How to Maintain Accordion Hurricane Shutters
As a resident of Southwest Florida, you know that tropical storms and hurricanes are a reality.
Even though the official hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, you can prepare your home now for the next set of storms.
If you’re considering installing accordion hurricane shutters on your home, or you already have them, routine maintenance today means you won’t need to scramble for protection in June.
Before the next hurricane season bears down on your home, read our short guide on hurricane shutter maintenance. We’ll start with a mini-guide on locking and unlocking shutters and then move on to cleaning, lubricating, and inspecting for damage.
How to Unlock and Lock Your Shutters
If you’re new to using hurricane shutters you may not realize the shutters can stay locked when not in use. Most shutters have a key lock system installed, meaning you need a key. Or do you?
You can operate your accordion shutters without locking them. The reason manufacturers include locks is so that homeowners who evacuate during a hurricane can ensure home security. Residents who leave for an extended time also often close and lock the shutters during their absence.
What if you want to lock your shutters and can’t locate the key? First, check with the manufacturer as they may offer replacement keys for purchase. If not, many locksmiths in Florida provide replacement keys.
Your shutters may also have locking rods, which you’ll need to disengage before closing the shutters. The locking rods keep the shutters stable and out of the way when you’re not using them.
Look for the rods on either side of each window — depending on the manufacturer, your shutters may have both a bottom and a top locking rod.
Part of your shutter maintenance program should include applying lubricant. Use a silicone lubricant on the locking rod’s thumbscrews a minimum of twice a year. If you’ll do this simple task you ensure easy removal of the locking rods (also called pins) when you need to close the shutters quickly.
Routine Track Cleaning
Accordion shutters move on a track. Keeping the tracks clean and free of debris allows the shutters to open and close easily.
Even though you won’t use your hurricane shutters every month, you’ll still want to clean the tracks each month. Living in Florida means dealing with dirt, salt, insects, and other debris. All of these can create buildup in the shutter tracks.
While washing the tracks, take the opportunity to inspect for insect nests and other debris. Removal prevents issues with operating the shutters.
Use a soft brush for debris removal. If you find stubborn dirt and grime, you can use a hose to rinse the tracks.
The Best Cleaning Solution
Next, you’ll clean the shutters! Weather conditions determine how often you wash your shutters, but plan on at least once a month.
Use warm water, mild soap (gentle dishwashing detergent works well), and a soft brush. If the shutters look extremely dirty, loosen the grime by rinsing with the hose before you wash.
Wash the slats but don’t forget the hinges. The hinges, or ribs, collect dirt, salt, and debris and you should clean them in both open and closed positions. Stay away from using anything abrasive on hurricane shutters including cleaners, hard bristle brushes, or cleaning pads.
You may notice mold on your shutters. Check with your manufacturer before adding bleach to your cleaning solution. Some shutter types can tolerate a small amount of bleach. The manufacturer can recommend best practices for dealing with mold.
A final rinse with clear water completes your cleaning routine.
A Little Lubricant Does Wonders
Think of hurricane shutters in the same way you do your garage door. Both depend on moving parts that can get rusty and ornery.
Use clear silicone spray lubricant on the tracks. We mentioned lubricating the thumbscrews earlier. Lubrication helps the shutters open and close on the tracks properly and prevents the thumbscrews from seizing up.
Tip: Don’t use oily lubricants such as WD-40. Oil-based lubricants attract buildup up of sea salt and grime.
Open and Close Your Accordion Hurricane Shutters
We know you won’t use the shutters every month, but you should still open and close them each month.
Similar to a garage door, hurricane shutters have rollers, or wheels, which move the shutter along the track. Opening and closing the shutters help keep the track clear and the wheels moving smoothly.
When you open and close your shutters take a minute to inspect the tracks, wheels, and other moving parts. Also, inspect the mounting fasteners and replace them if necessary.
Inspect Shutters for Damage
Beyond opening and closing, and ensuring the parts all work correctly, regular maintenance also allows you to look for damage to the shutters.
For anything other than basic repairs, call for professional repair of your accordion hurricane shutters.
Need Assistance with Hurricane Shutters?
As you can see, keeping up with the maintenance of hurricane shutters isn’t a major chore. With monthly cleaning, inspection, and opening and closing, you can avoid costly repairs and replacement. Lubricating the tracks and thumbscrews also helps keep your shutters in tip-top shape.
There’s nothing quite like the peace of mind you’ll feel when you know your home stands ready for the next hurricane season.
If you need more extensive repairs, or you’re considering installing new accordion hurricane shutters, contact us today. We offer free estimates and guarantee superior customer service.