Securing Windows for Arizona Monsoon Season

The sky grows darker as clouds begin to populate the sky, a subtle warning of the storm that’s soon to follow. Gradually, the wind picks up and humidity seems to increase, making the Phoenix valley feel almost tropical. The combination of moisture in the air and sweltering heat seems surreal for Arizona, where dry heat dominates the summer and humidity is almost unheard of. Time to close those windows!

If you’ve ever experienced a summer in the valley, you’re all too familiar with this scenario. Chances are, there’s a monsoon on the way! Monsoons in Arizona are usually accompanied by an enormous cloud of dust called a haboob, often spreading across the length of the entire valley and reaching heights taller than 5,000ft!

These dust storms aren’t just an inconvenience when you’re trying to drive home on the freeway with limited visibility, but they can also be a health concern to you and your family. They kick up a huge amount of dust and pollen which is sucked up into air conditioning vents and spread throughout your home. Those dust particles can carry harmful bacteria that can cause allergic reactions. Not only that, but Arizona monsoons tend to cover everything exposed to them in a thin layer of dust!

So what options do you have to minimize the damaging effects of these summer storms? One option is to ensure that your windows are up-to-date and properly sealed. Intense monsoon winds, dust, and heavy rain will test the durability of those replacement windows like nothing else. Follow these steps to properly secure your windows in preparation for the next big storm.

Replace or Repair Windows with Seal Failure

Before taking drastic measures like purchasing new replacement windows, do a quick walkthrough to identify energy inefficient windows around the house. Windows in need of replacement will be poor insulators as a result of frame deterioration or poor sealing. Typically, these windows are beyond repair and are a sign that you should start researching replacement windows.

While shopping for replacement windows, keep in mind that if  your home’s old enough to have single-pane windows, it’s probably a good idea to ditch them for some double- or triple-paned windows that will be more efficient insulators.

Contact your local window providers to see whether triple-paned windows will offer you any additional benefit over double-paned options in your area. If you’re a Phoenix resident, triple-pane windows might not be worth the extra cost, given the exceptionally warm climate. The benefits of triple-pane replacement windows are much more apparent in cold weather climates.

Replace Windows with Warped or Deteriorated Frames

Just because the window glass is intact doesn’t mean that those are energy efficient windows. Have you checked the frame? Improper sealing can cause serious structural damage to your window frames and the area of the house surrounding the affected area. If you have a warped or deteriorated frame on your hands, you can bet that moisture build-up is sure to follow.

By this time, it’s usually too late to repair the windows and they should probably be replaced, especially if they’re wooden frames. Once deterioration sets in, it’s basically impossible to reverse. The soft, warped wood will continue to collect moisture until the constant draft becomes so unbearable to residents that they’re forced to purchase replacement windows.

Clear Debris

Over time, leaves, dirt, dead insects and other debris builds up in the window tracks. After too much build-up, the windows become hard to close and require some cleaning. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust and debris.

While you’re at it, double check that the weep hole is clear. The weep hole is a small on the exterior side of the track that allows water to drip outdoors instead of inside. Not only will your windows function better and close properly, they look a lot nicer when they’re clean!

Seal Leaks with Caulking

During the inspection of your home’s windows, you may find that some of the existing caulking has eroded or cracked away. This is a pretty good sign that you’ve got a leaky window on your hands. If you also feel a draft coming from the same place, you can be certain that there’s a leak. Leaks are a small problem and aren’t usually cause for replacement windows.

Caulking is a sealant that’s available at most home improvement stores which is inexpensive and easy to apply. After clearing away debris and old, cracked caulking, you can go ahead and apply a fresh line to the unsealed area. Be sure not to apply new caulking over old caulking that has cracked. Remove it and apply a fresh layer of polyurethane caulking instead, since it’s better at preventing moisture than acrylic or latex caulking.

Conclusion

As a Phoenix valley resident, you should have a decent understanding of the extreme weather conditions that we regularly experience as well as a firm grasp on how to protect yourself and your property from those conditions. Replacement windows can significantly improve the interior comfort level of your home by keeping the bad weather out of your living space.

To learn why you need energy efficient windows in the Phoenix Summer, Click Here.

Andy Akers is a professional blogger for XO Windows, Arizona's largest window distributor, providing complete, accurate and on-time delivery for your vinyl or aluminum windows and all of your window product needs. Follow him on Twitter

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