75+ Ways To Lower Cooling Costs (& heating)

Without Upgrading Your HVAC System — Part 4

Part-4 Covers Windows & Exterior Doors. 

Click Here To Go To Part-1 Of This Article: Part-1 A/C Cleaning & Maintenance

1970's built home

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Typical Older DFW Home — Likely With Single-Pane Windows When New.

Section-4 Discusses:

  • How To Upgrade Existing Windows To Lower Cooling Costs.   
  • Modestly Priced Replacement Windows. 
  • Details About Noise-Reducing Windows. 
  • Exterior Doors’ Insulating Values And Storm-Doors Additional Insulating Merit.

Additional Articles Within This Section:

  • Impact-Resistant / Hurricane-Rated Windows — And Their Merit In Tornado-Prone Areas (like Texas).  
  • Hurricane-Rated Building ProductsAnd Their Merit In Tornado-Prone Areas (like Texas).   

Al’s Plumbing, in Plano, Texas Provides Full-Service Plumbing; Maintenance, Repairs, and Replacements For Every Plumbing Component In Your Home. We sell and install gas and electric water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in; Murphy, TX; Rowlette, TX; and Wylie, Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX, and northeastern Dallas County, TX with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s Today To Discuss Any Concerns Or Problems You Have With Your Home’s Plumbing. 

We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.

How To Lower Cooling Costs With Upgrades To Existing Windows 

TIP: Windows’ Energy-Efficiency Is Most Directly Related To How Much Heat Passes Through The Glass & Frame.

Windows Air Leakage Is Impactful Too.  TIP: The earlier windows (shown below) leak air, but that’s not their primary problem.

This YouTube Video Shows A Typical Older DFW Home’s Windows — With Single-Pane Glass & UNinsulated Aluminum Frame

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video Link

Shown: Typical Pre-2008 DFW Home Windows — Uninsulated Aluminum Frame & Single-Pane Glass. 

With Existing DFW Single-Pane Windows (like the one shown above)

You Can Lower Cooling Costs By Adding Solar Window-Film

TIP: In DFW:  The #1 Location For Solar-Film Is On West-Facing Windows (for summer).

TIP: In Warm Climates (Like DFW) Window-Film Is Installed On The Outside Of The Glass.

TIP: Solar Window-Film Darkens Rooms.  The Degree Of Darkening Is Based On Window-Film’s Shade.

Click On Image To: View Product, Read Details, or Purchase From

Image Source: Amazon Embedded Link

Adding Window-Film To A Single-Pane Window Provides

One Of The Benefits Of A Replacement Low-E Window

TIP: Low-E Windows Don’t Darken Rooms. 

TIP: For Windows With High Sun Exposure — Replacement Windows Typically Offer Optional Tinting.

photo of home windows from outside

Image Source: Shutterstock

Texas Building Code Requires: Windows Must Be Energy Star Rated.

Most replacement windows have Vinyl Frames.  Vinyl insulates better than metal.  Wood frames are also available in some brands.

TIP: An Uninsulated Vinyl Frame Has An Air-Gap Inside. The vinyl & gap make vinyl much more efficient than a metal window frame.

 How Add-On Solar-Window Films Help Lower Cooling Costs

Image Source:

Shown: Window Film Was Added To An Office Building

  • Adding Window-Film — is similar to windows that were tinted when made.
  • Window-Films Come In Several Shades.

The Darker A Window-Film’s Shade:

  • A. The less heat enters the home.
  • B. The less light enters the home.

All Shades Of Window Film:

  • Allow some of the sun’s light to pass through the film (how much sunlight depends on the window-film’s shade)
  • Block some of the sun’s heat to pass through the film (how much heat depends on the window-film’s shade)

Add-On Solar Window-Films

Lower Cooling Costs And Darken Rooms

  • Add-On Window Film is similar to windows with (optional) Tinted Glass.
  • Low E glass has a transparent coating.
  • Low-E allows All Visible Light to pass through the glass
  • Low-E filters out only Infrared Light.  Infrared light = Heat.  People can’t see infrared light.
  • Low-E block 40% TO 70% of the Heat that passes through standard window glass.
  • The actual % depends on the Low-E glass used.

Source:  International Association of Certified Home Inspectors —

TIP: Copy This Into Your Browser For A Chart Showing How Much Light Comes Through Various Shades Of Window-Films


AN EXAMPLE FROM THE Window-Films CHART Mentioned Above:

                              Visible Light Transmission       Solar Energy (heat) Rejection —  what lowers cooling costs.

Clear Glass                       89%                                                              14%

Film DN-35 Ext                   37%                                                               49%    DN-35E Reduces Light -52% & Reduces Heat -35% (vrs clear glass)

Film DN-20 Ext                  22%                                                               63%    DN-20E Reduces Light -67% & Reduces Heat -49% (vrs clear glass)

DN = Daylight Neutral (model) Window Film — Exterior Use Only

With Add-On Solar Window-Film

You Choose The Trade-Off Between Light Reduction (entering the room) AND Lower Cooling Costs. 

TIP: In Warm Climates — Add Window Film To The Outside Of Any Type Of Window Glass To Lower Cooling Costs

  • In Warm climates (like DFW) — the goal is to reduce heat entering a home from outdoors — so the film goes outside.
  • In Cold climates (like MN) — the goal is to reduce heat exiting a home to outdoors — so the film goes outside.
  • In Warm Climates: If Window- film is applied inside double-pane glass, it causes tremendous heat build-up between the glass panes.
  • Excess Heat can expand break the seals between the panes.
  • If this occurs, the glass leaks moisture between the panes, then it fogs. The glass panels can’t be repaired, they must be replaced.

TIP: Before installing window film to double-pane glass, check your windows’ warranty.  Some warranties are voided if solar-film is added.

How Much Can Window-Film Help Lower Cooling Costs?

TIP: Applying window film correctly is difficult.  Air bubbles must be moved to the edge to get rid of them.

  • Single-Pane Glass (like what was installed in most newly-built, Pre-2009 DFW Homes):
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): = .71   Nearly 3/4 (71%) of the sun’s heat passes through the clear glass.
  • With Window Film Added: SHGC can be as low as Just Over 1/2 (55%) of the sun’s heat passes through the darkest window film.
  • Double-Pane Glass (not Low-E): 
  • SHGC =.63  Nearly 2/3 (63%) of the sun’s heat passes through the glass. 
  • With Window Film Added: SHGC = as low as .45 / 45%
  • Double-Pane + Low-E + Argon-Gas Glass. 
  • SHGC = .50  *4  1/2 (50%) of the sun’s heat passes through the glass.
  • WITH WINDOW-Film (or optional Tinting): SHGC = as low as .20 / 20%
  • Results depend on how dark the window-film’s or tinting is.

In Warm Climates:

  • TIP: You don’t need window-film on Low-E Glass — for North, South, & East-Facing windows.
  • TIP: For West-Facing Low-E Windows — adding window-film may have merit.
  • TIP: If buying New windows — consider adding (optional) tinting to west-facing windows.

Click Here To Learn About VT Rating Visible Transmittance (VT) Ratings Explained

(If Link Doesn’t Work — Copy This Below Into Your Browser:)

  • BOTH Window-Film (added to existing windows) OR Tinted Glass (with new windows) lower cooling costs.
  • BOTH Window-Film (added to existing windows) OR Tinted Glass (with new windows) darken the room.
  • In DFW: With West-facing windows, you will lower cooling costs the most.
  • It may be worth having less light — to reduce a west-facing room from getting uncomfortable in the afternoon & evening.
  • You decide if the less light & less heat trade-off is worth it.

*4 Source:

photo of home windows from outside

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown Above: Low-E Glass With No Tinting

tinted windows in a house

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Low-E Glass PLUS Tinting

TIP: From Outdoors — Tinted Windows Typically Appear Greenish (like shown above).  A few manufacturers offer blue.

In Cold ClimatesWindows Insulating Performance Is Rated By U-Value.

snow on trees

Image Source: Shutterstock

  • U Value: = measures the insulating performance of windows.
  • U Value: is the more important insulating measurement for the Northern 1/3 of the U.S.  
  • Lower U Value = Better Insulating Performance.

In Cold Climates:

  • On North-Facing Windows — Upgrading the glass may be worth the cost.
  • On East/West/South-Facing Windows —  Upgrading the glass is not likely worth the cost.

In Warm Climates

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) Indicates A Window’s Ability To Block The Sun’s Heat

And Its Ability To Lower Cooling Costs.

sunny dat

Image Source: Shutterstock

  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) measures the % of the sun’s heat passing through the glass to indoors.
  • SHGC is the more important measurement for the Southern 1/3 of the U.S.
  • Lower SHGC = better-insulating performance against the sun’s heat.
  • TIP:  On West-Facing Windows — Upgrading the glass may be worth the cost.
  • TIP:  On East/North/South-Facing Windows —  Upgrading the glass is likely not worth the cost.

Copy Below Into Your Browser To See The U.S. Dept. Of Energy’s U-Value And SHGC– Based On Home Location. 


Does Your Texas Home Have Low-E Windows?

Texas Homes Built Before May 2002 — Likely Had Single-Pane Glass + Aluminum-Frame Windows When New.

1970's built home

Image Source: Shutterstock

Texas Homes Built After May 2002 — Likely Have Double-Pane (but not Low-E) Windows When New.

newly built home

Source: Houston Association Of Realtors

Texas Homes Built After June 2011 Likely Have Low-E Windows When New.

photo of a new home

Image Source:

To Skip This Section — Scroll Down To The Next Double Lines

state of texas flag

Image Source:

Texas Energy-Related Building Codes History

In 2001 — Texas Adopted The 2000 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) As It’s Statewide Energy Code. 

TIP: Typically Home Builders Meet, But Don’t Exceed, Current Building Codes.

  • In June 2011, Texas adopted the 2009 IECC.
  • The 2009 IECC Windows SHGC Requirement = .30  (.30 = up to 30% of the sun’s heat may pass through the glass).
  • SHGC .30 Requires Low-E Glass.
  • Before June 2011 — Texas did not require Low-E glass.


  • Today Texas Uses The 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
  • 2015 IECC Windows SHGC Requirement = .025 or lower (.025 = up to 25% of the sun’s heat may pass through the glass).


Energy Star

Energy Star Requirements For Windows SHGC In Texas (except the panhandle)

  • SHGC .025 or lower (.025 = up to 25% of the sun’s heat may pass through the glass).
  • YES, Texas requires windows must meet Energy Star requirements (except the panhandle).
  • In 2023, an Energy Tax Credit of up to $600 (or 30% — whichever is lower) is available for Energy Star Rated Windows purchases.

Energy Star Source:


  • SHGC:  The lower the SHGC = better insulating performance against the sun’s heat.
  • U Value: The lower the U Value = better insulating performance in Cold Climates.
  • Single-Pane Glass: 
  • SHGC =.79 (79% of the sun’s heat passes through the glass to indoors).
  • U Value = 1.25 
  • Double-Pane Glass & No Low-E coating.
  • SHGC = .76  (76% of the sun’s heat passes through the glass).
  • U Value = .48 
  • Double-Pane Glass + Low-E Coating.  These became required in Texas in 2011.
  • SHGC = .30 (30% of the sun’s heat passes through the glass).
  • U Value = .30

Source: Page 6.

Triple-Pane Glass

  • Triple-Pane Glass + 1 Low-E coating.
  • SHGC: = .25 
  • U Value = .25


  • Triple-Pane Glass + 2 Low-E coatings.
  • SHGC: = <.25 
  • U Value = <.22


End Of Texas Energy-Related Building Codes History.

To Skip This Section — Scroll Down To The Next Double Lines

busy road

Image Source: Shutterstock

Can Replacement Windows Help Reduce Outdoor Noise Inside The Home?   

Not Much…

Noise Reduction is measured in Sound Transmission Class. The higher the STC the better.

  •   – 3 STC change — is perceptible to our ears
  •   – 5 STC change is perceived by our ears — as 3/4 as loud.
  • -10 STC change is perceived by our ears — as 1/2 as loud.

  • STC-34: Common home 4″ exterior wall.
  • STC-38: Common home 6″ exterior wall.  TIP: In the northern 1/3 of U.S. — homes typically have 2×6″ exterior walls.
  • STC-27: 1/8″ Single-Pane Glass.
  • STC-27: Double-Pane, Low-E Glass.
  • TIP: Double-Pane glass (versus single pane) won’t reduce noise
  • A vinyl frame (vrs metal) will reduce noise a little.
  • STC-34: Double-Pane, Low-E Glass with 2 different glass thicknesses (such as 1/4″ glass outside + 1/8″ glass inside).
  • STC-34: Triple-Pane Glass
  • STC-35: Dual-Pane, Low-E Glass — with the outer glass laminated.
  • Note: These are impact-resistant windows — that are often required in Hurricane Zones.
  • Vinyl or wood window frames block sound better than aluminum.
  • Aluminum actually conducts sound.

TIP: Noise enters homes through air leaks.

  • The More Airtight A Window Is — The Better It Reduces Sound.
  • Sliding windows (up/down OR side-to-side) are the least airtight.
  • Casement windows have a rubber seal around all 4 sides — and close like a refrigerator door.
  • They are the most airtight window — that can be opened.   They are common in the northern 1/3 of the U.S.
  • Fixed (non-opening) windows are the most airtight.  Example: A sliding-glass door typically has 1 fixed + 1 sliding side.


TIP: If You Live In A Noisey Area — Your Best Window Glass Options Are

A. Triple-Pane Low-E Glass  -OR-

B. Dual-Pane, Low-E, + The Outside Glass Is Laminated.

Casement Windows (described just above) Will Reduce Noise A Little — As Compared To Sliding (up/down or side-to-side) windows.


  • Laminated glass is two panes with a layer of vinyl-film between them.
  • This window pane has 3 layers of sound insulation.
  • There are 3 layers of glass + 1 layer of vinyl-film + an air-space between the panes.
  • The STC rating of this window is STC-35.  This STC rating is the same as an Exterior Wall.
  • A standard Low-E glass panel is STC-27.  That’s +8 points.  +10 points is perceived by our ears as 1/2 the noise.


  • The outer, laminated glass pane offers superior glass-break performance.
  • The laminated glass pane will likely stay in one piece, as the broken pieces of glass stay stuck to the vinyl.
  • The laminated glass pane is less likely to form a hole if it breaks.
  • This provides more safety during a tornado or break-in.

End Of: “Can Windows Help With Noise-Reduction.”

To Skip This Section — Scroll Down To The Next Double Lines

Insulating Ability Of Exterior Doors To Lower Cooling Costs

home exterior door

Image Souce: Shutterstock

Insulating Ability Of Exterior Doors

  • DFW homes built since around 2010 (and perhaps earlier) — typically have an insulated metal door on the front.   R-Value = 5-6
  • Some may have an insulated fiberglass doorR-Value = 5-6  
  • There are few (if any) higher R-Value metal or fiberglass doors.
  • DFW homes built before around 2010 — typically have a solid wood exterior door on the front.  R-Value = 3.
  • More expensive DFW homes often have a wood exterior door on the front.

Increase The Insulating Ability Of An Existing Wood Exterior Door To Help Lower Cooling Costs

Consider adding a storm door.  Adding a storm door (cost around $250-350) — is generally a good investment if your existing wood door is old but still in good condition.  This is an inexpensive way to increase R-Value and help protect a wood entry door from the weather

Storm doors add +R-1 To +R-2 So there’s little energy savings.  An exception might be if the front of the house is north-facing.  Most readers understand “wind-chill” — and blocking cold north winds from blowing on a wood entry door has some merit.

TIP: You can increase a storm door’s R-Value with Low-E glass.  Low-E also also helps protect a wood door from the sun’s damaging rays.

TIP: A storm door creates an air-space between it and the exterior door.  This may reduce outdoor noise entering the home.

There are also many Security Storm Doors with metal bars or scrollwork.  This may be of interest, particularly if you would like to leave the storm door open.

From an insulating perspective, adding a storm door to a modern foam-core insulated (metal or fiberglass) door — isn’t worth the expense.  The increased insulation value is small and these types of doors don’t need protection from the weather.   A storm door may have merit if the entry door is north-facing.

End Of Entry Door & Storm Door Section 

Replacement Windows For Texas Homes

To Skip This Section: Scroll Down To The Next Triple Lines.

opened window

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Replacement Window (brand unknown)

You Can Notably Lower Cooling Costs (and heating) — By Replacing Single-Pane Glass + Metal Frame Windows.

Window World’s Modestly Priced, Vinyl, Double-Pane, Low-E + Argon Gas, Energy Star Rated Windows

Window World Of Dallas

Note: Al’s Plumbing Does Not Accept Money For Referrals.

(This website’s author installed Window World windows in 2 different homes.)

Window World’s 2022 JD Power 2022 Customers Satisfaction Study

The 2022 JD Power 2022 U.S. Windows & Patio Doors Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 2,833 customers who purchased windows or patio doors within the previous 12 months. The study was fielded from December 2021 to March 2022, with additional fielding in August 2022.

In The Retail Segment (homeowner buys directly from the Retailer.  Window World DFW has 2 showrooms):

  • #1 Window World Score=885 / 1000 total points available.
  • #2 Renewal By Andersen Score 859 / 1000
  • #3 Home Depot 845 / 1000


Window World Offers Optional Colors

Including 5 Interior Colors — 3 With Wood-Grain Appearance

PLUS- 9 Exterior Colors.

Window World Dallas’ Website Says: “Revolutionary Coloring Technique use on our windows keeps them looking bold and beautiful for years to come.”  Use the link below to see all color choices.

Windows Color Source:

Window World Has 3 Windows Series


  • 2000 Series: * Not Available In Texas * (due to Energy Star-Rated Glass building code requirements).
  • Frame Is Described As: “Slimline design frame” — this is a thinner frame than 4000 Series
  • Have Dual-Pane glass — but not Low-E glass.
  • The 2000 Series is available in areas where Energy Star windows are not required.

  • 4000 Series — A Thicker Frame than 2000 Series.
  • Frame Is Described As: “Narrow Silhouette Frame.”
  • It can hold the (included) Dual-Pane OR (optional) Triple-Pane glass.
  • Included Glass: SolarZone Dual-Pane, Low-E + Argon Gas Glass.  Meets Energy Star glass requirements.
  • Optional Glass: SolarZone TG2 EliteTriple-Pane, Low-E + Argon Gas.  Slightly Exceeds Energy Star glass requirements.
  • Uninsulated Vinyl Frame — R-2.0.
  • 6000 SeriesA Thicker Frame Than 4000 Series.
  • Frame Is Described As: “An Extra-Thick Frame”.  +  Frame is Described As: “High-Density Foam inside the frame”.
  • Included Glass: SolarZone Triple-Pane, Low-E + Argon Gass.  Exceeds Energy Star glass requirements.
  • Optional Glass: SolarZone TG2 EliteTriple-Pane, Low-E + Argon Gas.  Exceeds Energy Star glass requirements.
  • Insulated Vinyl Frame — R-2.3.
  • Dave Perich at Louisiana Pacific (LP) said: “Tested at sub-zero outdoor temperatures –The interior surface of a foam-filled vinyl frame was +3°F warmer than an uninsulated vinyl frame. ***

*** Source (Frame):

Window World Has Several Glass Upgrades

As with most replacement window retailers — Window World offers a dizzying array of glass options to choose from.  Below we compared the Insulating Performance of

  • The Base/Included glass (SolarZone model)
  • Upgraded glass (SolarZone TG2 Elite™ model).

TIP: When considering upgraded glass, compare how each glass performs.

TIP: The difference in insulating performance isn’t much.

  • SHGC: Solar Heat Gain Coefficient.  Measures the percentage of the sun’s heat (passing through the glass), to indoors.
  • U-Factor:  Measures the percentage of indoor heat (passing through the glass) to outdoors.

Should You Buy Window World’s GLASS Upgrades — Based On Their Insulating Performance?

A Triple-Pane Glass + 2 Low-E Coatings Performs Only Around +5% better than a Double-Pane Glass + 1 Low-E Coating.

TIP: Upgraded Glass Options — Provide Negligible Increased Insulating Performance.

TIP: An Exception Might Be For West-Facing Windows.

  • Upgraded glass, on west-facing windows, has the biggest impact on energy costs + increased comfort in west-facing rooms.

TIP: For west-facing windows — consider adding Optional Tinting.


Should You Buy Window World’s Upgraded Vinyl FRAME (6000 Series) — Based On Insulating Performance?

The 4000 Series frame (without insulation) has an R2.0 value.

The 6000 Series Frame (with foam-insulation) has an R-2.3 insulating value.

TIP: The Upgraded 6000 Frame Provides Negligible Increased Insulating Performance.


Most Replacement Window Brands Offer These “Included” Or “Optional” Features 

Energy Star Rated Windows Lower Cooling Costs The Most — And Are Required By Texas Building Codes.

Argon Gas Filled (included if Energy Star Rated):

  • Argon gas between the 2 panes of low-e glass.
  • Energy Star rated requires these two features.
  • Argon gas is denser than air.
  • Heat & cold pass through Argon Gas more slowly than air.

Tinted Glass (always optional):

  • Tinting enhances a window’s ability to block the sun’s heat.
  • This can be a valuable feature on west-facing windows in DFW homes.
  • Tinted windows often have a Visual Transmittance (VT) of Light = 60%.
  • This means about 60% of the outdoor light makes it through the glass.
  • Clear glass VT = 90%.

Tempered Glass (always optional):

  • Tempered glass is stronger than regular glass.
  • Tempered Glass Breaking Stress = 10,000 Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI). *4
  • Regular Glass Breaking Stress = 1,000 Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI). **
  • If regular glass breaks — it shatters into sharp shards of glass.
  • If tempered glass breaks — it breaks small, relatively safe cubes.
  • If broken, tempered glass; cubes interlock with each other.
  • This keeps tempered glass from falling apart as easily as regular glass.

 The 2018 International Residential (building) Code Requires Tempered Glass If All 4 Of the Criteria Apply:

  • Glass size is more than 9 square feet.
  • The top of the glass is more than 36 inches above the floor
  • The bottom of the glass is less than 18 inches above the floor.
  • There’s a 36-inch walkway alongside the glass.

Locations Where Tempered Glass Is Required

  • Near stairs
  • In bathrooms
  • Near a swimming pool
  • Doors With Glass — anywhere in the home.
  • Windows or sidelights within 24 inches of a door.

End Of Replacement Windows Section

To Skip This Section — Scroll Down To The Next Double Lines

Hurricane-Rated / Impact-Resistant Windows 

+ Additional Hurricane-Rated Building Products (discussed in this section)

Help Protect Your Home From Wind-Damage Caused By Hurricanes.

TIP: Everything In This Section Applies Equally To Tornado-Prone Areas Of The U.S.

two tornadoes in Kansas

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: 2 Tornados At The Same Location In Kansas

TIP: A Tornado Behaves Much Like A Hurricane — Both Have A Strong Updraft Near Their Center.

TIP: In Tornado-Prone Areas (like Texas) Hurricane Doors, Windows, Garage Doors, and Straps & Ties Offer More Protection From Damage

While it may seem odd to discuss Hurricane-Rated Building Products on a website originating from Dallas, TX — The Northern Third Of Texas (includes DFW) — Is In The Highest Risk-Category For Tornados (details below).   Additionally, hurricanes hit the Texas coastline.  In Aug 2017, Hurricane Harvey causes catastrophic damage in the Houston, TX area.

TIP: Hurricane-Rated / Impact Resistant Windows Will Also Help Lower Cooling Costs More Because Of Their Design (details later).

Copy This Below Into Your Browser To See A Wind Zones Map Of The US:

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Wind Zone Map

Then — Click On Wind Zones Map

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Wind Zone Map depicts the Frequency & Strength Of Extreme WindstormsAreas within Zone IV (red) — are at the highest risk of extreme windstorms.  And, any individual windstorm can reach wind speeds as high as 250 mph.  Parts of all of 18 States are within Zone IV.

Most Of The Northern 1/3 Of Texas Is Within Zone IV (red) — Highest Risk

Tornadoes Are Rated By Having Produced A 3-Second Wind-Gust Speed Of:

  • EF0: 65-85 mph
  • EF1: 86-110 mph
  • EF2: 111-135 mph
  • EF3: 136-165 mph
  • EF4: 166-200 mph
  • EF5: 201+ mph


Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Hurricane Image With Colors Reflecting Intensity

Hurricanes Are Rated As:

  • Category 1: 74-95 mph
  • Category 2: 96-110 mph
  • Category 3: 111-129 mph
  • Category 4: 130-156 mph
  • Category 5: 157+ mph

An EF-5 (201+ mph) Tornado Produces Notably More Wind Than A Category-5 (157+mph) Hurricane.

During Tornados & Hurricanes

A Home’s Roof Is Its First Line Of Defense

If An Exterior Door, Window, Or Garage Door Is Breached — The Roof Often Comes Off.

Breached: (Exterior Doors & Garage Door) Are Blown Open OR Windows, Exterior Doors, Or Garage Doors Are Pierced By Flying Debris.

home roof removed by tornado

Shown: A Tornado Rippped The Roof Off This Home.

Image Source: Shutterstock

  • Inside A Home — Both Tornados & Hurricanes create a tremendous Air Pressure Differential (between outdoors & indoors).
  • A Strong Air Pressure-Differentialcan rip a house’s roof off. 
  • Both Tornadoes & Hurricanes Have A Strong Updraft Near Their Center.
  • A Strong Updraft — can pull the roof off a house (common in stronger storms).
  • Without The Roof — exterior walls no longer have the horizontal support provided by the roof.
  • With the roof gone, the home is typically destroyed.

The Good News:  Adding Hurricane Straps (details later in this article) — can help secure a home’s roof to its exterior walls.  With this reinforcement, the home is notably more wind-resistant and less likely to lose its roof.

TIP: Hurricane Straps Can Be Added To Existing Homes Too.

This YouTube Video Shows Tornado-Winds Tearing A Home’s Roof Off.

(At Time: 3:50 / 10:13)

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video Link

Shown: Home’s Roof Being Torn Off The House During A Tornado.

This YouTube Video Below Shows A Home’s Roof Being Torn Off During A HURRICANE.

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video Link

Shown: Home’s Roof Being Torn Off The House During A Hurricane.

Hurricane-Rated / Impact-Resistant Windows Help Protect Your Home 

From Wind-Damage Caused By Hurricanes & Tornados.

Hurricane Windows & Impact-Resistant Windows are quite similar — as both protect from flying debris and wind.  Both have laminated glass panes (details just below).  The frames are made of; metal, vinyl, or wood.  Hurricane Windows are built to meet specific building codes & local requirements for High-Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ).

These windows can also be built to meet Texas Wind Storm Insurance Association (TWIA) Requirements — for Texas coastal homeowners who must get Wind & Hail Insurance through TWIA.  

1. TWIA insurance is only available for homes that can’t be insured with typical Home Owners Insurance.

2. A TWIA Windstorm Certificate of Compliance is required for the property to be eligible for TWIA coverage.

Details At:

Hurricane-Rated, Impact-Resistant Windows

Have Tempered + Laminated Glass 

Laminated Is A Vinyl Sheet Between The Glass Panes

When Damaged, Laminated Glass Typically Does Not Allow A Hole To Form.  This prevents water & wind intrusion into the home.

TIP: Texas Requires Hurricane-Rated Products In 14 Coastal Counties (details later in this article).

broken laminated glass

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Broken Laminated Glass.  Laminated Glass Breaks Into Cubes — Which Mostly Stay In Place.

  • Laminated glass starts out as 2 pieces of tempered glass.
  • Then a layer of vinyl is added between the 2 glass layers.
  • If broken, laminated-glass stays (mostly to completely) together.
  • The cubes of broken glass stick to the vinyl and mostly don’t typically fall.
  • Hurricane-Rated Glass’ laminate layer is strong enough to reduce or prevent the laminating window-film from tearing due to high winds or airborne-debris damage.

Hurricane-Rated Outward-Swing Entry Doors

Image Source:

TIP: If You Can See The Hinges From Outdoors — It’s An Outward-Swing Door

  • Swing Outward.  This prevents them from blowing inward (like an inward-swing door) during high winds.

Are Rated For:

  • Wind-Borne Debris (WBD) of 140+ mph. They must be tested & certified that they provide this level of protection.
  • These doors withstand airborne objects flying at 140+ mph.
  • A Water Infiltration test is also performed.
  • WBD doors are required along nearly all of the Gulf Of Mexico coastline PLUS Georgia, North, and South Carolina.
  • Check the source below for a graphical image.

Are Rated For:

  • High-Velocity Hurricane Zones (HVHZ).
  • A Water Infiltration test is also performed.

In Texas: All Door and Window products, sold in 14 designated county coastal catastrophe areas (list below), must be hurricane impact tested, certified and labeled.

Texas’ 14 Coastal Catastrophe Counties; Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio & Willacy.


TIP: How To Reinforce An Existing Inward-Swing Entry Door

Reinforcing Inward-Swing Exterior Doors

Makes Them Much Harder To Kicked Open During A Home Invasion AND Blown Open During High Winds 

This Common Strike-Plate Allows The Door Knob’s Latch To Move Slightly Into The Door’s Trim.

Image Source:

Shown: Door Knob Strike Plate

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase From

Image Source:

Shown: Pre-Hung Exterior Door Diagram

Nearly all new doors are “Pre-Hung” — which means the door is already installed inside the frame (Frame Is: The trim around all 4 sides of the door).  The image above shows both the door and the surrounding frame.

This YouTube Video Demonstrates Replacing A Pre-Hung Exterior Door

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video Link

Shown: DIY Exterior Door Replacement

TIP: At Time: 5:00 / 6:49

You Can See The Long Screws Used To Secure The Door To The Lumber Inside The Walls.

TIP: The Screws For Strike Plates Are Very Short.  They Screw Only Into The Frame Around The Door.

Then, The Frame Is Secured To Lumber Inside The Walls.

Buy Longer ScrewsTo Secure The Strike-Plate To The Lumber Inside The Walls.

NOTE: This Website’s Author Does This — And These Screws Stopped A Home Invasion.

This Photo Shows The Lumber (inside walls) — Where A Door Will Be (to the right of the windows).

home under construction framed doorway

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Framed Doorway In Home Under Construction

Replacing The Strike Plate’s Short Screws With Long Screws

Makes The Door Much Harder To Kick In During A Home-Invasion.


Makes An Inward-Swing Door Much Less Likely To Be Blown Open During High Winds.

Image Source:

Shown: Wood Deck Screws

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase From

TIP: It Takes A Powerful Drill To Drive Screws This Long.  A Common Household Drill Isn’t Strong Enough.

For Even More Reinforcement

This Strike Plate Secures Both The Door Knob And The Deadbolt

 NINE Screws Secure This Stike-Plate.  Standard Strike-Plates Have Only 2 Screws. 

Image Source:

Shown: Double Strike Plate

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase From

Hurricane-Rated Garage Door

photo of a new home

Image Source:

Shown: A New Home With Living Space Above The Garage

On a much larger scale than an Entry Door — if a hurricane or tornado blows the garage door in — an immediate air pressure-differential occurs.  If there is a separate roof on the garage — that roof will likely be ripped off.  If there is living space above the garage (which is common in Texas) — the damage becomes much worse.

Hurricane-Rated Garage Doors have considerable additional metal bracing on the interior side.  This bracing makes the garage door rigid enough to withstand winds of up to 140/150/160 MPH.  TIP: The actual MPH required — is determined by the local building code where the home is located.

Click Here To See The Interior Side Of A Hurricane-Rated Garage Door: Interior Side Of Hurricane-Rated Garage Door

(If Link Doesn’t WorkCopy This Into Your Browser:)

How To Make A Home’s Structure More Wind-Damage Resistant

Texas Building Codes For Hurricane Straps & Ties — In Hurricane-Prone (coastal) Area

Texas has had 47 landfalling hurricanes since 1900.  And, any given 50-mile stretch of Texas coastline, will experience a hurricane every 6 years on average.  Approximately 1/3 of Texas’ population lives in coastal areas

  • In Texas: All Door and Window products, sold in 14 designated county coastal catastrophe areas (list below), must be hurricane impact tested, certified, and labeled.
  • Texas’ 14 Coastal Catastrophe Counties; Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio & Willacy.


In Certain Areas of the U.S.  — New homes must include “Hurricane Straps” (shown in the 2nd photo below) — which help secure the roof to the exterior walls.  This makes it more difficult for the roof to be torn off.

The lower side of the hurricane clip is attached to the framing (the boards) within the exterior walls.  The upper side is attached to the attic     Roof-Truss (a truss is “A-Shaped” – see photo just below).

roof trusses

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Attic Trusses.  Trusses are horizontal at the bottom and angled on each side of the top.

(Note: the metal reinforcements shown above are not related to hurricane protection.)

Common Types Of Hurricane Straps & Ties 

  • Roof Strap: Helps secure a home’s Roof  TO the Exterior Walls (one shown below)
  • Wall Tie: Helps secure a home’s Walls TO the Foundation.
  • Anchor Tie: Helps secure a home’s Foundation TO the Ground.

TIP: Hurricane Roof Straps — Are An Equally Valuable Addition To Homes In Tornado-Prone Areas.

Shown: Hurricane Roof Strap (also known as: “Hurricane Clip”) — Secures Roof  TO Walls

Image Source: Link

TIP: Click Here To See The Strap Above Installed (2nd photo): Hurricane Strap Installed

(If Link Doesn’t Work — Copy This Into Your Browser):

Click Here To See A Hurricane Wall Tie (Secures Exterior Walls TO The Foundation)

Top Photo: Hurricane Wall Tie (connects walls to the foundation) Top Photo

(If Link Doesn’t Work — Copy This Into Your Browser):

Click Here To See A Hurricane Anchor Tie Diagram (Secures Foundation TO the Ground):

Hurricane Anchor Tie For Home (not for a mobile home)

(If Link Doesn’t WorkCopy This Into Your Browser:)

TIP: There Are Also Hurricane Anchor Ties For Mobile Homes:

(If Link Doesn’t WorkCopy This Into Your Browser:)

End Of Hurricane-Rated Building Products Section 

This was Part 4 (Windows & Exterior Doors)

of our Multi-Part Article Describing 75+ Ways to Lower Cooling Costs 

Without Upgrading Your HVAC System (and many also lower heating costs).  

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (owned by American Standard), and Coleman HVAC (same as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full-service plumbing maintenance, repairs, and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in northeastern Dallas, TX; Richardson, TX; and Garland, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin County TX with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.