When you first move to an area where hurricanes are common, your eyes will be opened to many things. And one of those things is hurricane shutters — those steel or composite panels that homeowners put over their windows when a storm is on the horizon. Without hurricane shutters, it would be nearly impossible to keep home windows intact in these climates. And while using them is pretty simple, you could probably benefit from a few tips as a newbie.
1. Test your shutters before hurricane season.
The worst time to find out your shutters are broken, they don't latch, or you don't quite know how to put them on is right before that first hurricane rolls through town. Test your shutters well in advance of hurricane season. If you run into any issues at all, this gives you time to call a contractor who fixes and installs shutters and get on their schedule early. If you wait until the start of hurricane season, they'll be very in-demand and will have a harder time fitting you in.
2. Close the shutters as soon as you think a storm is coming.
Hurricanes can roll in very quickly. You might hear a report that one is coming, look outside, and think "the weather's not bad, I'll close the shutters later." Then, an hour later, the wind is howling and it's risky to go outside. Always close your shutters as soon as you know a storm is on the way. This is for your own safety; you do not want to be outside, trying to wrangle shutters, while branches are flying through the air. Plus, the shutters are as much to protect against the wind as they are to protect against the rain, so you want to close them before the wind comes.
3. Don't leave them up all year.
You can save time by just leaving the hurricane shutters up all year, right? Well, maybe. You might save time, but this is not a good idea. Hurricane shutters can make it harder for firefighters to get into your home if there is an emergency, so you really don't want them up when they're not needed — in case there's an emergency.
Hurricane shutters can offer valuable protection for your home, but you do need to use them properly. Follow the tips above, and don't be afraid to ask a local hurricane shutter contractor if you have any additional concerns.