One of the myths about hurricanes and how to survive them is that you should open your windows during the storm, so that the wind will freely blow through your home and leave the windows intact. Unfortunately, this is not true. In fact, opening your windows could cause more extensive damage than leaving them closed.
This theory claims that opening the windows would relieve pressure building up inside the house. The idea is that the pressure building up inside the home may cause the roof to blow off. In fact, the opposite is true. Windows should be tightly shut to prevent any of the wind from entering your home. The wind that does make it inside your home will need to exit and it’s likely that it will do this by blowing off a roof or a door. If there’s a weak point in the house, that’s where the wind will do its damage.
Experts agree that merely opening windows will not alleviate or equalize pressure in a storm. Homes are damaged and destroyed by violent winds, therefore windows should be kept shut tight to keep more debris from entering your home.
This theory appears to have originated in studies involving tornadoes, the damage they cause, and measures to put in place to minimize the damage. After a tornado has passed through, it appears that some homes have exploded. From this evidence, scientists theorized that air pressure outside had to have been far lower that it was inside, with this difference causing the home to explode. So then, it was suggested that people leave their windows open just a bit to equalize pressure.
Further research however, showed that those exploded homes were the result of wind blowing through open or broken windows, so following this advice would be counterproductive, and instead of preventing serious damage, could actually cause it. The winds that entered the homes pushed up on the roofs at the same time wind was blowing over the home, which made the roofs act like airplane wings, generating a lifting force. Once the roof blows off, the walls of the home can fall outward, which gives the impression that the homes had exploded.
A corollary to the theory of opening your windows is that you should open the windows on the side of the home that is opposite of the direction from which the wind is coming. This is called the lee side of the storm.
This idea has a big problem. The wind direction during a hurricane can change frequently, so if this was a good idea, which it’s not, it would be almost impossible to continue to run around the house opening and closing your windows to keep the ones on the lee side of the storm open and the others tightly shut. Despite the fact that it would be difficult to do, it won’t really serve to mitigate storm damage. As already stated, trying to equalize the pressure inside and outside the home in this way won’t help, and in fact and will do more harm than good.
The good news in all of this is that homeowners are not helpless in protecting their homes during a hurricane. Because of the amazing technological advances in predicting the path and progress of a hurricane, homeowners have time to take preventative measures when a storm is approaching. However, the best idea is to be proactive and prepare for a storm when there are no storms approaching. Rushing to your local building supply store at the last minute to get plywood for boarding up your windows is better than nothing, but for the best protection, you should consider installing hurricane screens, panels, or shutters on your windows to provide protection from breakage.
Storm Smart of Southeast Florida carries a complete line of products designed to offer you the best protection from the threat of tropical storms and hurricanes. We are based in West Palm Beach and serve customers from Delray to Vero Beach. We began business on the East Coast of Florida in 2016 and have been growing ever since. Our success is based on Storm Smart’s comprehensive line of products that offer you the very best in storm protection, great installations, and a focus on customer service. Check out our reviews!
Our full line of technologically advanced systems is backed by the care and service of highly trained technicians. Whether you are building new or just want to protect your home and family better from hurricane winds, Storm Smart of Southeast Florida has just what you need. If you would like more information about our company, contact us at 561-220-7222.