Hurricane season in Florida is one of the most challenging parts of the year for many homeowners, especially those without the proper precautions to prevent their properties from storm damage. Given the history and intensity of Florida hurricanes and the destructive potential of these natural disasters, taking the initiative and investing in hurricane-safe home improvements is vital.
However, many homeowners in Florida are unaware of how to best stormproof their homes for robust protection during hurricane season. While you might think your home is secure enough, you are likely missing a few upgrades, such as impact windows and doors, to prevent damage from Florida hurricanes.
Alco Windows and Doors provides the best impact window and door technology to upgrade your home. This article will outline the importance of secure home features to fight against Florida hurricanes and prepare you for natural disasters.
The History of Florida Hurricanes
Unfortunately, Florida hurricanes are known for their destructive potential and massive intensity. If you’re a long-time Florida resident, you’re likely familiar with the state’s propensity to storms of this degree. However, the possibilities for damage to your home might go further than you realize.
Florida hurricane conditions are most common during the Atlantic hurricane season, which falls over six months from June 1 until November 30. Hurricanes pose a significant threat to Florida because the state has an extensive coastline and falls in a location that is highly susceptible to hurricanes and other severe storms. Because hurricanes can also spawn tornadoes, they devastate Floridians and their homes.
Hurricane force winds can reach up to 74 miles or more, and the eye of a hurricane storm typically falls between 20-30 miles wide, though it can extend to more than 400 miles. Among the several dangers of hurricanes are torrential rains, storm surges, and extremely high winds.
Though Florida is no stranger to hurricanes, some of these storms have had a longer-lasting impact on the state than others. Identifying your home’s need for robust protection from storm damage is possible when considering some of the most devastating hurricanes in Florida’s history, such as the ones explored below.
Beginning on September 16, 2004, Hurricane Ivan was a category three storm that caused massive damage in northwest Florida and Baldwin County in Alabama. Hurricane Ivan caused eight deaths in the western Florida Panhandle, and the total cost of damages from the storm hit an estimated 14 billion USD.
Needless to say, Hurricane Ivan was incredibly devastating to the state of Florida and its residents, whose homes sustained much of the damage the event incurred.
The storm named Wilma was another devastating event that delivered hurricane force winds across several locations, including Florida. When Hurricane Wilma reached Florida, it was a category three storm. The hurricane moved into Florida on October 24, 2005, and its maximum sustained winds were an estimated 100 mph, with wind gusts up to 120 mph.
Hurricane Wilma caused six fatalities in Florida, with more deaths occurring across the places that the storm hit. The hurricane was the second most expensive storm in Florida’s history and racked up an estimated $18.6 billion USD worth of damage in the state alone.
The hurricane also caused a total of ten tornadoes in Florida. Flooding from this hurricane affected 60 percent of residential homes in areas like Florida's Key West. This huge number shows how vital it is for homeowners to take precautions and implement advanced solutions like Alco’s impact windows.
Making landfall near the Miami-Dade and Broward county line on the evening of August 25, 2005, Hurricane Katrina is one of the most damaging, devastating hurricanes in U.S. history. Though the hurricane didn’t peak until moving past Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico, the storm still caused significant damage to the state and surrounding states.
The hurricane caused an estimated 1,200 reported deaths, with the vast majority occurring in Louisiana. However, the storm still caused seven deaths in Southern Florida, and many Florida homes faced significant wind and water damage, specifically in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
In recent years, Hurricane Irma has been one of the most devastating hurricanes to impact Florida. Initially tracked on August 26, 2017, Hurricane Irma went from a tropical storm to a category three hurricane on the 31st, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. The hurricane became a category four storm by September 4, 2017, and a category five storm the following day.
Hurricane Irma entered the United States and hit the Florida Keys on September 10, returning to a category four hurricane after briefly reducing below this level. Irma is the costliest hurricane for Florida, costing the state an estimated 50 billion USD in property damage. 80-90 deaths occurred across Florida due to conditions caused by Hurricane Irma.
Given these extreme numbers, it’s no surprise that many Florida homeowners have begun implementing robust measures to prevent property damage caused by future hurricanes. Making this decision can make all of the difference when the next storm occurs.
Preparing for Hurricane Season 2023
The Atlantic hurricane season in 2023 is expected to be relatively standard for Florida. During the 2023 hurricane season, it’s estimated that there will be a total of 12 to 17 named storms, of which 5 to 9 have the potential to become hurricanes, and 1 to 4 could become major hurricanes exceeding category three.
What Damages Do Hurricanes Cause?
Hurricanes can cause substantial damage to your home and belongings. Among the many damages that hurricanes can cause include the following:
- Structural damage: the high winds generated by hurricanes can lead to significant structural damage to homes, including the collapse of roofs, walls, and other structural foundations, resulting in the loss of entire structures.
- Roof damage: hurricanes can cause significant roof damage because of strong winds and flying debris that can strip off roof shingles, tiles, or the entire roof.
- Flooding: hurricanes bring heavy inland flooding that can cause water to enter homes, leading to extensive damage to walls, floors, furniture, and personal belongings. Water can also infiltrate a home’s foundation and weaken its structural integrity to cause long-term damage.
- Electrical system damage: high winds that occur during hurricanes can cause power lines to fall, leading to electrical surges and outages
- Interior contamination: flooding from hurricanes can introduce contaminants into the home, such as sewage and chemicals, which poses a health risk for inhabitants and requires extensive remediation
- Landscaping damage: falling trees and debris can damage landscapes during hurricanes, such as other trees, plant life, fences, and outdoor structures
What are Impact Windows?
Impact windows can withstand harsh weather conditions, such as those that occur during hurricanes. Impact windows are crucial to storm-proof your home because they are created with glass and protective layers that can prevent damage caused by high wind and debris.
These windows are created from several polyvinyl butyral (PVB) layers that are enclosed between two planes of glass for a thicker, more durable solution than traditional windows.
How Impact Windows Protect Your Home
The potential for property damage and loss is incredibly high during Florida hurricanes. Because the state is no stranger to these harsh and sudden storms, preparing your home in advance is crucial to avoid last-minute disasters. Though preventing hurricanes isn’t possible, you can take the necessary precautions to mitigate damage to your home, such as investing in impact windows.
Because many homeowners are unaware of impact windows and their potential benefits, we’ve broken down how they can protect your home during hurricane season. Consider the following ways that impact windows safeguard your property as you decide whether to make this investment.
Impact windows are crucial for Florida homeowners looking to protect their property against hurricane damage. Alco’s impact windows use shatter-resistant film, applied on both sides of the window pane, to seal glass inside the window.
The shatter-resistant film guarantees that they remain intact even if your window is hit with flying debris or subject to category five hurricane winds.
Inner Membrane Technology
Another way that Alco’s impact windows protect against Florida hurricanes is its inner membrane technology. This feature fills the space between window panes, ensuring well-rounded and effective protection.
The membrane is made of a PVB layer to hold your window’s glass together and prevent it from blowing outward. Combined with shatter-resistant film, this inner membrane technology ensures your windows are safe from devastating weather conditions.
A robust window frame is essential to prevent damage to your home caused by Florida hurricanes. Impact-resistant windows are constructed with durable materials, including vinyl, aluminum, and steel frames, which prevent weakening over time like many other materials.
Investing in impact windows can ensure that your windows stay in place during storms and prevent any exterior threats from making their way inside.
Thorough Testing Process
Impact windows undergo rigorous testing to ensure they operate correctly and meet safety standards to protect against hurricanes. These windows use a design pressure test to determine how much pressure and damage they can withstand before breaking. Impact windows use a design pressure test that analyzes three components of impact windows, outlined below:
- Air pressure: design pressure tests use air filtration to simulate high air pressure and see how the impact windows respond.
- Water penetration: pressure tests also determine a model’s ability to prevent water from entering the home during severe storms. The test determines a window’s reliability by measuring the percentage of water pressure kept out from the window.
- Structural testing: the final component of the design pressure testing process is a structural test to determine the reliability of the window’s glass and frame. Higher ratings are rewarded to windows depending on the glass’s thickness and the window frame’s hardware.
The Benefits of Impact Windows
Impact windows go beyond basic safety precautions–these models are designed to meet all of your window needs and have numerous benefits to prove it. The many benefits of impact windows include the following:
- Home invasion protection: impact windows are made from durable, robust materials that aren’t only difficult for storms to pass through and for burglars. Because these windows are highly shatter-resistant, they quickly deter potential intruders from entering your home, providing you with safety that other windows cannot.
- Energy efficiency: impact windows are highly energy efficient, saving you money spent on high electricity bills when the summer heat makes its way into your home. These windows keep your home’s interior temperature steady to keep you comfortable year-round.
- UV ray protection: traditional windows don’t protect you from harmful UV rays. Because of how impact windows are structured, they provide a more substantial barrier between you and the sun, keeping your skin safe and your furniture and floors from fading.
- Noise reduction: impact windows are perfect solutions for homeowners looking to reduce external noise that disrupts their days and nights. Alco’s impact-resistant windows are created with thick, laminated glass that significantly reduces external noise disturbances, ensuring your home is comfortable and peaceful.
- Boosted curb appeal and property value: by investing in impact windows, you not only protect yourself and your home from external harm but improve the chances of making a profit if you decide to sell your home in the future. Because of the numerous advantages of impact windows, your home will be more attractive to buyers than a home with traditional windows.
Get the Best Impact Windows From Alco Windows and Doors
Protecting your home during hurricane season is crucial to ensuring a safe, comfortable environment all year round. Homeowners in South Florida worried about their home’s protection against hurricanes can turn to Alco Windows and Doors' high-quality impact windows and doors.
We've compiled a complete guide to preparing for hurricane season this year. We encourage you to bookmark this important resource today!
Alco’s impact windows are robust and built to withstand even the harshest hurricane winds. Investing in our impact windows and doors lets you put your mind at ease if the weather takes an adverse turn during hurricane season. Keeping yourself, your loved ones, and your home safe should be your top priority.
Contact the experts at Alco Windows and Doors today to safeguard your home now and in the future.