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To Shutter or not to Shutter – Your Hurricane Plan

12 Sep

Selecting your type of hurricane protection is really not much different than selecting a new automobile. Simply pick out the one that you want and decide which place to buy it from. However, bringing home a “demo” for a couple of days or even taking a “test drive” is probably not going to be an option.

The next best thing to a test drive is seeing what friends and neighbors are using or have used. After that, viewing web site photo galleries are probably the next best thing because many types of aftermarket hurricane protection won’t be visible until a storm is imminent. If you’ve waited until a storm threatens to decide, it’s most likely too late to do anything but screw plywood or OSB (if there’s any left at the big box stores) to your windows.

Brand loyalty will probably not come into play so you will have to rely on online research, forums or the tried and true “word of mouth” info gathered from office water-cooler discussions and, of course, media advertising.  There are also a multitude of charts available with pros and cons of different shutter method. Our patented Evolution Hurricane Shutters will not be on any of those charts because it’s too new and, until now, hasn’t really been advertised. Enough about that….let’s get started on your plan. Check out these links to get a basic idea of what’s available.

http://floridabuilderresources.com/fort-myers-fl-home-hurricane-impact-windows.htm 

http://dev.lemonbayglass.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Windows-Buyers-Guide.pdf 

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/sfl-hc-shutterguide,0,4823608.htmlstory

http://www.floridadisaster.org/hrg/index.asp  

 

Establish your plan

  • First and foremost, at what point do you evacuate? Safety for you and your loved ones and pets should be 1st on the list. Consider all risks before riding out ANY storm – not just wind and rain.
  • Do you want just hurricane protection? Today’s market focus is put on versatility, multitasking and return.
  • Are you able to deploy and take down your own shutters? If you work on the road or are a seasonal resident, this item alone can get pricey.
  • Establish your budget. How much do you want to spend? Lower utility bills and insurance premiums may allow you to spend more on your hurricane shutters.
  • Do you want your protection done all at once or in stages to make it more affordable? Outfitting your windows in stages may ease the strain of your budget.
  • Will you need financing? Some types qualify for loans.
  • Are your existing windows in good shape but just need impact protection? If your current windows are in good shape or are already impact rated, you may only want impact protection.
  • Have you already explored the cost of replacing your windows but the price is out of your budget right now? Adding non-porous, clear hurricane shutters will extend the life of your existing windows AND save energy.
  • Are you willing to “mix and match” types of protection to be the most cost effective? Relying on one method of hurricane protection may not be the best approach for your building – or your budget.
  • Are you forced to match the protection in the rest of your neighborhood?(i.e. HOA rules) A good looking product will get approved by architectural review boards with little hassle.
  • Do you want your hurricane protection to do more? Vehicles, cell phones and computers have evolved to do more and now your hurricane shutters have, too.

What level of protection do you want?

  • Are you a person who simply wants the best available?
  • Are you just wanting to satisfy your lender or insurer? Sometimes the best isn’t required.
  • Is the building you are protecting your primary residence/business?
  • Is it a place that you can afford to be without and not be homeless?
  • Is it a vacation home or cabin?Is your structure “uninsurable” or is insuring your structure not cost effective?
  • Are your monthly premiums more money that your building payments?
  • Do you own your structure outright but insurance premiums seem out of line?
  • Would you rather protect your building to survive a major hurricane or count on your insurance company to pay to replace it?
  • Based on your insurance companies track record, how long will the wait time be with the insurance company to get repair or settlement check if they have 1000 or more similar claims?

Is multifunction protection for you?

  • Is increasing the resale value of your home a priority? Unsightly protection can actually reduce the value of your structure. A more energy efficient building demands a higher market value. What percentage would you consider to be a reasonable return on investment?
  • Are there security concerns with your structure? Do others in the surrounding area have burglar bars over their windows?
  • Have smash and grab attempts or vandalism from BBs, pellets or rock and other propelled objects been a problem? Are you located in somewhat of a “rough neighborhood”?
  • Is energy savings on your priority list? Would a 30% savings on your heating and cooling costs be a worthwhile savings?
  • Are you environmentally conscious and concerned about your “carbon footprint?
  • Is sound abatement something that you need, want or even thought about? How noisy is your street or neighborhood?
  • Is interior exposure to the effects of ultraviolet rays a concern? Do you have photos, artwork or expensive fabrics in you home, business or church?
  • Do any of your windows or doors have lead camed or stained glass? What would be the replacement cost? Has your insurance company put exclusions on certain items that they will or won’t cover?

Consider all of the points above and make the choice that’s best for you. Any plan is better than no plan at all. If all you can afford is high performance window film and plywood, go for it. Just remember that these forms of protection are not recognized by your insurance company. Many municipal building departments will approve it for installation, but your insurance company is quite strict on it’s guidelines and are the ones who control your premiums.

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Some Facts About Impact/Hurricane Windows

10 Sep

It’s a bit amazing that I have only owned this hurricane shutter company for less than 2 years and the most common comments I get from people, when they have asked what I do, is, “I don’t need hurricane shutters – I had impact windows installed a few years ago.” or “I’m not worried about my windows breaking during a hurricane – I have impact windows.” I feel sorry for these misinformed homeowners who won’t discover the truth about hurricane impact windows until it’s too late to save them a lot of money and aggravation. Here are some things that you might not know about hurricane windows.

There are 2 kinds of hurricane window ratings in Florida – non-impact and impact. Non-impact hurricane windows must pass higher wind pressure, air infiltration & water penetration testing than standard windows. They do not have to meet any impact requirements – only wind pressures.

On the other hand, Impact rated windows have to pass the same tests as the non-impact windows. These tests are done before the large missile impact, high wind load and cyclic testing is done. I believe the reason for this is that after the hurricane testing is complete, the windows are too far damaged to pass the standard tests. Why? Because after the hurricane testing is complete, your high-dollar, hurricane impact rated windows are BROKEN and must be replaced.

My advice to any window buyer is this; if any window salesperson tells you that the windows that you are about to pay big bucks for are “hurricane proof” or “unbreakable windows”, kindly but swiftly escort him/her out of your home or place of business. THESE PEOPLE ARE EXACTLY WHY GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF MANY INDUSTRIES IS REQUIRED!! It’s unfortunate, but even in today’s marketplace, the old Latin saying of “let the buyer beware” still applies.

To the best of my knowledge, there are only 2 or 3 manufacturers of windows that are both Energy Star compliant AND impact rated. In my opinion, these windows haven’t been on the market long enough to be proven effective or reliable. The thin PVC material used in their frame profiles hasn’t proven itself tough enough for the severe Florida climate and although I have seen many companies offering “lifetime warranties” on their windows, be sure and read the fine print to see if it covers both the new windows, shipping charges AND all installation costs. Even if they do offer total coverage, you still have to put up with the mess and inconvenience of having your replacement windows installed again.

Non-impact hurricane windows can be ordered with extra energy saving characteristics that make them qualify for an Energy Star discount. Things like thermally broken design, multi-pane insulated glass* and low-e and other coatings are a few popular options. If you install this type of window in your home, office or church, you have done a good thing. The only thing left for you to do is to protect them from large missile impact and presto! – you have totally compliant window openings for wind mitigation discounts and are eligible for Energy Star tax credits.

If you choose to get your impact protection via Evolution Hurricane Shutters, you will not only get distortion free, clear hurricane impact protection, you will also increase your monthly savings on your heating and cooling costs over what your new windows will provide. No other kind of hurricane shutter offers you permanent protection like ours.

Impact hurricane glass windows have some energy upgrades available, too, but upgrading to IGUs at this level will cost quite a bit more and give you some added energy savings and quiet your home. These windows are expensive, extremely heavy and make your home quieter. Unfortunately, they too still break upon hurricane large missile impacts and must be replaced. Don’t waste your hard earned dollars on gas filled units. The experts say that they lose some of their efficiency every year until they rank the same as unfilled units. (about 2% per year)

 

The Bottom Line

Do not let any window salesman tell you differently. The simple truth is that no matter how much you pay for them, hurricane impact glass windows break. They are a form of “sacrificial” hurricane protection. Sacrificial meaning that they give themselves up and are destroyed during the process of protecting against large or small missile impacts. If you have already had impact glass windows installed in your building, now is the time to protect them from any damage with Evolution Hurricane Shutters. You will still get the added energy advantages, as well.

Once again, the information in this post is based upon what I have gathered through internet research. If anyone has information that I have omitted about the topic of hurricane and impact rated windows, please comment.

*Multi-pane insulated glass units (IGUs) have long been questionable as to their reliability and ability to retain a seal. In my opinion, until a clear high quality front runner has been identified in the marketplace, the jury is still out as to which brand(s) of IGU impact windows are a good investment.

 

Check out the following links for more information:

http://chicagowindowexpert.com/2011/01/25/insulated-glass-seal-failure/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermopane

http://windows.lbl.gov/adv_Sys/hi_R_insert/default.htm

Hurricane Protection and Insurance

1 Sep

Well, we all know that no matter which insurance company we talk about, they are all in the insurance business to make a profit for themselves and/or their stockholders. I personally think it is a legal form of discrimination and I’ll tell you why. If I were a landlord and used an insurance company form as my rental application, I would be sued in court 10 times over. If I used it as an employment application, the same thing would happen. I guess you can do things like that when you have as much power in D.C. as the insurance industry lobby.

Now that the insurance companies have pushed legislation through that gives them the power to dictate and mandate homeowner coverage (gee, I wonder when that is going to stop), there is a lot of hoopla going on in today’s marketplace for aftermarket hurricane protection. One of these days, I should get a bunch of insurance big-wigs together and show them a live large missile impact demonstration of Evolution Hurricane Shutters. If they’re smart they won’t show up. How could they witness something like that and not deem it great hurricane protection?

One concept that you can take to the bank is that there will be big changes made concerning homeowners insurance. It won’t be long before the phrase “I don’t bother with hurricane protection – that’s why I pay for insurance. When it blows away, they’ll just have to replace it,” will get you “zippo” for a insurance payout.

Although it might be possible in 2015 to buy homeowners insurance without having hurricane protection in place, you had best get your wallet out. My prediction is that it will cost you no less than 4 times what you are paying now. I’m not saying that your policy will cost 4 times more, I’m saying that the “wind damage” portion of your coverage will be 4 times higher than it is in 2012 if you have no hurricane rated protection in place. And if you have hurricane shutters in your garage but don’t bother to put them up, you can forget about your claim being paid if you happen to incur wind damage. It’s like your wife trying to collect on your life insurance when you were shot and killed while robbing a bank – not gonna’ happen!!

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Here are some of the points I’ll try to address in my next post:

How does one decide which one is best for their home, church or business?

Why should I have to get hurricane protection and which ones will my insurance company recognize?

What if I don’t get any hurricane protection?

Is it possible to make my struct5ure so hurricane prepared that my rates will go down?

What about my mobile or manufactured home?

Crystal Clear Hurricane Shutters

30 Aug

Do a Google search for “clear hurricane shutters” and see what pops up. Every time I see this advertising claim it makes me scratch my head. After spending 3 years in the glass business and 20+ years in the plastic sheet, rod & tube business, some Einstein had the great idea to call these hurricane panels “clear”, which they most definitely are not.

The correct description of these clear corrugated hurricane panels is “colorless obscure”. Colorless obscure glass or plastic is any colorless transparent sheet, lite or pane that can be seen through but is not optically clear. Some common glass and plastic names are pattern 60, pattern 62, Aquatex, Spraylite, bottle bottom, colorless chinchilla, DP30, DP32, ribbed and fluted among others names. This type of glazing (in glass or plastic material) is used where you want to be able to see a silhouette on the other side but not in perfect detail. Some examples where this might be used are shower doors, bathroom windows and room divider panels. It is also used in restroom doors and restaurant kitchen swinging doors to prevent collisions resulting from egress at the same time someone on the opposite side is reaching for, or approaching the door.

Cellular, hollow, honeycomb or twin skin type materials (sometimes referred to as PCSS – polycarbonate structured sheet) that are used for “clear” hurricane shutters suffer the same misnomer. They are marketed under such names as Twin-wall, Thermoclear, Verolite, Polygal, Royalplast, Plastilux, Sunnex, Polynex, Greenhouse to name a few.

One simple rule is, if you can’t read a newspaper through it from 6″ away, it is NOT CLEAR. You can call it colorless but to call it CLEAR would be incorrect. Clear would indicate optically clear or crystal clear with the characteristics of having no discernibleImage distortion to the naked eye. Just for the record, to the naked eye, Evolution Hurricane Shutters are crystal clear.

Definitions of clear:

Mariam Webster: b : adj.;easily seen through : transparent <clear glass>

Cambridge dictionary: not cloudy, foggy or with any marks, but pure or easy to see through
clear glass. The water in the lake is so clear that you can see the bottom.

Dictionary.reference.com: free from darkness, obscurity, or cloudiness; light: a clear day.

Definition of crystal clear:

Marion Webster: crystal clear; adj.; 1 : perfectly clear : able to be seen through completely

The Free Dictionary:Adj. 1.crystal clear – transmitting light; able to be seen through with clarity; “the cold crystalline water of melted snow”; “crystal clear skies”; “could see the sand on the bottom of the limpid pool”; “lucid air”; “a pellucid brook”; “transparent crystal”