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Understanding Window Design Pressure in Southwest Florida

Posted by Jimmy Hawley on Oct 8, 2014 10:30:00 AM
Understanding Window Design Pressure in Southwest FloridaAlthough we're nearing the end of hurricane season, it's never too early to start preparing for the 2015 hurricane season. There are many factors to consider when you're replacing your old windows or if you're replacing hurricane shutters with impact windows, but there's one important factor that's often overlooked – Design Pressure. Design Pressure ratings for windows ensure that your custom windows can withstand high-force wind and rain.

What is design pressure?

Design Pressure is the amount of pressure put on the openings of your home, such as windows and doors, during a hurricane. The Design Pressure rating represents the maximum positive and negative wind load that a window or door can experience without breaking. The higher the design pressure rating, the more resistant it is to the effects from wind and other pressures.

Design Pressure was introduced in the 1940s by a group of window manufacturers and engineers who were concerned about hurricanes and their impact on building products. Their goal was to measure how a variety of hurricane protection products performed in these types of weather conditions. The Design Pressure tests were designed to measure wind loads and how resistant windows would be to different types of storms.

Design pressure requirements

Design Pressure testing measures the performance of fenestration products to withstand positive and negative pressures. High-speed wind, such as wind during a hurricane, creates positive and negative pressures, and this pressure can tear out windows and doors, break glass and force rain into your home. Positive pressure is force exerted towards the opening of a house. In other words, it's the force trying to push the window into the opening. Negative pressure, on the other hand, is force pulling away from the opening, similar to a vacuum.

The Florida Building Code has specific wind zone performance requirements. The Florida Building Code requires that all newly installed windows meet a minimum design load.

Why it matters

Different types of windows are able to withstand different wind pressures, and it's important that you find the right window for your need. If you're living in Florida, you'll want windows that can withstand high-speed winds, such as the winds you'd experience during a hurricane. The last thing you want is to install windows that can't withstand the pressure of winds produced during a hurricane or tropical storm. When shopping for windows, look for a design pressure label such as the ones issued by the Window and Door Manufacturers of America (WDMA) and the American Architectural Manufacturers Associations (AAMA) or ask the salesperson at your local hurricane protection company, such as Storm Solutions. Having the correct Design Pressure on your windows is the difference between your home being safe during a hurricane and it being full of water and debris.

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Topics: Impact Windows, Design Pressure