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Come back here frequently for professional window and door advice for your Sheridan-area home. Whether you’re in the market for inspiration or for methods to help increase your home’s energy efficiency, this is the place for you.

What Are Egress Windows?
Basement fires happen regularly, with firefighters responding to about 6,500 of them in the U.S. each year.

Time is limited to escape a house fire. It can become fatal in only 2 minutes and overtake a home within 5 minutes, according to the National Fire Protection Association. When you only have minutes to get out, large egress windows are a critical secondary exit. Basement Windows in Older Homes May Be Too Small Basements in older homes were not designed to be sleeping or living areas. This is especially true for homes made before World War II. Homeowners back then used this style of basement for utility space, laundry and storage. Depending on its age, your home may have preceded today’s egress window requirements. Or it may have windows with a shorter opening. If you own an older home, there’s a good possibility it has narrow windows in the basement. Also known as hopper windows, these above-ground windows open inward to let in fresh air. But these windows are small—too small for an adult or fully-geared first responder to enter through. How to Measure Your Basement Windows Uncertain if your existing basement windows meet modern requirements? All you need is a tape measure. Open the window completely. Measure the width and height of the opening. Multiply the width by the height. Is your measurement equal to the required 821 square inches—or 5.7 square feet? If not, you need to have larger windows installed. Requirements for Egress Windows in Basements Building codes mandate the size of basement windows. This allows for a fast exit in an emergency. According to the International Residential Code, basement windows must have: An opening width of at least 20 inches. An opening height of at least 24 inches. A net clear opening of at least 821 square inches—or 5.7 square feet. A sill no more than 44 inches off the floor. What if My Basement Windows are Below Ground Level? If your basement windows are below ground level, you will need to have a well dug at the bottom of the window frame. This well must be at least 36 inches wide and 36 inches long. If the well is more than 44 inches deep, it will need an attached ladder or steps. Using timber or concrete blocks in the well makes it easy to put in steps. Plus, you can incorporate a couple small landscaping features, like crushed rock or potted plant. It's all right for basement windows to be under a deck or porch. But there must be enough room for an average-sized adult to exit. There should be at least 36 inches between the top of the window well and the bottom of the deck or porch joists. Other Requirements for Egress Windows in Basements Because basement windows are an escape route, they must open from the inside. Any screens, grilles or bars need to be taken off from the inside without keys or tools. It’s also important that basement windows can completely open. The window sash shouldn’t interfere with the opening. This helps your family to quickly exit—or first responders to quickly enter. Local requirements for basement windows may differ. Check with Sheridan building officials to learn more about area guidelines. Choosing Basement Egress Windows There are several kinds of windows that work well for basements and fulfill building code requirements. Casement Windows Casement windows are a good option for less wall space. These windows work like a door, swinging free to provide a spacious opening. Casement windows open by using a handle. Pella® casement windows feature a crank that folds away. That way, the crank won't get in the way of curtains. This window must have at least 8 square feet of net opening. Sliding Windows Sliding windows are great for adding more light to big basements. These windows have to be wider and taller, because the opening is only half as wide as the window. This is due to the sash, which slides horizontally. Sliding windows open by moving the sash from left to right. Some Pella models feature extra-durable tandem nylon rollers. These rollers give even more effortless operation. This window must have at least 16 square feet of net opening. Talk with the Professionals at Pella of Sheridan Basement escape windows are an essential for downstairs living spaces. They can be a lifesaving device in an emergency. Talk with our professionals at Pella of Sheridan. We can help when you're updating your basement. We can also assist you in finding the right window that fits your project, budget and local egress requirements.">