More than letting in natural light, not many of us see windows as crucial lifesaving equipment, but they are! When there is a need to escape a house fire or any other disaster that can threaten a person’s life, the requisite egress window can genuinely make a huge difference between life and death.
This is true especially for upstairs bedrooms and basements, where the stairway is usually the only exit. Although peradventure, the stairway is blocked, having an egress size window gives you peace of mind. Egress windows or doors are very important in every given habitable space. More importantly, every sleeping room requires an egress window.
You should be aware that without a good means of egress, all the rooms could be deadly traps in a case of emergency. One easy emergency exit option that is faster and simpler to utilize is the emergency egress escape window.
What Is An Egress Window?
Many people often use the term “Egress Window” to describe the “Emergency Escape and Rescue Opening.” These are large openings often bigger than the prevalent window style in the room. These provide alternative exit or passage for a first responder in a sudden occurrence.
In other words, the whole purpose of an Egress Window is for the safety of the people in concern. This means of escape and access can be successfully attained by an external window, door, or a similar device. Apart from being a safety precaution, Egress windows allow natural light and air to penetrate the bedroom, especially in houses with basement bedrooms.
The egress windows are of different types, and all of these types have different sizes, which must be followed. Therefore, there are minimum sizes, dimensions, and requirements for these window types in new home construction.
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Egress Window Size and Dimensions
International Residential Code monitors the current code for egress window requirements or size and placement. Based on section r310, part of the robust window system of the house should include an emergency outside window or exterior door. This should be open from the inside without using keys, tools, or special knowledge and removing sashes or hardware.
This suggests that at least one of every bedroom window should be an egress window. It has to have a minimum width of 20 inches, a minimum height of 24 inches, with an opening not so higher than 44 inches from the floor. These can be quickly taken using a tape measure.
For older homes where you are adding a sleeping area, adding a new egress window is advisable. Suppose you are making new constructions of living space in the basement or for new homes, the code advice is to fix in an egress window here.
For the required window that satisfies the egress regulations, the maximum sill height of the window shall not be more than 44 inches above the finished floor.
Apart from the window itself, there are specific dimensions an egress window net must meet, such as the net visible space area, minimum net visible height, and net visible width. In addition, paying attention to the glass area and glass panel size on the window is also vital.
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Dimensions and How They Apply to the Different Types of Windows
Casement egress windows should have a minimum clear space of 20″, 5.7 square feet minimum open-able area, and 44″ maximum sill height above the finished floor.
Single/Double Hung Egress Window
For hung egress windows, whether single or double, there should be a clear opening of not less than 24″. The minimum opening area should be 5.7 square feet, with the sill height not more than 44″ above finished ground level.
Horizontal Slider Egress Window
The horizontal slider egress window should be 5.7 square feet minimum openable area and 44″ maximum sill height above the finished floor.
A proper egress window irrespective of the type and where it is should have these net measurements;
- Minimum 5.7 square feet of net visible space area.
- Minimum 24 inches of net visible height space.
- Minimum 20 inches of net visible width space.
- A maximum of 44 inches to the window sill is calculated from the finished
- Window wells serving an egress window shall not be less than a square foot in an area with a horizontal length/width of no less than 36 inches.
- Window wells greater than 44 inches in depth require a perpetually fixed ladder or steps to provide access.
- Permanent egress ladders or steps made from concrete blocks cannot violate the needed window well dimensions by more than 6 inches.
There are exceptions, though. For instance, if you are getting larger windows, you could adjust the measurements while retaining the maximum height from the ground level. Also, 5.0 square feet are allowed if located at grade floor or below grade.
Installing new egress windows in older homes is a major construction that requires special knowledge of inspectors. These would guide you in establishing a beefier horizontal structure to help carry the weight of the wall where the window is to be.
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What Is Different About Basement Egress Windows Compared to Those on Higher Levels?
While the regulations apply to other window types, basement escape windows are usually higher than 1.5m above the floor. Hence, it’s suggested that a step is constructed below the window to give the effortless passage in the event of a fire or any life-threatening disaster, especially if it is to be a basement bedroom.
It is expected that window wells should be at least 760mm off from the window to help for easy departure. Unfinished basement awaiting windows do not follow the building codes as they are not big enough or open enough to allow open paths.
What Is the Minimum Size for Egress Windows?
As stated above, this kind of window provides openings with less than 0.35m², 3.8ft2. Smaller windows should have dimensions no less than 350mm, which is 15 inches. It is also important that such openings are unobstructed.
Calculate between the sashes, jambs, sills, and opening devices to ensure you have the right free opening size. To do this, multiply the opening of your window, which is the width with the height, and then convert the result to square feet you would.
You have a window 15″ wide by 36.2″ high you can also do it the other way round. Multiply 15″ by 36.2″, which correctly gives you 543″, which also can be equal to 3.8ft2, and that exactly meets the minimum area expected.
Egress windows give emergency openings to house owners in case of fire or other life-threatening disasters. While they are not a new theory, the standard and requirements related to where they are expected and what sizes are expected have differed.
Suppose you own a basement that includes a bedroom, recreation room, resort, family rooms, media room, office, or home gym. You should know that all of these rooms are expected to have a way of escape from unforeseen danger when it happens.
In other words, constructing a detailed egress window in your bedroom gives you a chance of escape whenever a life-threatening disaster hits your home. The building code requirements differ in different communities and nations. So, make sure you know and ensure your buildings meet the egress requirements of your specific location.
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