It’s easy to take the windows on our homes for granted, but upgrading your windows can be a great way to add to the overall livability and safety of your home. Along with those benefits is the possibility that the investment in better windows can pay for itself in the long run. Additionally, utilities such as TECO Electric often offer rebates to help cover some of the cost of the upgrade. Original windows in Florida houses often are the lowest allowable under Florida building codes. Repeated hurricane hits have prompted the Florida Legislature to upgrade building standards in recent years, but there are plenty of houses still out there with older windows and even newer houses built to tougher standards can often benefit from an upgrade. Let’s look at some of the benefits you might see if you upgrade your windows.
Peace and Quiet
Living on a highly trafficked street can mean lots of noise. Hanna Road in Lutz is a good example. What should be a quiet, rural road can be as busy as a downtown thoroughfare at some hours. The result can be a noisy background that disturbs the peace and quiet everyone wants in their home. If noise reduction is a consideration, you would want to consider the OITC rating of the windows you’re looking at. OITC stands for Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class. The calculations that go into OITC are highly technical, but the rule of thumb is the lower the number the better. The OITC rating may not be easy to find, but a qualified sales person should be prepared to discuss it and help you compare various products.
West Coast Windows
8106 Temple Terrace Highway
Temple Terrace, FL 33637
It seems like there are formulas for everything, and it just so happens there’s even one that tells you how much heat the sun is sending through your window. It’s called the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. Rather than go into the mathematics, let’s just say the sun can really heat up your room on a hot summer day. If your new windows meet certain SHGC and U-Factor standards, you may qualify for a TECO rebate.
Inferior windows can be a great source of heat buildup during the summer and heat loss in the winter. Draftiness is something that might go almost unnoticed, but TECO can help you find out where your leaks are with a free energy audit that can be done yourself online via a personal inspection by a trained energy auditor. Better insulation could mean you don’t have to set your thermostat quite as high or low, and that can make a big difference in your monthly electric bill.
Weather Tite Windows
2119 W. Columbus Drive
Tampa, FL 33607
16011 N.Nebraska Ave. Suite 107
Lutz, FL 33549-6158
Hurricane experts are quick to point out that making a home “hurricane-proof” isn’t really possible. But there is a lot you can do make your home a safer shelter in the event of a hurricane. One of those steps is to upgrade your windows. There are manufacturers who claim their windows can stop a hockey puck going 100 miles an hour. The state of Florida requires insurers to give discounts to home owners who install windows that meet certain standards.
Carrolwood Window & Door
6025 North Highway 301
Tampa, FL 33601
Ultraviolet light from the sun is the culprit here. Windows with a Low Emittance or low E coating can block up to 75 percent of harmful ultraviolet light that can cause fading in your carpets, curtains and furniture. If you’ve ever had to replace any of those items because of sun fade, the idea of replacing them less often might also help you see the value in getting new windows.
Window World of Tampa Bay
5910-B Breckenridge Pkwy
Tampa, FL 33610
Where to start
Now that you have some idea of the possible benefits of upgrading your windows, there are a couple of steps you might want to take before you start talking to window replacement businesses. The state of Florida has an excellent web page devoted to helping you save money on insurance premiums, whether it’s with upgraded windows or other ways of making your home safer. You also might want to call your local power company to find out if they offer rebates on upgraded windows and what their standards are. Once you know what your insurance company requires, you’ll be armed with the information you need to make sure you buy the right windows.
My Safe Florida Home
Mike Hennessy is a veteran news man who has won Florida AP awards for feature reporting and covered almost every kind of story imaginable from on-the-scene coverage of Hurricane Andrew, to some of the highest profile murder and corruption trials in Florida history. Mike is versatile and has the curiosity it takes to get to the bottom line of any story. His work can be found at Examiner.com.