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Egress Windows: An Important Basement Addition


If you have a basement, chances are you either have or should have an egress window. They not only let extra light into your basement but also could be vital to your family's safety in the event of an emergency.

Here at Jerry's Waterproofing, located in Omaha, Nebraska, we are professional egress window installers who offer great top of the line window well products manufactured by Bilco. Whether you are building a new home with a finished basement or remodeling your basement for an additional bedroom or living area, you should install an egress window and egress window well in your home.

If you have any questions, call Jerry's Waterproofing at 402-392-2211.

What Is An Egress Window?

Simply put, an egress window is a window that a person can use to escape outside in case of an emergency.

Most older basements have small windows peeking out from just below the basement ceiling, the only part of the basement that is above ground. For an old, unfinished basement, this might be sufficient, but with an increasing number of homeowners converting their basement into living space, this is often not be the case.

Egress windows offer a different solution.

Basement egress windows are dug into the ground to allow larger windows to be placed within basement living spaces. Not only do they let light in, but they can let you out, doubling as an escape route in case of an emergency.

Read more about what an egress window is.

Why Install an Egress Window?

Egress Windows Provide An Emergency Escape.

egress window Iowa, NebraskaIf you have a living space, particularly a bedroom in the basement, an egress window allows family members to escape from the basement and other areas on the upper floors that may be blocked by smoke or flames.

They Allow Emergency Workers An Entrance.

In case of a fire or medical emergency and the other entrances are locked or blocked by smoke or flame, egress windows allow firefighters and emergency personnel an easier way to enter the home.

They Provide Light.

Especially if the basement is to be used as a living area, installing an egress window provides natural light. It also provides a way for gardeners and indoor plant growers to keep plants in the basement.

Egress Windows Are Required By Law.

In most communities in Nebraska and Iowa, if you are 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. These laws are strictly enforced in new residential homes.

Read more about the benefits of an egress window.

Tips For Using An Egress Window

  • Practice exiting
  • Install a ladder
  • Avoid building under decks
  • Keep the window clear
  • Keep the window well clear

Read more about how egress windows can save lives.

What are Iowa and Nebraska's rules about egress windows?

As stated above, in certain areas you are required to have egress windows in every bedroom, including those in the basement.

In Iowa specifically, some of the requirements include:

  • Maximum sill height of 44″
  • Opening area of 5.7 sq. ft. at minimum
  • Minimum opening height of 24″
  • Opening width of 20″ at minimum
  • Window well required where the sill height is below ground
  • Horizontal dimension of > 9 sq. ft.
  • Horizontal projection of > 36″
  • Permanent ladder required if the window well is deeper than 44″
  • Grate must be removable without special tools

Read more about egress window requirements in our region.

Egress Window Wells

Advantages of Egress Window Wells

  • Prevent Snow and Ice Build-up: A cover will keep snow and ice out of your egress window. Without a cover, you’ll need to continuously shovel the snow out to keep it from accumulating and putting pressure on your windows.
  • Avoid a wet basement: If snow does accumulate in your window well, as it melts it can find its way through weak spots in the window and accumulate in your basement. A wet basement can cause  problems like mold and mildew.
  • Keep Your Home Warm: A cover on your window well can improve your basement insulation.
  • Savings on your energy bills: The extra layer of insulation can also help your pocketbook through lower energy use.
  • Keep debris and wild animals out: Without a cover, leaves and other debris will find their way into your window well. And they won't be the only ones, with it also potentially serving as a haven for animals.
  • Adds safety: Whether it be little kids running around in the yard or someone not looking where they are going, one wrong step could lead to a twisted ankle or more from falling into the window well.

Read more about the advantages of having an egress window cover.

Turn to Jerry's Waterproofing For Your Egress Window Needs

Jerry's Waterproofing offers two great window well products to fulfill your family's needs. Click on the links below to find additional information on these products and help you feel at ease about their quality.

Bilco's stakWEL Window Well System

Bilco's scapeWEL Window Well System

Contact Jerry's Waterproofing to learn more about our egress window and window well offerings.


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