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What is an Egress Window in Basement
An “egress window” in a basement is a specific type of window that is designed and installed to serve as an emergency exit point.
Egress windows are typically required by building codes in residential basements to provide a safe means of escape in case of a fire or other emergency.
They are especially important in finished basements where people may spend a significant amount of time.
Here are some key features and requirements of egress windows in basements:
- Size: Egress windows must meet specific size requirements to ensure that they provide a large enough opening for a person to exit through. These requirements can vary by local building codes but often specify minimum width and height dimensions.
- Accessibility: The window should be easily accessible, which means it should not be too high off the ground. There may be maximum height limits specified in local building codes.
- Well: In many cases, an egress window is installed in a window well outside the basement. The well helps prevent soil and debris from blocking the window and provides a clear path for escape. It also should have steps or a ladder for easy ascent.
- Ladder or Steps: If the window well is deep enough, it may require a built-in ladder or steps to make it easier for someone to climb out of the basement.
- Clear Opening: The window should open easily without the use of special tools or keys. It should also remain open without assistance.
- Grates or Covers: Some egress windows may have grates or covers for safety and security reasons, but these must be designed to be easily removed from the inside in case of an emergency.
- Window Type: While egress windows can be traditional casement or sliding windows, many people opt for egress window wells with large sliding or hinged windows to provide a wide and unobstructed opening.
It’s important to note that the specific requirements for egress windows can vary depending on local building codes and regulations. If you’re planning to install or modify an egress window in your basement, it’s essential to check with your local building department to ensure compliance with the rules in your area.
Installing egress windows in a basement not only helps meet safety requirements but also adds value to your home by making the basement space more functional and inviting.