Making the decision to add or change a storm door to your house can drastically change the look of your home. It is important to choose the right storm door that fits with the look of your house. When choosing a storm door, there are 5 main things to consider: Price, Material, Size, Handing, and Style.
First and foremost, you should stick to your budget. Storm doors range in price from around $100-$300 for standard size doors that you can find at Lowe's or Home Depot to around $300-$500 for custom sized doors ordered from the same retailers. Now be realistic, while you may find a coupon that gives you a good deal, a $100 screen door is not going to perform like a $500 storm door.
Now you may ask, "What makes a $500 storm door better than a $100 storm door?" The answer is the materials and the bells and whistles. Vinyl storm doors are less expensive than extruded aluminum storm doors. While you save money on the price, they will wear out faster because of exposure to the elements. However, you can get a wood-core vinyl door which is more sturdy and provides better insulation for a little bit more money. On a higher-end door you may get a choice of custom colors like cranberry, hunter green, or almond where on the lower end you can only have white or black. With more expensive doors you can usually choose a hardware color ranging from brass or silver to oil-rubbed bronze and antique brass. One important difference is most top end doors come with 2 door closure pistons instead of 1. They are mounted at the top and bottom of the door instead of just having one at the top of the storm door. This gives the door better rigidity and allows you to adjust the speed more. Keep in mind that the cost of a separate piston is only about $5.00, so don't spend an extra $100 on a door just to get a second door closure.
The best way to get a sense of the price is to either go into a national retailer like Lowe's or Home Depot and look at the storm doors or search online If you go to a store, be aware that while some associates may have general knowledge, most do not know the first thing about storm doors. I personally try to avoid them because in my experience none of them has ever actually installed a storm. To make matters worse, their training is minimal and they give cookie-cutter answers to all your questions. Personally, I like to shop online to compare prices and narrow down more what I am looking for.
Another thing to consider about pricing is that most storm doors are Energystar compliant, which means that your new door qualifies for an IRS tax credit. The credit can be up to as much as $500 and is claimed on your next years taxes. So keep in mind that you can save money on your taxes by purchasing a higher end door. For more information, refer to our Storm Door Information page.
Being a storm chaser is as easy as saying you're a storm chaser, but to really be one, you need to first chase a storm. I mean what kind of storm chaser are you if you never chase? A common mistake people seem to pin with chasers is that we JUST chase tornadoes. This is not true. We chase all sorts of weather and storm activity including severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, derechoes, flood producing storms, hurricanes and even winter storms. You don't have to chase just tornadoes to be a storm chaser and whoever says you do is just plain ignorant. Before venturing out into severe weather, you really need to consider all the safety awareness and even training for you out in the world you can participate in.
Become a Skywarn Storm Spotter
One word of advice that I strongly recommend to beginning storm chasers is becoming a Skywarn Storm Spotter. A skywarn spotter is a trained and certified volunteer storm spotter with the National Weather Service. Spotters take annual free training classes which usually last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours and for only 1-2 days. These classes are free to anyone of any age. Spotters are not chasers however, sure some spotters do chase but the spotter program was not made to be a storm chasing group. Storm spotters get out in their city or local/county and observe and report severe weather and tornadoes. They don't do this for the rush, they do it to save lives. Spotters are the backbone of the warning system. Radar and detection equipment can not see what human eyes can see, so spotters are a very important function when it comes to severe weather awareness.
The Unofficial Rules
The following rules are unofficial and are more like tips to help you start your chasing adventures. These tips will keep you out of harm's way and out of jail. Please read them and follow them very closely as they are very important and most chasers live by them:
1. Always think of SAFETY FIRST! Never put yourself in a situation where you or another can be serious injured or even killed. Remember to think SAFETY FIRST for the other people on the roads in the storm area. People may be trying to get away from the storm and not realize your a storm chase and could accidentally wreck into you. Some people will also be curious to what you are doing and that could put them in harm's way in they do not know what they are doing.
2. Don't pull over unless you can do so in a safe manner. Interstates and freeways are not a good place to pull over when storm chasing. There is too much traffic on these forms of roadways and accidents can be very deadly. If your going to pull over, do it somewhere on a road that is not used as much and make sure you are not breaking the law as some roads have signs that ask people not to park on the side of the road and that means YOU TOO!
3. Obey the laws! Being a storm chaser or spotter does not give you extra rights or permission to violate traffic laws. You can not speed over the posted speed limits and you can not park in areas where parking is not allowed. You also can not trespass on other peoples property including fields and private roads. If law enforcement has you turn around or take a detour, abide by their orders and do as they tell you or you can go to jail. Too many bad chasers out there are arguing with police officers and giving us sane chasers a bad name. Don't do it!
4. Watch your speed! Remember some people may be trying to get away from the storm and driving badly. Some people can't drive as good anyways and may be all nervous and scared as they flee putting them and everyone around them in possible danger, including you. You should also take rain in to mind and hydroplaning where you drive across water and basically lose control of everything.
5. Core punching in dangerous. Driving through a storm to get on a different side of it is a form of core punching. Many chasers do it but its extremely dangerous as tornadoes can form where you are or already be on the ground and just invisible because they are rain-wrapped. Try to keep a safe distance from the storm at all costs. I have seen very nice vehicles core punch and by the time, they got out of the storm, their nice vehicle was destroyed from all the softball size hail that hit it.