In Part 1 of this blog, we covered energy conservation and safety glazing. See Part 1 here Both of these aspects apply to every window in your home. In part 2 we’ll review the codes regarding all openings in the walls of your home and not just the windows.
Emergency escape and rescue openings
These are required in all basements and all sleeping rooms below the fourth floor of single family homes. These windows must provide a minimum clear opening height of 24 inches and a clear opening width of 20 inches. If the room is on the ground level it must have a minimum clear opening area of 5.0 square feet. Those on upper floors must provide a clear opening area of 5.7 square feet. It is important to note that it’s not sufficient to install a 20 x 24 window. Those are just minimums to width and height and will not meet the overall square foot opening required. The sill height can’t be more than 44 inches off the finished floor. If the window well is below grade, the net clear area must be 9 square feet or greater and have no dimension less than 36”.
Sleeping areas in basements are the biggest EERO issues we see. With new construction your architect will plan for an egress escape. But with the older homes we have in Boise, it’s not always an easy task to meet code. It’s not always possible to swap out an old window for a more efficient one. Many times the wall will have to be completely remodeled to enlarge or lower the window. Replace a window in an old home that is no longer operational with a new one that does operate, only to be denied a permit because the window will not meet our current code. This is where a professional installation will help with lining up your permits and subcontractor to make the necessary modifications to your wall.
The 2012 International Residential (R312.2) requires fall protection on operable windows that have an interior sill height of 24” above the floor and is the exterior grade height exceeds 72 inches. This is to prevent deaths to children or those who fall from falling out the window to their death. If a replacement window falls into that category you can apply a window guard. If you choose to go in that direction, keep in mind that the guard needs to be sturdy enough to prevent a fall but also easily removed in case of an emergency.
When it’s time to replace any of your window, please call us and let us give you a free estimate. We’ll point out some of the code issues we see and help you with your safety concerns.