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We've always had shutters. Now,due to the fact we're getting older and lazier are looking into hurricane windows in a few of our windows. Will retain shutters in others for awhile.

Question is about the construction of the impact windows:

There are several recommended dealers we're researching.

The windows are double-paned and between the glass panes is either AIR or ARGON gas. One dealer tells us Air is better in South Florida and ARGON better in Northern climates. He says that the Argon tends to "leak" and cause condensation in our climate. The other dealers all specify the Argon glass is best.

We're researching all this now however wondering if anyone on the board has any experience in knowedge re. the above options????

TIA
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sorry, I mistyped in subject line. We live in South Florida.....Both types of windows do comply with Dade County Hurricane code.. We just are curious re. the argon vs air filler between the panes.

thx
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We've had both kinds at one time or another. Basically, if you see condensation, the window has failed and is no longer maintaining a seal.
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Argon is heavier than air. That makes it easier to displace the air in the space with argon.

In either case, its important that the gas you use is dry. Compressed air tanks often have liquid water on the bottom of the tank. Either can be ok if done right. Buy from a reputable supplier.
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In northern climates Argon is a better insulating selection as compared to air. As Peter has said it is critical the gas between the panes be dry - and remain dry. When the seals fail, humidity from the ambient air gets between the panes and condensate will appear between the panes of glass.

I would opt for Argon because a very easy way for a window company to cut costs is use compressed air. (While I did not invent cynicism, I am working on perfecting it.)
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I can offer nothing of value on the question, but feel I have to ask: Can ANY glass window withstand a powerful hurricane? Just asking.

I wish you well, either way!

Vermonter
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Pictures I have seen on TV indicate these windows will keep thinks from entering the house. Each pane of glass is really a sandwich Glass-Clear Plastic-Glass. Very much like the Safety Glass used in auto windshields and door glass.

Here is a link which has some technical specs.

https://www.andersenwindows.com/windows-and-doors/coastal-im...
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Can ANY glass window withstand a powerful hurricane?

At this point most of us have heard of Gorilla Glass from Corning Glass Works. Modern technology makes possible glass that is much stronger than traditional window glass.

Plus if its thick enough, glass can probably withstand most damaging winds.

Safety glass with a plastic inner layer is one way. EMTs tell you it can be very difficult to break an auto windshield.

I would imagine that windows calling themselves hurricane windows are tested by firing 2x4's at them at suitable speeds. The real damage probably comes from debris flying in the wind.
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Update: we have received quotes from 3 hurricane window companies. Researching each one and visited showrooms and/or viewed installed products in neighbor’s home.
Basically there appears to be little difference in the specs between those with argon gas or air.

2 of the quotes are close in price. The 3rd is much higher. Looking at all the samples I sure can’t tell difference. Again research shows northern climates utilize the argon more, south Florida etc - air. Really the choice is up to us.
DH has some further questions from each of the vendors. And, frankly we both have some pondering to do re the necessity of the whole project.
Thanks all for the input. Will let you know.
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If the glass panes are properly sealed and the air is dry, there should be no difference.

If is an important word.

http://tinyurl.com/y96dpg4o
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Can ANY glass window withstand a powerful hurricane?

Yes, absolutely. The trick with impact windows is that they sandwich a plastic polymer layer between two panes of glass. The window then undergoes the same small and large missile tests that Miami-Dade codes require for hurricane shutter panels. The large missile is an 8' 2x4 lumber shot out of an air cannon. The glass may crack/shatter, but the polymer layer ensures the building envelope is maintained, even against the wind pressure.
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2 of the quotes are close in price. The 3rd is much higher. Looking at all the samples I sure can’t tell difference. Again research shows northern climates utilize the argon more, south Florida etc - air. Really the choice is up to us.

Tuni, as you know, I'm here in S FL as well. In my last place, I replaced the existing windows with impact windows after Wilma. In my current house, I have mostly impacts, but a few standard windows (mostly patio sliders, $$$) that we shutter up for storms.

I would encourage you to get a quote on straight up impacts without the air/argon gap. In my experience living in FL, the seal will eventually degrade, and you'll end up with a fogged window due to our humidity. But since impacts are rather expensive, that's not a cost you'll want to eat.

So why do I suggest the regular window? Because the impact construction is two layers sandwiched with a plastic polymer interlayer. That polymer is actually quite a good insulator. Sure, not as good as an air gap, but far superior to old single-pane windows. When I went from single pane to PGT Winguard at my last place, the heat transmission of the windows was dramatically improved. Adding an air gap and another pane of glass just strikes me as an additional cost that you're unlikely to recoup anytime soon.

(message me if you want the name of the contractor we used, though it was ~10 years ago)
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