Windows are designed to let light and fresh air in, as well as provide a glimpse into the outside world, however, they also play a crucial safety role for residents. This week is National Window Safety week and we put together some information on window safety features and how you can practice window safety in your home.
There are many optional hardware components that can enhance – or limit – the functionality of the window. When choosing windows for your home, make sure to discuss safety hardware with your contractor or distributor.
Window Operating Control Devices (WOCD)
A WOCD is a mechanism that engages when a window is closed and will prevent a window from opening past 4”. These are designed to prevent the likelihood of an accidental fall from the window by reducing the opening space. When the WOCD is disengaged, the homeowner will be able to fully open the window.
Nite vents are a popular way to limit the space a single- double-hung window can open. Installed on the upper sash, Nite vents prevent the lower sash from opening past 4” once engaged.
An egress window is a window that provides a large enough opening for an easy exit or entry in case of emergency and is defined by local building codes. Egress hardware is added to applicable sizes to allow the window to open wide enough to meet egress requirements.
Safety Locking Hardware
One of the most effective ways in preventing accidental falls from a window or unwarranted entry into the home is by ensuring they are locked when not in use. Some modern windows allow for the windows to be opened and tilted inward for easy cleaning through the use of multi-point locking hardware.
Our patented Tilt-n-Lock hardware comes standard on our Cambridge and S-Series single- and double-hung windows and is a multi-point locking hardware which allows for easy one-handed operation. Our Tilt-n-Lock allows homeowners to clean the inside and outside of their windows safely from the inside of their home. It also ensures clear indication into the current locking status of your product. Additionally, our Tilt-n-Lock houses added reinforcement in the meeting rail, providing added support where it is needed most.
Safety Glass Packages
In addition to the safety hardware listed above, windows can also be built using various safety glass packages.
Tempered glass – commonly referred to as safety glass – is created through the rapid heating and cooling of a standard sheet of annealed glass. The resulting glass is approximately 5 times stronger than annealed glass and if broken, it fractures into rounded cubes instead of jagged shards. The rounded cubes, also referred to as dice, may still be a little sharp, but will not cause any lacerations that broken annealed glass may cause.
Tempered glass is standard in patio doors and is commonly used in high-traffic areas as a safety precaution. Tempered glass is also available as an upgrade on all Viwinco products.
Comprised of a thin layer of polyvinyl butyral sandwiched between two clear glass lites, the laminated glass layer is designed to protect the building envelope from being penetrated by airborne projectiles during an extreme storm. When struck by a heavy force, the laminated glass may shatter, but will remain intact due to the strong PVB interlayer.
While commonly used throughout coastal regions and areas prone to extreme weather patterns, laminated glass can be beneficial in any location. Being certified to withstand Missile Level D impact testing, laminated glass is also an exceptional preventative measure against forced entry from an intruder.
Here is a quick list of tips to ensure that you and your family are practicing safe window practices in your home.
- Windows should never be nailed or painted shut. In case of a fire, a window may be your best or only escape route.
- Window screens are designed to keep bugs and debris out, not to keep children in. Children should be supervised at all times around open windows whether they have a screen or not.
- Refrain from putting furniture in front of windows as they can allow small children to climb up to the window and possibly fall out.
- Keep windows closed and locked when not in use.
- Install WOCD hardware to limit the window’s opening.
While this article was created to spread safety awareness through National Window Safety week, accidents do occur unexpectedly and these safety measures should be practiced year-round. To kick off National Window Safety Week here at Viwinco, we all took a pledge to keep safety a top priority in 2019 and celebrated with some new Viwinco tape measures!