Several major national consumer awareness campaigns in October have an overlapping theme: windows. Fire Prevention Week, National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Crime Prevention Month and Energy Awareness Month are all celebrated in October each year, and each of these occurrences ties directly to windows in the home.
"October is a key month for families to review the windows in their home for both safety and energy efficiency aspects," says John Stark, retail manager for Simonton Windows. "At Simonton, we encourage homeowners to regularly evaluate all the windows in their home to make sure they function properly, are accessible in case of an emergency and to assure they offer the best possible energy efficiency support for the home."
Experts at Simonton Windows offer the following tips for homeowners to help evaluate their windows and make important changes to their homes.
Tip #1 - Practice fire safety drills regularly. Small children tend to “hide” from fire, so make sure children are familiar with planned escape routes and know how to move quickly out of the home. For homes with bedrooms on second floors or higher, make sure safety escape chain ladders are under the bed in every room. Practice operating the window with older children and show them how to use escape ladders.
Tip #2 – If a door is not safe to exit through during a fire, exit through an open window, using an escape ladder if necessary. Avoid breaking the glass in a window whenever possible, because it could cause serious injury.
Tip #3 - Don’t ever paint shut windows. Every window in the home must be operational in case of an emergency.
Tip #1 – Determine what year your house was built. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the routine opening and closing of windows painted with lead-based paint (primarily in homes built prior to 1978) can cause microscopic paint dust to be released into the air.
Tip #2 – Contact a window installation professional trained and certified in lead-safe work practices to determine if there is lead-based paint on or near your windows before performing any renovation, repair or replacement projects that involve windows or doors. Visit www.simonton.com/leadsafe for more details.
Tip #3 – Evaluate your specific family needs. Research indicates that the everyday activity of opening and closing lead-base painted windows creates friction that then allows microscopic lead dust to enter the air. This is of special concern in households built prior to 1978, with young children who crawl on the floor. Toddlers put their hands in their mouths … and after playing on the floor near a window, they can easily transfer the lead dust into their mouths. The ingested lead can travel through the bloodstream to a child’s developing brain, potentially causing neurobehavioral damage.
During Crime Prevention Month, sponsored by the National Crime Prevention Council, make sure to practice these home security window tips:
Tip #1 - Always lock windows and patio doors when not in use. This does two things: it helps deter potential intruders, and it creates a weather-tight, energy-efficient seal from the elements.
Tip #2 – Check your window frames. If you find warping or rotting wood it can be easier for intruders to break into a home through your windows. Consider replacing them with vinyl framed windows. Vinyl is a great insulator, plus it’s durable and easy to maintain.
Tip #3 – If you live in a neighborhood that is prone to crime, install impact-resistant windows with laminated glass … at least for the first floor of your home. In these units, two panes of glass are adhered to a durable plastic interlayer, much like a car windshield. If an intruder hits the window with a crowbar or other object, the glass will shatter, but broken pieces remain adhered to the interlayer, preventing glass fallout inside the home. The plastic interlayer is also puncture-resistant, and will frustrate potential intruders.
Homeowners can request the SafePoint™ impact-resistant laminated glass package in windows manufactured by Simonton Windows. Engineered to withstand flying debris, deter intruders and reduce unwanted outside noise in the home, the SafePoint glass package helps reduce unwanted sound in the home, increase protection against high winds and offers proven protection against forced entry.*
Tip #1 - Examine the inside of your windows and patio doors for hot and cold “drafty” spots (or drafty areas). This indicates air infiltration which can lead to reduced energy efficiency.
Tip #2 - Check every window and door to make sure there is adequate weatherstripping and caulking around the units. This helps eliminate air infiltration and ensure a weather tight, secure seal.
Tip #3 – Check the “fit” of your current windows or patio doors by having someone stand outside the units at night. With a small flashlight, stand inside and “travel” around the edge of the units. If the person outside sees light coming through the edges, this indicates a poor installation and is resulting in energy loss.