The Atlantic Hurricane Season is only days away, and based on initial projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it could be one of the most active years for severe storm activity in recent memory.

Though it wasn't officially classified as a hurricane, the effects of Sandy are still being felt along the Atlantic, as rebuilding efforts continue in parts of New York and New Jersey, specifically. However, based on a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive, many people aren't updating certain parts of their home that are particularly vulnerable to wind damage.

According to the poll, approximately 95 percent of respondents - all of whom were affected adversely by Sandy - do not plan on renovating their windows, such as by installing hurricane shutters to cover them so that the glass doesn't break from gale-force winds.

John Smith, president of an Orlando, Florida-based window manufacturer, indicated that people often don't install these sources of protection because they're under the impression that they're too difficult to use or maintain. In addition, among those who do use storm shutters, they'll often resort to heavy plywood or corrugated metal hurricane panels. While these may have some utility, the installation process can be complicated and time consuming.

But storm shutters are just one component of window maintenance. At one point or another, windows will deteriorate to a point at which they need to be replaced. But as indicates, a professional home inspection can help homeowners determined when it may be time to have new windows put in.

Common steps involved in the window inspection process

One of the most important elements of a window is ensuring that the inside of the home is protected from the elements outside. There are certain cues that indicate a problem may be developing. For instance, an inspector will check to see that the windows' thermal seals are functioning properly, as these prevent condensation from forming between the window's two panes of glass. While a small amount of condensation may not be an issue, the continuous presence of it can lead to water stains that may develop on the windowsiill or on the edges of the wall that surround the window.

It's also important that the window mechanisms be fully operational, points out. For example, the window sash - which is what enables it to open and close - will be checked to ensure that the springs are functional and haven't broken. Opening and closing the window is typically sufficient in order to determine this. The inspector will also check the knob that locks the window to make sure it works and hasn't been painted shut, as this can pose a safety hazard.

Windows come in six different categories: casement, awning, fixed, skylights, sliding and hung. Each have their own functionality. As such, inspectors will account for this and adjust their inspection procedures according to the type of window that's being examined.

Something else that home inspectors may take into account is where a homeowner lives. For example, points out that if a homeowner lives in an area that's at risk for hurricanes, they may perform a hurricane preparedness check to see if the panes of glass are resistant to debris. They may also make recommendations as to whether it's a good idea to have shutters installed, and if they are installed already, that they've put in place in the correct manner.