Bay windows look like ordinary large windows, but they open fully to allow occupants to exit in the event of a fire or other disaster. All basements must have escape windows before they can be converted into legal dwellings. Escape window sizes must comply with the International Residential Code (IRC) and local building codes. Fortunately, emergency exit windows not only serve the main function of evacuation but also provide benefits such as better natural lighting and basement ventilation. They can also provide a beautiful interior, giving your home a more comfortable appearance.
Emergency windows are similar to other windows, but they need to be large enough to be able to come out if someone needs to leave in an emergency. Emergency windows can come in a variety of styles and sizes to match the aesthetic appearance of your home.
Basements in older homes are not designed for sleeping or living quarters. This is especially true for homes built before World War II.
Back then, homeowners used basements for utilities, laundry, and storage. Depending on the age of the house, it may have been built before improved windows were needed to allow outdoor access, or it may have windows with smaller openings.
If you live in an older home, you probably have narrow basement windows. These above-ground windows, also known as stair windows, open inward to let in the fresh air. However, these windows are too small for fully equipped adults or ambulances to pass through, so there can be no room for sleeping or living in the basement unless they are upgraded to meet the regulations for that area.
How to measure basement windows
Not sure if your basement windows meet the regulations? All you need is a tape measure.
– Open the window as wide as possible.
– Measure the width and height of the opening.
– Multiply the width by the height.
Do the measurements match the required 821 square inches or 5.7 square feet? If not, a larger window must be installed to meet the requirement.
Basements in older homes rarely have windows large enough to allow egress in the event of a fire or other emergency. Depending on the age of the house, basements may have small, narrow, or inward-opening windows. These windows are not large enough for people to exit and for first responders to enter. Emergency exit windows are large secondary exit windows that provide a safe escape route for you and your family in an emergency. These windows are essential in every home.
First of all, installing emergency egress windows requires digging below ground level to remove enough earth for the large window openings. In addition, the window openings have to be drilled through the foundation of the house to the basement, which can be difficult and costly if not cut properly. The cost of hiring a professional to do this work, as well as to install the windows and wells, is usually between $1,500 and $3,000.