Q: With the recent hurricanes in the south, I’ve been thinking a lot about the windows in our home, some of which are very old. In the event of inclement weather, what type of windows will best protect our home?

A: I’m sure you’re not alone in wondering the answer to this question. New England’s weather patterns have certainly shifted over the last few years and the weather has been very unpredictable. With that said, it’s always smart to make sure you’re prepared in the event that we experience any harsh weather and new replacement windows are one of the best defenses in protecting your home.

Airtight Window Installation Blocks Out Heavy Rains

Window installation plays a big part in the performance of your windows. We get our fair share of rain here in New England, and water making its way into the home is one of the worst parts of living with old windows. When you opt for professional window installation, windows are measured and customized to within ⅛ of an inch and an airtight seal is created to help keep the elements outdoors.

According to the American Insurance Association, water damage claims are one of the fastest-growing components of home insurance. It’s also the second-most frequently filed insurance claim in the country.

What kind of damage can occur from windows that aren’t capable of handling rain? The damage might start off innocently with some flaking or peeling paint around the interior window frames. The frames may eventually rot if they’re made of wood, and mold and mildew may also grow. Mold growth is the most concerning side effect of water damage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you can see and smell mold, a health risk may be present.

If your windows are leaking water, as a temporary fix you can apply a silicone-based caulking to help keep rainwater outdoors. However, keep in mind that caulking is generally only recommended for stationary window components and will only last temporarily. Thinking long term, it may be best to replace the entire window in order to keep your home dry and free from water-related issues.

Windows with Low Air Infiltration Ratings Block Out Wind

Whether we’re talking about a stormy summer night or strong winds whipping around in any season, drafty windows can make your home uncomfortable. According to The Department of Energy, drafty windows can attribute to 25% of a home’s energy loss. The good news is that a window designed to reduce air infiltration can help you battle these winds.

Air infiltration is the process of air making its way into your home through several entry points, including the sash, the sash meeting the rail, the sash perimeter, and the sill. The amount of airflow through the window is measured in CFM—cubic feet per minute. The average window has a CFM between .12 and .30. The best windows on the market, however, have an air infiltration rating as low as 0.01 cfm with wind at 25 miles per hour.

To put this in perspective, consider that a window with a cfm of .30 will allow approximately 24 soda cans of air leakage per minute while the air leakage from a top rated window is only at .8 soda cans per minute. The top rated energy efficient window is 23 times more airtight than the less efficient window. There is no such thing as a window that’s 100% resistant to air infiltration—only a solid wall will achieve a perfect rating.

What About Water Impact?

When it comes to inclement weather, you’ll want to make sure your windows are designed for water and air impact. Top window manufacturers design their windows to resist water and wind and that ultimately keeps your home warm, comfortable, and dry.

In order to test windows for water resistance, newly manufactured windows are sprayed with a continuous stream of pressurized water until failure. The industry minimum water resistance is for 8″ of water per hour at 33 mph. Windows from top manufacturers, are rated for 56 mph of 8” inches of water per hour, which is 70% over the industry minimum.

Triple Pane Windows Can Reduce the Sound of Thunder

It’s not only children who are afraid of thunderstorms. According to USA Today, 1 in 10 Americans suffer from weather phobia. If the sound of cracking thunder has your heart pounding, or you simply have pets or kids that are disturbed by storms, triple pane windows can help.

The secret behind triple pane’s sound-reducing technology lies within its extra chamber. These chambers are also smaller than dual pane, which is perfect for inserting krypton gas. This makes triple pane windows not only an extremely energy efficient option, but a sound-reducing option as well.

We hope you found this article helpful. Inclement weather is never fun to deal with, but being prepared is your best option in protecting your home. No matter what type of weather you’re concerned about, Coastal Windows & Exteriors can help. Contact us today to learn more at 978-304-0495 or email questions@mycoastalwindows.com. We’re ready to answer your questions and help.