Building codes in your area may require you to have egress windows in any room where people sleep or otherwise spend a significant amount of time. Their primary purpose is to provide a means of escape during emergency situations, but there are plenty of other benefits to having them in your home.
This means, in any such room, you must have at least one exterior window or door that is operable from the inside without having to use special tools, keys or other extra effort to be able to allow an adult to pass through. The federal government sets specific baseline requirements for egress windows in Alaska and throughout the country. They must have a 20-inch minimum opening width, a 24-inch minimum opening height, a 5.7 square foot minimum net clear opening (or 5 square feet on the ground floor) and a recommended sill height above the floor of 42 inches.
An opening of 5.7 square feet might not sound like much, but it is larger than you think. In fact, many older homes do not have windows in every living room, bedroom, guest room and basement that fully meet these standards. This is especially true in basements, where people often try to repurpose the unused space into bedrooms and rec rooms—a lack of proper egress windows in such spaces results in a code violation and a significant safety hazard for anyone sleeping or spending time in them.
There are some states that have additional information about using egress windows as a means of escape. In such scenarios, egress windows must meet at least one of the following stipulations:
- The window opens to an exterior balcony: In this situation, accessibility to a balcony allows a person in an emergency situation to easily escape a smoky or flame-filled room and await their rescue from emergency responders.
- The window is directly accessible to fire department rescue equipment: This means that the egress window should be easily accessible to fire truck ladders or to the ground so rescue teams have another means of getting in if the doors have been compromised.
- The window is within at least 20 feet of grade: This helps both for rescue personnel to reach you more easily, and also makes it possible for you to jump if absolutely necessary.
Adding egress windows in Alaska to areas where you did not previously have them, such as a basement, can help you increase the value of your home, as it increases the versatility of those spaces and allows you to potentially add a bedroom that you can officially include on real estate listings. Not only that, but adding egress windows can bring attractive design elements into a basement area that might otherwise feel a little dingy and dark, giving you a way to liven up your space and potentially bring in more natural light.
For more information about the various benefits associated with adding egress windows in Alaska to your home and the stipulations you must adhere to when installing them, contact the team at Replacement Glass today.
Categorised in: Egress Windows