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An egress window is one that must be installed in specific points in a structure. These windows can be used to exit the building or home if an emergency occurs that prevents the doorway from being used in the normal fashion. In order to quality as an egress window, a window must meet specific size and function requirements.

Where Egress Windows are Required

Egress windows must be placed in each bedroom of a home, on every floor of the house, including the basement. The specific building code requirements may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but older homes that pre-date code requirements may not be required to have egress windows installed, even if windows are being replaced. If you are living in an older home, it is a good idea to replace bedroom windows with egress windows for safety reasons, even if it is not strictly required by the building code.

Bedroom Exit Requirements

The Building Code requires that each bedroom have a minimum of two exits: a three foot wide x six feet eight inches high side-hinged door and at least one “emergency escape and rescue opening” – also known as an egress window. The window must be operable from the inside without any keys, tools or any special knowledge in the event of an emergency.

Size Requirements for Egress Windows

Egress windows must meet the following size requirements:

  • The minimum opening width must be 20 inches.
  • The minimum opening height must be 24 inches.
  • The minimum clear net opening must be 5.7 square feet.
  • The maximum sill height should be no more than 44 inches above the floor.

“Minimum clear net opening” is the free and clear space that is created when the window is opened. This is not the same thing as the glass panel size. It is the actual opening that a person would need to crawl through to escape the home in an emergency.

If you are looking for egress windows for your home, contact Renaissance Windows and Doors today or visit our showroom. We would be pleased to go over your options with you to make sure that your choice is code compliant.