Why You Shouldn't Use Duct Tape To Prepare Your Home For A Severe Storm

Extreme storms can take a toll on your house, especially if you're unprepared. You might stock up on food, clothes, and blankets to keep you warm and fed, but your house needs protection too. Taking certain precautions — and avoiding others — is crucial to keep your home safe. For example, windows are prone to breaking during severe storms and filling the house with shattered glass and water. To remedy this, some people have sworn by duct-taping the windows –, but this is one step you'll want to skip.

The idea is that duct-taping windows will strengthen them and prevent them from shattering. But experts, like the president and CEO of Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Leslie Chapman-Henderson, claim duct-taping your windows can harm you and your home. Chapman-Henderson said, "The shards can become bigger because they're being held together" (via Fox 35). These larger pieces of glass can be dangerous or even deadly in the case of a windy storm — creating even more hazardous conditions than the smaller pieces that would've broken off otherwise.

Duct tape is a false sense of security

The danger of using duct tape on windows is two-fold. In addition to creating larger shards of glass that could be hazardous in high winds, the Director of the National Hurricane Center, Bill Read, notes that tape can prevent people from taking more important measures to protect their homes. He said, "Our goal is to break this myth. It does not protect your windows. At best, it's an inconvenience. At worst, some people have the illusion that they're safe... and people can get severely hurt" (via CBS News). 

If you know that a storm is coming on and you have nothing to protect your windows, it's better to leave your windows as they are than to reach for the duct tape. However, there are some other options you might have around the house that you can use in a pinch for an added layer of safety.

Things to do to prepare for a storm

If you know your area is prone to severe storms, it's best to implement action as soon as possible so that you don't have to do it right before a storm arrives. Installing plywood boards is one DIY option that can provide a solid layer of protection. They're often placed over your windows as a security blanket so the wind or rain doesn't shatter them. If you have permanent shutters that you're able to hook together, they can act as protection as well. If you decide to install plywood, cut them ahead of time so that they're ready to be put in place right before.

Another way to protect your home is to ensure everything outside is brought inside or anchored. For example, you'll want to put away lawnmowers, garden tools, and furniture in the garage to prevent them from blowing away or getting damaged. In addition, trim or cut down any shrubs or trees that are too close to the house in case they fall over; they won't land on your house or through a window. The roof of your house is another significant part of your home you should protect. You can install clips that secure the roof of the home's structure to keep it in place.