Why are Egress Windows Important?
If you own a home with a basement in Iowa, you should seriously consider installing an egress window and window well. There are several good reasons for installing an egress window, but the most important reason is that it saves lives. Most communities in Iowa have some sort of requirement for placing an egress window in the basement of a new home or remodeling that contains a bedroom or living quarters for occupants to leave during an emergency. Following are several important reasons why egress windows and window wells are important.
Family Members Can Escape a Fire
No one can predict when or where a fire may start in a home. Often they start in the basement due to problems with a clothes dryer or furnace, but they may start anywhere in the home. If a fire begins in the basement, an egress window is the safest way for family members to exit. Sometimes when a fire begins on upper floors, the nearest exit may be blocked by smoke or flames, and an egress window in the basement provides a safe alternative.
Firefighters Have an Alternative Entry
In case of a fire or medical emergency, egress windows provide firefighters and emergency personnel a way to enter the home with their gear. Especially if the entrances on the main floor are locked or blocked by smoke or flame, an egress window provides another way to enter the home. Entering through the basement also decreases the likelihood of causing a backdraft, where oxygen feeds the flames by breaking a window or opening a door. In case someone has fallen down the stairs or been injured in the basement, entering through an egress window might save valuable minutes.
Basements Have More Sunlight
No one enjoys spending time in a dark, dreary basement. If you plan to convert the basement into an additional living area, such as a family room or game room, installing an egress window is a good way to provide natural light. Gardeners also appreciate having an egress window because it provides a perfect place to store outdoor plants during the winter and to start seedlings in the spring for planting outdoors later.
Basements Comply with the Laws
In most communities in Iowa, when building a one or two-story home with a basement or remodeling your basement to add an apartment or extra bedroom, you are required by law to provide an egress window. See Iowa Egress Windows Laws and Compliance for further information. Especially if you already have a bedroom in your basement, it’s a good idea to make sure you have an egress window installed that meets current code requirements because your family’s safety should always be your top priority.
Installing an Egress Window Well
Whenever you install an egress window, you will also need to install an egress window well. An egress window well creates an area for your family member or tenant to exit the basement safely. It also allows a firefighter or medical emergency person to enter the basement with a full set of equipment. Whether you leave the egress window well uncovered or covered with removable plastic, there are a few things to consider before installing an egress window well in your basement.
- Practice Exiting – Make sure that your entire family knows how to open and escape from an egress window. If needed, place a sturdy chair or step stool nearby.
- Install a Ladder – If the window well is too deep for some children or adults to climb out, consider installing a ladder.
- Avoid Decks – If you have a deck over the egress window well, be sure there is enough room to get out quickly.
- Keep the Window Clear – To allow your family to escape quickly, don’t place furniture, plants, or other objects directly in front of the window.
- Keep the Window Well Clear – To assure easy exiting or entering of the egress window well, make sure it is clear of water and debris.
Following these few easy guidelines may save your family’s lives during a fire or emergency.
Contact Jerry’s Waterproofing for Egress Window Installation
If you are planning to remodel your basement or simply add an egress window, Jerry’s Waterproofing is available to advise you about the laws in your area and install an egress window and window well for you. Our service area includes communities in Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa. Installing an egress window is an investment that may save the life of a family member. Contact Jerry’s Waterproofing today for a free estimate!