Windows and Hurricanes

August 2005

Your Question

Is it true that during a hurricane you should leave the windows open to equalize the air pressure on the inside and outside so that your house doesn't explode?

Our Response

You should leave your windows open, but not because of air pressure -- it's water you have to worry about. With the windows and doors closed, water will continue to rise outside of your domicile and exert pressure on the walls, eventually crushing them when water reaches the roof line. If you leave the windows open, plenty of water will also fill up your home, equalizing pressure.

Note that leaving the windows open may also allow high-speed wind into your home, destroying its interior and possibly blowing the roof off, but many people consider this an acceptable risk versus the alternative. Just to be safe, residents of high-rain areas may want to keep their windows open at all times during rain storms, just in case they turn into hurricanes.

By the way, this advice is similar to often-quoted suggestions that windows and doors be left open lest a thief who enters the house and is not able to find his way out will break a valuable window or door so as to escape.

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