Opening your windows and doors during a hurricane allows wind to more easily enter your home and lift the roof off your house.
Before people evacuate ahead of a hurricane, they often prepare their homes to give it the best chance of surviving high winds and floodwater.
Kyley asked VERIFY about the truth behind an old tip that you should open your doors and windows during a hurricane to keep dangerous pressure from building up inside your home.
Should you open windows and doors during a hurricane?
No, you should not open doors and windows during a hurricane. Doing so will not relieve air pressure in your home, but it will put your house more at risk of damage.
WHAT WE FOUND
Opening windows or doors during a hurricane is “perhaps the biggest mistake you could make,” says Storm Tight Windows, a hurricane impact window company. That’s because hurricane-force winds can enter your home through the window and then look for a way out — and could blow off your roof in the process.
In the past, it was a common practice to crack open windows during a tornado, but you should no longer abide by that practice, American Family Insurance says.
The rationale behind opening your windows during a tornado or hurricane likely stems from a belief that houses can lose their roofs during such storms because of a buildup of pressure in the home, McGill University’s Office for Science and Society says.
“If our homes were wide-open boxes and we could open up large openings on both the windward and leeward sides, much of the wind would blow right through, putting less pressure on the house’s structure,” McGill University says. “But our homes are not wide-open boxes. Hallways, doors, closets, nooks, etc., mean that wind entering the house cannot blow directly through and instead will hit walls and other structures.”
In fact, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) says you should close all of your interior doors, too, not just your exterior doors and windows. Doing so can compartmentalize the pressure into smaller areas, reducing the force on the roof of a 1,400 square foot single-story home by 30%, IBHS says.
You should keep your garage door closed, too, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says. A lot of wind can enter your home through an opening as large as the garage door, so that puts your home and your roof even more at risk.
Finally, keeping your doors and windows closed doesn’t just protect your roof.
“This advice also ignores one of the most significant causes of damage to both property and persons during storms—wind-borne debris,” McGill University says. “With hurricane-force winds, anything from a rock to a roof tile can become an extremely dangerous projectile.”
Closed stormproof doors and windows might be able to keep debris from flying into your home, destroying your things, and possibly injuring you or worse.
RELATED: No, homeowners and renters insurance doesn’t typically cover flood damage from hurricanes
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Alice J. Roden started working for Trending Insurance News at the end of 2021. Alice grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. A writer with a vast insurance industry background Alice has help with several of the biggest insurance companies. Before joining Trending Insurance News, Alice briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers home, renters and other property insurance stories.