Broken WindowIt’s the quintessential image of storm season here in (usually) sunny Northeast Florida come June 1, when the Atlantic hurricane season officially gets underway – images of windows on homes and buildings lined with strips of duct tape. The reasoning behind these images is that flying debris or even a storm’s sheer force can shatter your windows, and when it does, those strips of tape will help keep the glass from splintering into dozens of dagger-like shards.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Trouble is – it’s simply not true, say weather experts and air conditioning experts with Jacksonville Beach’s Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning. In fact, those multiple strips of tape may even make for a more dangerous situation.

Recently, officials with the National Hurricane Center and the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, met up at the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando to help deliver a message to Florida residents readying for the storm season: “Go tapeless!”

Here’s why:

  • A false sense of security: After a few years of no direct hits, Florida residents tend to get as lax about hurricanes as do Californians about earthquakes. No big deal, right? A flashlight, some canned goods and a few rolls of duct tape covering the windows means you’re in the clear in the off chance that the storm doesn’t pass us by. Unfortunately, that false sense of security created by taped-up windows can lead residents to be lax about other storm safety recommendations, like staying in windowless-rooms. This can put you and your family at risk for serious injury. 
  • Bigger shards are more dangerous: Homeowners wrongly assume that a window shattering into many smaller shards poses higher risk, because those shards collectively cover more area when they’re tossed across a room. More shards mean more chances of being hit with one. But it’s actually those larger shards, created when tape keeps the would-be broken pieces of glass together, that packs a far more severe punch. A larger, heavier shard of glass can do far more bodily damage than can multiple smaller shards.

“Our goal is to break this myth,” National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read said during the conference.
“It does not protect your windows. At best, it’s an inconvenience. At worst, some people have the illusion that they’re safe … and people can get severely hurt.”

Instead, weather and HVAC experts recommend installing impact-resistant windows and hurricane shutters. Also, purchase a fuel-powered generator to help assure you’ll still have electricity should a storm knock out power to your area. This will allow you to continue running your air conditioner to help keep your home cool and free of potentially damaging moisture. Don’t wait – Call Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning to schedule routine maintenance or repair of your AC system to make sure it’s in prime working order and ready for the hurricane season.