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Minnesota Co. Creates Hurricane-Tough Windows

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Picture this: an 8-foot long, two-by-four flying toward a window. That sort of thing happens in hurricane season and a Minnesota-based company is helping those people who have to deal with them.

Andersen Windows in Bayport, Minn. simulates that scenario to make sure windows in homes along the coasts prevail.

The methods used to test the window’s durability are very precise. The company uses an impact cannon to launch a very exact piece of wood at windows. Flying timber is used to simulate flying debris in extreme weather conditions.

A piece of wood, 8-feet-long and 9.5 pounds is loaded into the cannon at Andersen’s headquarters to make sure its Storm Watch windows work.

As an example, the wood was launched at a window measuring 5’6″ by 6’2″ at nearly 35 miles per hour, resulting in a pile of broken glass on the cement floor.

“The window did what it was supposed to do and that’s keep flying debris in a high wind situation from entering your home,” said Joe Brommer with Andersen Windows.

Andersen said the weight and speed of the wood is very important in testing the window’s strength. A layer of the window may have broken into pieces, but a more durable layer held its seal.

The impact cannon is only half the test. Windows along parts of the east and gulf coasts are held to higher standards to withstand hurricane force winds and flying debris. What’s left of the tested window is battered with gusts moving 200 mph.

“If you compromise the envelope of the structure you could do some serious damage to the home,” said Brommer. “You could lose your roof, and things could go catastrophically bad.”

The window will have to hold for 6-8 hours and withstand 9,000 gusts to past the test.

Andersen sells its Storm Watch line all over the U.S. and not just along the coasts.

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