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Window Performance in a West Coast Climate

In The News

Strong storms that bring heavy rain and gusty winds are a reality of West Coast living.

Our latest segment with CTV explores tips on dealing with leaks and the effectiveness of windows during a winter cold snap.

How can homeowners be sure their windows are up for the storm?

In British Columbia, we’re all too familiar with that classic pineapple express that blows in during those cold winter months. This can sometimes blow rain in at a 45-degree angle, jeopardizing our roof overhangs ability and as a result, our windows get soaked. The good news is that we can be prepared.  Because we manufacture our windows locally, we can build our windows for the local climate, which is one of the wettest in the world. We put our Windows through simulation testing based on our local requirements and climate, ensuring their effectiveness during these tougher months.

On average, British Columbia experiences over 1200 millimetres of rain in a year as well as wind gusts of up to 120 km/hour along the coast and beyond. These numbers are the reason our testing is imperative.

Tell us more about the testing and the device that you use to simulate the climate?   

We are putting our Windows through a Category 1 hurricane-force wind rain test. It simulates 8 inches of rain per hour with a 120-kilometre wind speed.  This is forcing the window to manage the water. The goal is to keep the water on the outside of the window.

It’s important to understand that windows aren’t waterproof but they’re designed to manage water. With this test, water will fill up in the window system but will also drain out through a series of drainage holes.  A window that passes the test is one that will drain water faster. The results will verify that the windows will perform in our coastal environment. This test booth is running throughout the day and we are evaluating random samples that are produced daily.  

This test is fairly extreme, why so much water? 

We throw everything at the window during this simulation. The test we run is a standardized test and only lasts 25 minutes.  What we are trying to do is simulate 50 years of exposure into a 25-minute test.  

Windows don’t just go into single-family homes, they are in high-rises, exposed townhomes, condos and more. This test allows us to see how far we can go and as a result, install windows in a variety of homes. The windows we install in a high-rise building are the same we install in a single-family home. The results of this test allow our team to analyze and evaluate how a window will perform over the next 50 years. 

For homeowners who have older leaky windows, what are some temporary solutions and how long can they stick with that before they see serious problems?

The first thing you need to determine is if the leaky window is leaking water into the wall below or not.  What you don’t want is water damaging the wall below the window.  If water is only leaking in through the joints to the inside, then resealing the glass to the frame with silicone will help. You can also replace the gaskets and weather stripping on the frame so they are air and watertight.  Most of these materials are available at your local hardware store.

Keep the drainage paths clean. These areas can fill up with junk and debris so flushing those out with a bottle of water will ensure the drainage path will do its job during the next rainfall.

During the cold weather, you can detect window inefficiencies by:

  • Testing for drafts using wet hands by the window
  • Inspect weather stripping for wear and tear
  • Determine the type of glass installed

The envelope of the house is like a sweater on the house. With single-pane windows, you’re wearing a t-shirt out in the cold. With double pane, you’re wearing a sweater. With more advanced technology and windows with LoE coatings, that is like wearing thermal underwear under the sweater, which will keep the heat inside the home. At the end of the day, the goal of a window is to keep the outside out and the inside in. 

We are your certified Window Geeks

Centra Windows is not only the manufacturer but also the installer of its product, which enables us to offer a full warranty, eliminating any confusion between product performance and installation. We view the house as a system and understand how each of the elements must work correctly to maximize the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. Contact our local Employee Owners at 1-888-534-3333 or send us an email at for more information about this topic and many more. You can also sign up for our biweekly newsletter for all the tips and tricks about the window industry.

Written by: Les Ferris , August 30, 2021
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