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  • Writer's pictureJess Court

Can The Cold Break Glass?

Winter is coming! While we may be enjoying the warm weather now, its vital to get prepared for the colder months sooner rather than later. A question that we often get asked at Instrument Glasses is can the cold break my glass?

Yes. The cold can break glass. However, when it comes to commercial glass, particularly the variety that’s designed to withstand the elements, breakage usually occurs only extreme conditions.

But the definition of extreme is highly subjective, especially in a state like Utah where freezing winters can be the norm. Older glass that isn’t reinforced or has tiny fractures invisible to the naked eye also can literally crack under the pressure of a cold front.

Glass is strong, but certainly not indestructible. During the winter months, it’s vulnerable, especially combined with high traffic from holiday shopping (think of all those shoppers pushing your door open and closed through the holiday season). Fortunately, you can do a few things to prevent breakage — and prepare for worst-case scenarios.

Toughen Your Glass

A glass and mirror expert can permanently strengthen your glass by applying a film to it, similar to car window tint. The film doesn’t need to be colored, but it can be if you’d like, and that will provide a little extra UV protection. Alternatively, replace chipped panes — this lessens the risk of weakened glass breaking during a winter storm.

Avoiding severe temperature changes also can help. When faced with a blizzard outside and roasting hot temperatures inside, glass is under immense pressure. Try to keep interior temperatures moderate and/or add exterior heating elements to give your glass a better fighting chance. Keep an eye out for any small chips or breaks. These can be easy fixes that, if left unattended, can make caused sudden shattering.

Winter Preparation

Unfortunately, the holiday season is also the season for thefts and burglaries. Cold weather and criminal activity can have many shopkeepers worried about keeping inventory secure. Broken glass is an invitation to burglars, even if it broke on its own.

Keep a 24-hour emergency repair company’s number at the ready, and check that they’ll be available even on Christmas and New Year’s. Nothing ruins the holidays faster than standing guard over a vulnerable retail shop.

Reinforcing your glass and replacing it regularly helps prevent breakage, but it also can lower your energy consumption and utility bills. It’s a win-win for everyone, and considering that vintage glass has almost no insulation capability at all, you might be well overdue for an upgrade.

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