hits them on the outside, the noise transmitted to the inside is noticeably decreased, not amplified.
Although they aren’t airtight their patented design doesn’t have and any slits, cracks, laps or gaps for wind blow through and create noise. A properly installed Evolution shutter has a weather-strip cushion on the back and sometimes additional caulking to prevent winds from getting behind it enough to create noises. The results are calmer people and pets and because they are clear as glass, there’s no guesswork involved about what is happening outside and there’s no groping around in the dark during the day when the power goes out.
Simply stated, Evolution Hurricane Shutters are the most effective form of hurricane protection you can put on your home, business or church. They help to lessen the anxiety that is created inside your building due to storm associated sounds during a tropical wind event. It’s just one more reason why we say that Evolution Hurricane Shutters are “The rEvolution in Hurricane Protection.”

Evolution Hurricane Shutters, LLC

“The rEvolution in Hurricane Protection.”

Stop by http://www.evolutionhurricaneshutters.com and see why it’s called “The hurricane shutter that doesn’t look like hurricane shutter.”

Common Myths About Hurricane Impact Windows

1 Mar

If you’ve been put into the position to look for hurricane protection for your home, office, church or any other building, more than likely you’ve been exposed to the following statements by either printed media or direct conversations:

“The building code says that you must replace your current windows with impact rated units.”
“Hurricane impact windows are the best form of hurricane protection.”
“Impact windows are hurricane proof.”
“New energy efficient impact windows will pay for themselves through monthly energy savings.”
“Impact windows won’t shatter.”
“Hurricane impact windows will withstand (or survive) a hurricane.”
“You no longer need your old hurricane shutters so you can sell them to offset the cost of your new windows.”
“Hurricane impact windows will increase the value of your home.”

Let me share with you some insight into these myths and the facts associated with them.

“The building code says that you must replace your current windows with impact rated units.”

This is the most persuasive statement that the window salesperson will lead with – even though it isn’t true. He/she is trying to test you to see how much you really know about the codes. The truth is NO ONE must change/replace their home’s windows with impact windows. The building code only states that your window openings must be protected with a tested and approved hurricane product. Hurricane impact windows are merely one of MANY OPTIONS that you have available to accomplish this. Storm panels, fabrics, screens, netting, translucent panels, Bahama shutters, accordion shutters, roll-down shutters and crystal clear panels will all be building code compliant as long as they have hurricane approval.

“Hurricane impact windows are the best form of hurricane protection available.”

This myth may very well be the opinion of the window salesperson, but it is hardly factual. What criteria determines “the best”? How can these windows be the “best form of hurricane protection” when they break and have to be replaced at a cost that is 2 or 3 times (or more) the cost of regular windows? I’m no Rhodes Scholar, but even I know that spending $1200.00 for a new window and then replacing it with another new one after the first one breaks is going to be a total of $2400.00. A regular window that costs $400.00 plus a quality hurricane shutter that might cost $600.00 only adds up to $1000.00 and the window isn’t going to get broken during the storm. There’s lots of wiggle room to buy an even more expensive window, too. Even if you spent $1000.00 on a window, the combined cost of window and shutter is still cheaper than buying a hurricane impact window twice! Enough said!

“Impact windows are hurricane proof.”

I don’t even know where to begin with this myth. First of all, short of buying bullet resistant glass, there’s no such thing as a “hurricane proof” window available to homeowners – period! Every single window that is manufactured by the top 10 U.S. window companies, will break when subjected to the large missile impact test for hurricane approval. Even a gently swung hammer, a thrown brick or even a tiny center-punch will break them, so “hurricane proof” isn’t even close to the truth. Youtube videos are a great way to see the truth in real life. Every single one that I have watched has the same ugly ending – a totally destroyed window with a big mess to clean up.

“New energy efficient impact windows will pay for themselves through monthly energy savings.”

It seems that the only folks who believe this myth are the window manufacturers, themselves. Every independent group that does testing agrees that in order for energy efficient pvc framed impact windows to pay for the cost difference between themselves and a regular window will take a minimum of 40 years! That’s not a lifetime for you or me, but it does happen to exceed the lifetime of the windows. He average life of pvc framed windows in Florida’s climate is 25-30 years. And even if it were 40 years, that means that as soon as a window has paid for itself, it’s time for a new one. Sounds almost like buying a new car, doesn’t it?

“Impact windows won’t shatter.”

shatter – definition

Dictionary.com – to break (something) into pieces, as by a blow.
Merriam-Webster.com – a: to break at once into pieces b: to damage badly: ruin

The Free Dictionary.com – To cause to break or burst suddenly into pieces, as with a violent blow.Dictionary.cambridge.org – to break suddenly or cause something to break suddenly into small pieces:
And finally…..
oxforddictionaries.com – Break or cause to break suddenly and violently into pieces

The next time that you visit Youtube, search and watch “hurricane impact window test” and you’ll see that every impact window that gets tested absolutely shatters into thousands of pieces that fly everywhere!! You’ll also see some windows with aftermarket, applied security films – they also allow the window to break but actually do a better job of holding the glass together than most of the impact windows tested. Window people misuse the phrase “won’t shatter” and I wish that I knew why these people want to expose the public to this risk. The laminated glass shatters and in the event of a small impact episode the broken shards stick to the inner liner. But in the event of a violent impact, glass shards from the laminated glass will go flying into the room and can injure anyone insidet. Putting window film on the inside of your impact windows would make them safer, but most window companies will not warranty your windows if you apply window film to them.

“Hurricane impact windows will withstand a hurricane.”

I don’t know what dictionary the folks who use this phrase are reading. I think of the word “withstand” to mean “to endure without breaking”. I use pretty much the same definition for the word “survive”. I guess the “window people” have their own set of definitions for these 2 words because according to the dictionary their definitions are as follows:

survive – definition

1. to remain alive after the death of someone, the cessation of something, or the occurrence of some event; continue to live

2. to remain and continue in existence or use

3. to get along or remain happy, healthy and unaffected in spite of some occurrence.

NEXT

1. to remain alive; to continue to live

2. to continue to exist

3. to remain alive after the death of (someone)

FINALLY:

1. to remain alive or in existence

2. to carry on despite hardship or trauma; persevere

3. to remain functional or usable

 

withstand – definition

1. to stand up against; to oppose with determination; to resist successfully

NEXT:

1. to stand or hold out against, resist or oppose, especially successfully

2. to stand in opposition; resist

NEXT:

1. to resist or confront with resistance

2. to stand up or offer resistance to someone or something

FINALLY:

1. to be strong enough not to be harmed or destroyed by something

2. to be able to deal with a difficult situation

I guess that the window people have their own set of definitions because, to me, if a window survives or withstands a hurricane, it should still be in place and functioning as a window – still keeping the wind and rain out, still clear and able to be seen through. These words certainly don’t apply to an impact window after it has been subjected to a 2 x 4 traveling at only 34 mph. What the window people want the words to mean are that it will still be in the window frame and laying on the floor. It won’t be water or wind resistant but it will still keep the room from being pressurized by high winds and that’s about it. This doesn’t sound like “surviving” or “withstanding” to me – does it to you?

 “You can sell your old shutters to help pay for your new impact windows.”

PLEASE don’t make this mistake! If you want to protect the money that you have plunked down on your new windows, keep your old shutters! Throwing them away or selling them is like getting rid of a raincoat because you bought a new jacket. You still need the impact protection of shutters to protect your hurricane window investment just like you still need the raincoat to protect your new jacket!!

As soon as your windows sustain a hit from a large missile impact, albeit during a storm or from some other source, your window will have to be replaced. Check with your insurance company to find out the terms of your policy. Most insurance companies won’t pay for the total cost of impact window replacement. They only cover the cost of a standard window replacement, but for the ones that do cover the cost, many of them will only do so once and then you will be required to shutter them for the next time.

“New impact windows will increase the value of your home.”

This statement is only partially false. A savvy home buyer already knows the disadvantages of having impact windows in their home and will use it against you during negotiations – especially if the windows are more than a few years old. They know that the cost of replacement is high and that they will have to invest in shutters to protect the expensive windows. They also know that impact windows are plagued with problems like broken internal springs, foggy panes and that the pvc frames can warp and get brittle with age. These are all signs of low-budget window improvements used by “flippers” and not conscientious homeowners who are attempting to improve their home. Aluminum framed, powder coated, non-impact windows with high quality shutters are sure signs that the homeowner did his/her homework on the correct way to outfit a home with windows aimed at maximum protection, long life and low maintenance.

The bottom line

Your best approach to keep from getting sucked into a poor choice of hurricane protection is to become an educated consumer who doesn’t rely on only what you are told by those whose interests are served by the window industry. It’s their job to sell more windows and they push the limits any way that they can to accomplish that end. It’s up to you to protect your family, home and property the best way that you know how. Knowledge is power so don’t be afraid to acquire it when it comes to protecting the things that you cherish.

One solution

If  you’ve decided to get new windows, do your research, ask questions and read the window literature carefully. If you see phrases like “hurricane proof”, shatterproof”, “unbreakable” or “withstands/survives hurricanes” BE CAREFUL. These statements are all false when they are referencing any glass window – impact rated or standard – because there is no such thing. These words are intended to convince you that hurricane impact windows take away all of the worries about broken windows as a result of hurricanes and hurricane debris.

If you already have impact windows, you may want to consider protecting them and extending their life to protect your investment.

Either one of these scenarios will make you a good candidate for the crystal clear protection of Evolution Hurricane Shutters. You get superior strength, energy savings and clear-as-glass views. Visit our website at http://www.evolutionhurricaneshutters.com for information and videos about our unique product.

 

What To Do With Your Old Hurricane Shutters

7 Oct

You just purchased new hurricane impact windows and want to know what to do with your old shutters? KEEP THEM!! The phrase “hurricane impact rated” is not synonymous with the word “unbreakable”. Your window salesman would love to see you get rid of those old shutters so that you will be forced to buy another new window when the ones that you just bought, end up broken.

In 1980 I was introduced to glass and I worked in a glass tempering factory where I learned an old saying that goes “If it’s made from glass, it’s gonna’ break.” That adage is as true today as it was nearly 35 years ago.

Protective layer.

Every week I see dozens of ads on Craig’s List and in newspapers with hurricane shutters for sale. I hope that these ads aren’t from recent impact window purchasers who have been duped into thinking that the shutters are no longer needed. Please remember this – when you get rid of your old hurricane shutters you’re losing the only protective layer that stands between you and an expensive, messy and inconvenient broken window replacement.

Video proof. 

Here is an example of WHAT WILL protect your windows from storm debris, smash & grab theft attempts, lawn maintenance accidents and vandalism – without breaking:

Go to any online video site like Youtube and search for “impact window test” and see what happens to any new impact window when it is subjected to a large missile impact, hammer blow or flying brick.  Your new hurricane windows might not let in the damaging hurricane winds after they are broken, but they will most definitely be destroyed and require replacing…….and at a significant expense.

Any salesperson that tells you that they have “hurricane proof” or “impact proof” windows that will survive a large missile impact is just plain lying to you to make a sale. There is no such product available for your home from any of the major window manufacturers.

The sales pitch.

As you have seen from the above video, impact windows will neither withstand nor survive a large missile impact. When your impact-rated windows suffer a concentrated impact the result will always be window replacement. Most impact window salespeople rely on the concept that using the term “withstand” or “survive” will sufficiently define the capability of impact windows with regards to hurricanes. In actuality, impact rated windows are a “sacrificial” form of protection that are designed to break but not allow the broken glass to blow out of the frames after the glass is broken. Salespeople try to gloss over the fact that the windows break and they also don’t demonstrate just how easily this happens. A simple center-punch, hammer, glass cutter or rock will work nicely and take little effort to quickly drain your wallet of a thousand dollars or so per broken window.

This video shows just how easy an impact window will break and how they can be protected:

 

Where impact windows work.

Don’t get me wrong…..impact windows work great in many instances. As long as they aren’t vulnerable to flying storm debris, theft attempts and vandalism they work rather well. If your home doesn’t have any tall trees nearby, the upper floors of your building are a good place to consider using impact windows without shutters. As long as it is a quality unit that won’t leak during a tropical storm event, they might be the thing to use. Be careful, though…….many sliding units will leak during hurricane conditions.

Replacement cost vs. insurance

If you aren’t concerned about the cost of replacing a broken window because you have insurance, call your agent and make sure about the limits of your policy. Many homeowners’ policies have a deductible that must be satisfied before any costs get covered by your insurance.

For example; if you have a $2000.00 deductible on your insurance and your replacement impact window cost is $1800.00, all of the expense comes out of your pocket. Compare that to  a regular window that costs only $200.00……….which one would you rather pay for? If you had  hurricane shutters installed, your cost might be less than $100 for the shutter repair.

What to avoid.

Steer clear of windows of any kind that have frames, exterior parts or hardware produced of plastic. Sunlight and exposure to the elements are the 2 big enemies of plastics. They degrade the plastics’ physical strength and dry out the polymer which makes these parts brittle. This is the main reason that PVC windows have the shortest life expectancy (20-25 years) when compared to painted aluminum or solid wood construction. Stay away from plastic windows if you intend on keeping your home for a lifetime. The energy efficiency of plastic windows vs. aluminum is far outweighed by the extended life cycle of aluminum. After spending 30+ years in the fields of plastic and aluminum, I know from where I speak.

Wood windows require the most maintenance but they offer the best overall performance. But remember, no matter which windows you install on the ground floor plan on outfitting them with shutters if you want to protect your investment, reduce maintenance and increase window life.

Also beware of “no” or “low maintenance” claims. Most warranties only offer no maintenance during the 1st year after installation. After that the homeowner is responsible for annual caulking of the exterior window joints and seams to keep the warranty valid. Read the warranty closely. Most warranties are pro-rated so the older that your windows are, the less they are worth towards replacement windows when they require any warranty replacement or repair work.

Demand the facts.

Make sure that the sales contract that you are about to sign has everything in writing that you and the salesperson discussed. Any handwritten notes in the margins are also valid and try to avoid using additional pieces of paper that might get detached or misplaced. Assume nothing except the old Latin phrase “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware).

Lastly, don’t forget that you have 3 days to change your mind and rescind any deal made in your home – and applies to any sale, not just home improvements. Good luck.

Evolution Hurricane Shutters

“The rEvolution in Hurricane Protection”

 

 

Energy Saving Hurricane Shutters

28 Aug

Sunlight creates heat

I know….quite the Earth-shattering statement, right? But there’s nothing like pointing out the obvious. Almost any type of hurricane shutter will save some energy if in no other way but by blocking sunlight, creating shade and thereby blocking the sun’s rays from hitting objects within your home that create heat. The problem is, the energy is only saved when the shutter is deployed. Roll-downs, accordions, corrugated metal panels, colonials, fabric panels, screens and Bahamas all block out a certain amount of sunlight and shade the window when they are deployed. But when they’re deployed, they block, and sometimes totally eliminate, the view completely. The other catch is that they only make shade during the daytime when the sun is shining. Your windows still lose and gain heat all night long.

Temperature differential

There are other forces of energy that bring heat into your home. One way to demonstrate this is at nighttime when there are no sun rays. Here are 2 scenarios to entertain…..a hot August night or a cold January one. Simply place your hand on the window and what do you feel? If it’s August and the A/C is keeping your home at a comfortable 72 degrees and it’s still 80 degrees outside, you’re going to feel warm glass. If it’s in the dead of winter and it’s 20 degrees outside and your heating system is keeping it a toasty 76 degrees inside, the window is going to feel cold. Pretty simple stuff, right? It’s known as temperature differential. But there’s more to it than that……and I’m kind of getting off topic here, but bear with me. It all comes around full circle in the end.

The window war

The warmer air on the inside of the glass seeks out the cold of the outside of the glass while the cold on the outside is seeking the warm of the inside. Depending upon which force is stronger determines if the outside of the glass is warmed by the inside or if the inside of the glass is cooled by the outside. It’s a kind of “window war”. Whichever side has more “push” wins the battle. What determines the “push”? The push is greatly influenced by the circulating air on each side of the window. On the inside, there is calm circulation – a ceiling fan, movements of people or pets and the circulation created by your heating or cooling systems. On the outside?? – the force of Mother Nature – the WIND.

So, which side of the window do you think has the greatest “push”? Anyone who thinks that any answer other than “Mother Nature” is the right one, has to come and sit in the front row for the rest of the class! The ceaseless power of Nature always seems to have the upper hand. That’s why your windows feel the way that they do on the hot August night or the cold January night. Mother nature is always winning. If you were to go out side the glass will feel the same as the outside temperature – another sure way to see that Mother nature is winning. We’ll revisit Mother Nature later on in this post.

The analogy that I just described isn’t precisely the way that it works in science, (because science tells us that there’s no such thing as cold – only an absence of heat) but it helps to make my point about the energy battle of window glass. One important concept to grasp at this point in the discussion is that glass is a VERY poor insulator and conducts heat and cold all too well. It also breaks and we will revisit these facts later on, also.

Peace in the window war or merely a truce?

Glass manufacturers set out to make peace between the inside and outside energies so they came up with the ingenious idea of protecting the layer of window glass with another layer of window glass and separating them with an air space. They then sealed them around the edges so that nothing could get in or out. This helped to bring the advantage of the outside force to a more equal level of the inside force because there was no longer any “wind” on the opposing sides of either layer of glass. These became known as “insulated glass units” (IGUs, for short) and the window industry latched onto the idea and made windows by the tens of thousands.

There was, however, one slight problem. The air that was sealed tightly inside would change from getting warm during the day to getting cold at night plus all of the temperature fluctuations through the 24 hours of a single day. Every time the wind blew, every time a cloud came over, every time it rained….well, you get the idea – A LOT of temperature changes in a single day. If you multiply that by just 7 days of a week, that amounts to many times more changes. These changes in temperature cause the trapped air to expand and contract and it does this with every temperature change and, over time, would eventually weaken the seals and seep out of the air space. This allows the more humid air from outside of the air space, into it and causes the IGUs to get cloudy. In an effort to try and disguise the fact that moisture was getting in, they put a powder inside the window to soak up the moisture, but it only delays the inevitable. No matter what is tried, this temperature “cycling” up and down can’t be stopped. This is the other one of Mother Nature’s forces that I referred to earlier that can’t be controlled. To this day it is universally accepted that there will always be this problem until someone perfects a way to equalize the internal IGU’s air space pressures with those outside of the air space without them mixing together. There is simply no way to stop the expansion and contraction cycling that occurs inside. No matter what brand of window that you use, if it is an IGU that uses a sealant system around the perimeter (they all do), it will never be guaranteed not to leak – most don’t make it past 8 years. Independent studies have shown that every year, a sealed IGU loses a MINIMUM of 1-2% of the air (or gas) inside and then starts replacing is with regular humid air from the atmosphere. Keep this in mind when someone tries to convince you that fancy internal gases like Argon or Krypton are the cat’s meow of IGUs. Although they don’t expand and contract as much as the air that we breath, they still do it – it’s just physics and can’t be stopped.

This entire process of making IGUs takes place in a factory where the air qualities like temperature and humidity are controlled and also to reduce the amount or dust and other foreign particles that might make their way into an IGU. These facilities do a very good job. however all of this comes at a high price and, of course, gets passed on to you and I, the consumers.

Someone please stop the madness!

Let me digress a little more, without totally digressing. You see, the same folks who thought up the idea of making IGUs (that they concede won’t last long) decided to take two pieces of glass and sandwich them around a super-tough plastic sheet that has very high tear strength. They took this “glass sandwich” and put it in a window frame, called it “impact glass” and made tens of thousands of more windows with it. Why they use the word “impact” to describe it, is beyond me, because the one thing that it ISN’T good for is impacts!! Here’s a video that shows that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp6Nl9ZBMHE . I picked this video at random – there are dozens of others that show the same thing. Do these windows look like they can stand up to impact to you? What these windows happen to do well is keeping a large missile (or projectile) traveling at 50 feet per second from penetrating completely through the window and creating a hole. If a hole were to be created, we know that wind can then enter a structure and increase the pressure inside that will allow the roof to be blown upward and possibly off of the building.

So here’s the new scenario…..They take these VERY expensive impact IGU windows (sometimes 3 to 4 times the cost of regular windows), sell them to the consumer, install them in their homes and after a storm passes, you, the homeowner, now have – you guessed it – VERY expensive BROKEN windows. I don’t know if it’s just me or what, but this approach makes absolutely NO SENSE to me. Why design something 3 to 4 times as expensive that will break so that you have to buy it again and again each time it breaks?? Am i wrong here??

An intervention of common sense

So….is there a way of reducing heat gain and loss though your windows without defying the laws of Mother Nature? Well, in fact there is…..and it has been around for a long time. It’s done by using storm windows and it’s even recognized as a proven method of reducing the amount of heat loss or gain through any window. Here’s the link to The United States Department of Energy website that discusses the topic: http://energy.gov/articles/5-steps-making-your-windows-more-energy-efficient  . There are many other sites, both government and private, that will echo this method of energy conservation as prudent.

The mission

What if there was a way to use this old tried and true method of saving energy and combine it with a hi-tech material that won’t break like glass and is a better insulator, too?? That way we wouldn’t have to put so much effort into defying the forces of physics and Mother Nature.

I’m here to tell you that there is a way to do it and it’s with a product that has been around a long time. Not as long as the idea of storm windows has been around, but as long ago as the 1950s. How about this idea ………..instead of making something that breaks, why not make something that DOESN’T BREAK??? Instead of using a cheaply produced PVC frame that will only last 20 years, why not use super strong aluminum pieces that will last 100 years? And instead of making a sealed (but leaky) IGU, why not combine these materials and use the U.S, Depart. of Energy’s proven method of making it like a storm window to save energy? What you would end up with is something without an expensive IGU (that has yet to be made 100% reliable) and without the fragile characteristic of impact glass.

Winning the battle

If this sounds like a win-win concept to you, it did to me, too, so here’s a video showing the end product in a live demonstration. There’s no glass to break because this ’50s era material is called polycarbonate – a plastic that is 200 times stronger than glass, a fraction of the weight and a much better insulator. There’s also no seals to fail and no huge, expensive, dustless or atmosphere controlled building required to assemble it.

Take a look at the video below and tell me what you think. But before you do, keep in mind that this energy saving hurricane shutter will protect ANY window – new or old, impact or non-impact in just about any shape. And because it doesn’t require a huge, expensive factory these can be sold to the public for 1/2 the cost of the expensive IGU impact windows (that break and lose their seal). It’s called by everyone who sees it “the hurricane shutter that doesn’t look like a hurricane shutter” and I think you’ll see why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGFx9jY7_NE 

So, now that you have watched the video. Are you:

  1. Surprised?
  2. Astonished?
  3. Impressed?
  4. Curious?
  5. All of the above?

If you want to know more visit:The hurricane shutter that doesn’t look like a hurricane shutter. and find out more. Maybe they’re just what you’re looking for?

Used Hurricane Protection – don’t sell those old shutters yet!

16 Jul

Don’t get rid of your old hurricane shutters just because you purchased new “hurricane proof impact windows”.

What your window salesman may have forgotten to tell you before you signed your contract is that your new windows are neither “hurricane proof” nor “impact proof”. In the window industry, “hurricane impact” is just a marketing phrase and shouldn’t be confused with the word “unbreakable” – they are 2 completely different animals. There’s an old adage that goes “if it’s made from glass, it’s gonna’ break.” and it’s as true today as it was when it was first coined.

Go to any video site like Youtube or Vimeo and search for “hurricane impact test” and see what happens to a new impact window when it gets struck. Your new windows may not let the hurricane winds into your building after they are struck by debris, but they most certainly will be broken and will need replacing.

impact02

If you aren’t concerned about the price because you have insurance that will cover the cost, please call your insurance agent or check your policy. Many times your deductible is larger than the cost of a new impact window. There are many cases where the replacement cost of a new standard impact window including installation is $1900.00. If you have a $2000.00 deductible on your policy, that means that your window replacement is “out of pocket” and is also your responsibility – not your insurance company’s.

Every week I see dozens of online ads for used hurricane shutters for sale by their owners. I hope that these are for sale because the owners have upgraded to another type of shutter and not because they have purchased impact windows.

If your window damage has occurred during a storm, the odds of getting your broken window replaced in a timely manner are not in your favor – don’t forget that everybody else will be getting theirs replaced, too. The waiting list will be long and the rush of orders to get replacement windows will have manufacturers, dealers and installers backlogged for weeks.

Just remember this……..when (or if) you ditch your hurricane shutters, you are throwing away the only thing standing between you and a very expensive broken window replacement. 

Hurricane Shutters and Crime

14 Sep

The accepted school of thought on how to protect your home and property from strong storms is to make your home into as much of a fortress as possible. Sometimes in our zeal to accomplish this goal, we don’t realize some of the negative aspects of what our storm protection provides.

The reason for this? You and I and 95% of the rest of us rarely have the inkling to think like a criminal.

Visit this link….. http://www.mysuncoast.com/news/south_newsroom/englewood-burglars-remove-hurricane-shutters-to-break-into-home/article_6fdc6ed6-f9e0-11e2-b809-0019bb30f31a.html

When you leave your Gulf Coast winter home during hurricane season, have you even considered that your hurricane protection is like a neon sign telling everyone that your home is vacant? Criminals are targeting vacant seasonal dwellings for larcenies because they know they are not going to encounter any resistance once they make entry. Gaining access via one obscure window pr door gives them free reign to roam the interior of the residence while the rest of the hurricane protection makes them nearly undetected by neighbors and passers-by – even law enforcement. This gives thieves time to pick and choose the items that they want to steal making even well hidden items easy prey. If they want, they can even replace your hurricane shutters and hide the break-in from everyone until your next visit. Depending upon your location, the thieves may even opt to make your home their “hangout” and become “squatters” while you are away.

How horrible would it be to arrive at your vacation or seasonal retreat only to find your home filthy, the furniture destroyed, everything of value; GONE and your walls, ceilings and floors spray painted with vulgar words and pictures?

The obvious solution is protection that doesn’t advertise the fact that no one is home. The more your protection blends in, the less likely that criminals will pick your home or business as a desirable target. Two major factors that criminals focus on before picking their target homes – 1.) can they get in and out unnoticed and 2.) how long can they stay inside without being noticed?

Don’t unwittingly give the criminal element of society the help that they want. Protect your home – sure – but don’t make it a playground for opportunistic, illegal criminals and drug users who are just looking for a place to exploit. Remember, they don’t feel the same way about your home as you do. They haven’t sacrificed and paid thousands of dollars to make your house a HOME. They only want to USE what you have worked hard to achieve and take whatever they can, as easily and quickly as they can. If they happen to put a hole in the wall of break a pick of furniture, they could care less.

Clear protection is your best option for seasonal absentee homeowners. Installing Evolution Hurricane Shutters for protection on your home will accomplish two things; it will NOT advertise the fact that your home is vacant. AND with the addition of timers on lights and other appliances, you can even give the appearance that someone is home, even at night because our shutters are crystal clear.

Even if thieves manage to get into your home, they’re daylight activities are limited because of the unobstructed view into your home from outside. If you have night time, drive-by security patrols in your neighborhood, a spotlight will easily allow law enforcement or security to easily see inside your home for any unauthorized activity.

Don’t play into the hands of criminals that want to exploit your hard word and terrorize your family and neighborhood. Call your local hurricane protection specialist and find out if Evolution Hurricane Shutters should be part of your storm and security protection plan.

Colonial shutters need additional bars to stay closed during the storm.

In addition to having to be deployed, most colonial shutters require this “attractive” center reinforcing bar that goes on from the outside.

Oriented strand board - or OSB - isn't as easy to put up or take down as it looks. Plywood is stronger.

Here’s the ever-popular OSB version of hurricane protection. Judging from the height of the 3rd story, I’m guessing that if you had to hire out the installation, it wouldn’t be cheap. Now the question is….do you take it down?….store it away for next season (or storm) ….. or just leave it up? I’m pretty sure that taking it down is more than a 1 man, 1 ladder operation.

Corrugated steel shutters are hard to hide.

Steel corrugated panel and channel type shutters can be seen a mile away.

My Introduction to Polycarbonate

15 Oct

My introduction to polycarbonate began in 1981 when I started working for a plastics fabricator/thermoformer in Tampa, Fl. I had just finished working at a glass tempering plant as a custom & production glass cutter. I was 26 years old and in my physical prime – 6’1″, 230 lbs., played softball 3 times a week and was quite fit from carrying large sheets of heavy gauge glass in different phases of the glass tempering process.

I was hired at the plastics company as a “production laborer” which basically meant that I was given tasks of a simple, repetitive nature that required little skill or knowledge. My first day on the job was mostly one of orientation. I was given a quick tour and all of the equipment was briefly described to me as to how it operates and it’s function. I was then taken into the warehouse and shown a 55 gallon drum sitting on a furniture dolly. The fabrication manager (who hired me) came out of the employee entrance of the office and directed me to a huge rack of probably 300 pieces of plastic that ranged in size from 12″ x 18″ wide to 36″ x 96″ long. He pulled out a piece approximately 24″ x 24″ and laid it across the opening of the barrel. He informed me that all of the material in the rack was going to be scrapped and therefore it needed to be broken up and put into the barrel to be hauled off. He told me to let the shop foreman know when the barrel was full. He gave me a 2lb. mini-sledge hammer, a pair of safety glasses, turned on his heel and walked back into the office.

My knowledge of both annealed glass and tempered glass from my previous job told me that the huge hammer should have little problem cracking the plastic. The force of my swings steadily increased when the first couple of whacks didn’t  yield success and I was sure that something should be breaking soon. But after about the 5th swing of the sledge, the plastic scrap went flying about 8 feet into the air and the hammer recoiled back over my head where it had started. It was pretty clear to me that something was amiss and the incredible banging noise that I made with the hammer had drawn a crowd from the fabrication department on the other side of the wall. When I saw the huge grins and heard the muffled chuckles, I knew that I was “had”! The fabrication manager emerged from the same door that he had before, beaming with delight that he had gotten the best of me as about 20 of my brand new co-workers broke into hysterical laughter. If you haven’t figured it out by now, the plastic was polycarbonate and to this day, I will never forget my introduction to polycarbonate. I learned early on just how indestructible polycarbonate is. I would love to say that this was the only practical joke that was ever played on me, but I can’t so I suppose I have a few more stories to tell.

I learned a lot about many different plastics over the next 20 years and ended up working for 5 plastic companies as well as starting my own fabrication business making acrylic artwork and sculpture display boxes and covers. They were used in hotels, corporate offices, museums and homes. I also made everything from acrylic handbags for pricey boutiques and roadsigns for industrial parks, to acrylic windshields for fishing boats and clear underwater camera cases. I became knowledgeable not only about the different types and families of plastics but also about fabrication, thermoforming, extruding, molding, casting and machining plastics. I even worked my way up to the positions of branch manager (whoopee).

Although I haven’t worked for a plastics company for quite a few years now, I still make plastic items for my personal use at home. I also stay in contact with many of the people that I met in the “plastic years” of the past and I suppose you could say that I have plastic in my blood.

The Hurricane Shutter Business and Insurance

19 Sep

From my point of view, when it comes to hurricane protection, the proof has always been “in the pudding” and that is the basis of our product, our live demonstrations and our business. We test what we install and we stand behind it 100%. Anyone who has seen our live demonstrations (from Ocean City, Md to Naples, Fl.) knows how much we trust our product. Yes, I am certainly going to tout the benefits of Evolution Hurricane Shutters, but I will also tell you the positives of some of the others, as well and I hope that others will chime in with additional information. As I have stated before, I’m no expert. I know that the hurricane protection that we manufacture at Evolution Hurricane Shutters is not for everyone, not for every business or church and not for every application. I freely admit that and I will tell a prospective customer the same if our product isn’t going to be the best “fit” for them. Sure, if they demand it from me, I’ll sell it, but that’s not what being in business is all about for me. I’m not in favor of promoting the idea that a $3000 used park model mobile home should have $4000 of hurricane protection. But if he/she has been told by their insurance company that the structure is non-insurable and therefore feels that our product is the only one that protects their property, then I’m on board. Besides, the replacement cost of a small park model starts at about $22, 000.00. There is a corrupted saying in the marketplace that says “The customer is always right.” but the original real version says, “The customer is king.” The kings may not always be right but, nonetheless, they are still kings. How else are people going to protect their property? When the insurance company says that your home isn’t worth the risk for them to insure, the you need to take matters imnto your own hands. Anchor it down so it doesn’t blow away and do what you can to keep the windows from blowing out.

The internet is a great place to find out who has bad reports, complaints, dissatisfied customers and lawsuits. When I review a business or a product, I don’t give too much credence to a customer complaint here and there.  However, when there are so many complaints against a company and so much missing money that the courts get involved, it probably bears a closer look. With that being said let’s move on.

In my way off thinking, if you do anything in your business, you’re gonna’ make a mistake somewhere along the line. If a business owner were to tell me that he/she have NO complaints from customers, then they don’t have much of a business. If you don’t get complaints, you aren’t doing anything. I’ve worked for enough companies in my life to know that there are some people out there who are NEVER satisfied with anything. They think that everything they amass in their life should be free and unconditionally guaranteed for life. They also believe that restaurants are in business to give them free meals and auto repair shops should fix their cars at no charge. In some cases, it also seems that every problem that they experience in life is the fault of someone else. These people are out there and you probably either know at least one of them or maybe are even related to one (isn’t it horrible that we can’t pick our relatives?).

Just remember that insurance companies are out to maximize premiums and minimize losses. That’s their game and everyday they make the rules in Washington, D.C. to benefit themselves at the expense of the public. That’s about all i need to say on that topic………..

Porous vs. non-porous hurricane protection

17 Sep

As a homeowner in a hurricane prone area, it is important to know the performance differences between porous and non-porous hurricane protection. What? You never heard of such a thing? Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger – neither have most homeowners. As a matter of fact, the person selling you your current hurricane protection probably hasn’t either. Here’s the way it has been explained to me:

Porous type protections have open areas around their edges or on their surface that equal more than 5% to 10% of the area covered by the shutter. This allows air and/or water to pass through or around them. Some have as much as 50% open area (like some screens or mesh). They provide only impact protection and rely on the door or window they are protecting to resist the water penetration and air infiltration from both negative pressures (those directed away from the house) and positive pressures (those directed towards the house). So, porous systems block wind-borne debris and are usually built out far enough so that they will not deflect into the glass when impacted by the standard 9-pound 2×4 lumber missile traveling at 34 mph. However, they don’t always do the best job of reducing wind pressures or water leaks. The result is that the windows and doors behind them sometimes experience the full effect of the wind pressures and may leak about as much as an unprotected window or door.

Non-porous hurricane protection systems should be  water and air tight or very close to it. In many cases, even protection labelled as “non-porous” will still allow outside pressures to affect the window or door behind it. This is due to the fact even though the non-porous protection has less than 10% open area, it’s still more than 0% (0% being considered water resistant) If the windows behind them are not strong enough they can still be blown in, which allows wind pressures and driven rain to enter the structure.

Here are 2 examples:

This..

You have a corrugated metal or plastic panel-and-channel system over your 48″ tall x 96″ wide living room picture window. To deploy the system, the panels are tipped towards the wall, slid up into the upper channel and then are pushed back against the wall at the bottom (or window sill), and then either dropped down into the floor of the bottom channel or bolted to an angle below the window sill. This leaves a gap at the top and bottom where the corrugations come away from the building. These gaps at the top and bottom allow wind and rain to get in behind the shutter and attack the window. There are also gaps at the vertical edges of both end panels where they meet the outside wall of your living room.

When the wind blows, some of the pressures and rain are allowed attack your windows. If you were to open the inside window during the storm, you would definitely feel wind blowing on you. This is technically known as air infiltration. Any rain or water that gets past the shutters is called water penetration and you will most likely feel this, too. This is considered a porous system – it allows air pressure and wind driven rain to get at the protected window. If you have newer wind rated windows, this system will be fine for you. It will keep direct hurricane force winds and large missile wind borne debris away from your windows.

Vs. this…

You have purchased and cut a flat cellular polycarbonate twin-wall sheet to the over-sized dimensions, per the instructions, to fit over the same picture window. You have the proper support bars in place to prevent deflection during impact and your anchor holes are all lined up and you’re ready to deploy the sheet. You affix some standard foam weatherstrip (with adhesive backing) to the backside perimeter of the sheet in the oversize area. You hold the sheet into the proper position and drill and insert the anchoring hardware and tighten per instructions.

In this case, when the wind blows, there is no attack of the protected window. Theoretically, if the weatherstripping is working properly, you can open the inside window during the storm and light a candle and it won’t blow out. The weatherstrip should keep the wind and water from getting in. This is a non-porous system. If you have older, single or double strength aluminum or pvc framed windows from the ’60s, ’70’s or ’80’s, this might be a good system for you. And it lets light in so it won’t make you feel like you’re in a dungeon and will save you a bunch of battery power and candles when the power goes out. It isn’t going to be cheap, but it will be lightweight and easier to deploy come storm season. If you have large windows to cover, you could even invest in hurricane rated mullions (support bars) that are the same color as your window trim and leave them in place permanently. That will decrease your deployment time and as long as they are strategically located, won’t obstruct your view too badly and won’t be too noticeable when you look outside.

Finally, in some cases the porosity of the system is determined by the installation itself. The farther away from the face of the structure the system is mounted, the larger the gap for wind and rain to enter. Make sure that you have it in writing as to which system is being installed on your building.

Hurricane impact windows are non-porous hurricane protection, as well. Evolution Hurricane Shutters can be installed as either porous or non-porous protection. We recommend  the non-porous method because it provides the opening with the greatest protection and the greatest energy conservation and sound insulation.
The lesson here? Although non-porous protection is superior to porous protection, you may only need to have non-porous to satisfy your insurance carrier or local building code. Take a common sense approach to your hurricane protection needs. Is seasonal storm protection all that you want? Worried about vandalism? Does your yard serve as the local ball field for the rest of the neighborhood? Do you want energy savings, too? Will you always be around to deploy the protection? What conditions does your insurance company dictate? If you are only a seasonal resident, you may be required to have an “installation contract” in place with a local company to prove to your insurer that your hurricane protection will be in place in time to protect your structure from the storm. Just a reminder – read the news and realize that the insurance companies are getting tighter and tighter about what they are going to pay out. They are ticked off that hurricane protection costs them revenue but glad about reducing their risk. They don’t want to pay out any more money than they have to and their inspectors will start nit-picking your protection at the rime of the policy start and they will also be more adamant about post storm investigations to lower their settlement figure. Taking short-cuts or getting lazy about putting protection in place by the homeowner will only draw the ire of the underwriter and get you a step closer to a fraud charge.

Buying impact windows – before and after the sale

14 Sep

If you are one of the conscientious homeowners who stepped up to the plate and bought impact windows in recent years, good for you. They were the best thing available on the market – at the time. It’s a fact that impact glass windows do a superb job of protecting the envelope of a structure after impact, but you will see from any online video that in the process, the impact windows are absolutely demolished and will require the expense and mess of replacement. Go to Youtube, search for “impact glass test” or “impact window test” and see for yourself. In my opinion, these should be “required viewing” by any prospective window buyer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCHtON-BQsE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu7XTW2SHW4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EEUsxe-pbA

Ok, let’s pretend that the storm has passed. Now you not only have a huge mess of broken glass to clean up, you also have the added expense of getting the broken window part replaced. If you’re lucky and you have single or double hung windows and the impact was directed to the glass only and not the frame, you might be able to replace just the glass unit. This is another important question to ask the salesperson; “Can the glass be replaced without destroying the window?” Some brands may even replace just the broken lite. You will have to check with the manufacturer to see how this effects the warranty. The next best option is replacing the window sash unit (the glass and surrounding framework). Replacing just a sash is a little more expensive but quite a bit cheaper that getting the entire window replaced.

The bottom line is, your impact windows weren’t cheap the first time around and they won’t be cheap to replace. If you received any kind of a warranty with them, read it closely. Do a check to make sure that the model of window that you purchased still has replacement parts available. You may find out that the entire company that made your windows is no longer in business. The installer who originally put them in is not who issued the warranty, so don’t him him/her too hard of a time (unless the window failure is due to improper installation). Now might be a good time to protect your investment with the addition of Evolution Hurricane Shutters.  Weigh the cost of getting just one of your main impact windows replaced vs. the cost of an Evolution Hurricane Shutter. If you want, add in the inconvenience, safety risk and mess of a broken window…..the amount of time you are going to have to wait to get your new window (they aren’t sitting on the shelf at the big box store), scheduling the replacement by the window guy (window companies get VERY busy following a major storm) and the insurance hassles that go along with your claim. Why not just avoid ALL of that in the 1st place?

The other drawback to standard impact windows is their lack of energy efficiency. When compared to a new non-impact rated window, they do little to reduce your monthly energy consumption. There are some models available that are more energy efficient called “insulated glass units” or IGUs. These are made up of a layer of impact glass and a layer of non-impact glass that are separated by a sealed air space. Sometimes the air space is filled with an inert gas (like argon or krypton) that is supposed to prevent deterioration of any metal components or glass coatings inside and to aid in energy efficiency. If you do a little industry research on them you will find that the gas slowly leaks out and and eventually does nothing for you. After the gas has leaked out, then outside air is allowed to be drawn in. This will also make your windows start to get cloudy and allow condensation inside the air space. Another point to pay close attention to is that these windows need to be installed perfectly plumb within the opening. Any wracking or twisting of these windows at the time of installation will result in breaking the seal and your windows will cloud up, usually starting in the corners. This clouding is an indication that your windows are no longer doing the job that you paid extra bucks for them to do. Also inside this “IGU” is a moisture absorbing substance referred to as “desiccant”. This will hide the seal failure for a while, but not forever and that’s when the condensation will appear inside your IGU.

Evolution Hurricane Shutters have been designed not only to protect your expensive hurricane impact windows, but to make them more energy efficient. We guarantee that the heat loss or gain through your window areas will be reduced! This is just one more reason why we say that Evolution Hurricane Shutters are “The rEvolution in Hurricane Protection”.

Please don’t get me wrong! I’m not down on impact glass – I recommend it to almost every one of my commercial property owners. Every strip mall or shopping plaza needs to have impact glass in the entrance doors. I don’t sell them and make no recommendation on which brands to buy (maybe I should start). My goal is to get impact resistant and energy efficient Evolution Hurricane Shutters on all of the storefronts and windows while recommending energy efficient impact glass doors on the entrance(s). When the project is complete, not only will the shopkeeper be able to simply lock the front door and leave when there is a hurricane bearing down on the area but, every night at closing time he or she will be certain that the energy saving and added security of Evolution Hurricane Shutters will be working overtime.

2 story plaza in Marco island

Typical strip plaza application.