Everything You Need To Know About Egress Windows

  • Justin Woo
  • July 21, 2020
  • Window Guide
  • Window Tips
Egress Windows

Egress windows are more than just a legal requirement. They may just save your life or the life of a loved one in the future. If you’ve ever seen or been involved in a fire of any kind, you know how serious they can be. Fires outside and even in large open rooms can cause massive damage. Now imagine how much damage it would do in a small enclosed space, like a small basement bedroom. Egress windows are typically legally required for bedrooms located in basements. Typically they need to be large enough for a firefighter in full gear to get through. A general rule of thumb is that the easier it is to escape the house through them, the better. It would be horrible for someone to be stuck inside a home during any sort of fire.

When choosing a company to install your egress windows, you need to make sure they know what they’re doing. A lot of companies tend to blast pass egress windows regulations, and sometimes don’t even bother making sure the homeowner knows how important they are. Sometimes they don’t install them at all! Here at CanGlow we understand the importance of Egress windows, and will never brush past them. They’re super important because you and your family are super important. Safety always comes first.

So why do you even need them? Why not use the front door?

At first, a lot of people think that they can just use another exit. Why not use the front or rear doors of your home? Well, in an emergency, you might not be able to! What if you’re asleep in a bedroom basement and wake up to a large fire upstairs. Chances are the smoke will be so thick upstairs you may not even be able to make it through. Hence the importance of egress windows. Not only will they keep your home legal, but they’ll actually increase the value of your home. To make things even better, they let more natural light in. This makes the entire area more pleasing to witness. Artificial light makes a lot of people depressed, whereas natural light doesn’t. Basements can already feel like dungeons, so why not let a whole bunch of light in and make it seem beautiful and cozy?

What classifies as an egress window?

In order for a window to be classified as an emergency exit, it needs to meet a list of criteria. First of all, it, of course, needs to be big enough to actually get through. To be more specific, it needs to be large enough for a firefighter in full gear to easily get through. After all, they’re the ones who are responsible for putting out the fires! Secondly, the window needs to be openable from the inside with little to no difficulty whatsoever. This means it shouldn’t require any special tools, nor any special knowledge. The next requirement is appropriate ventilation. If the window doesn’t enable proper ventilation for the associated bedroom or non-bedroom, it doesn’t count as an egress window. And last but certainly not least, an egress window must enable light to enter the room. At the very least, it should account for 5 percent of the light. One thing we would really like to stress is that these requirements may differ in other locations. Some provinces may use these, whereas others may add or subtract one or multiple. For more information on which regulations are respective to each province, visit our website.

Which windows types can be used as egress windows?

In order for a window to become an egress window, it must also be a certain type. The first eligible option is the casement window design. Casement windows (for reference or perspective) are the windows that tilt or rotate from within the windows rather than from one of the sides. The next eligible option is slider windows. Slider windows are of course windows that slide side to side, or up and down. The third eligible option is either double or single hung windows. Last but not least is hopper windows. Remember, regardless of which window type you choose, it must be big enough for a firefighter in full gear to get through. Otherwise, it’s not legal and certainly not safe.

Why regular windows don’t necessarily meet egress window requirements

A lot of people think that their current set of windows is fine because they must have been up to code when they were installed. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Codes and regulations change over time, and considering the average house was built a few decades ago, most of those windows are outdated and in need of change. Also, over time older houses may warp, meaning windows may become harder or even impossible to open.

Why are fires so dangerous in basements?

Generally, fires can get a lot hotter in enclosed spaces than in large wide-open areas. A small fire in a small underground basement can turn into a flashover in as little as 3 or 4 minutes. A flashover is basically when the air heats up to approximately 300 degrees celsius. That’s enough to melt clothes and human skin. Being caught in a flashover is almost always deadly, and is exactly why egress windows are so important. You may think that you can just go upstairs, but hot air rises. Meaning the higher you go the hotter and more dangerous it might get. Smoke rises too people!

For more information!

For more information feel free to reach out to one of our representatives here at CanGlow. They’re all highly trained and super experienced on the matter. Do also check out the regulations that differ between provinces! It would be a shame to install them incorrectly, although the company installing them should know!

Related Products

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Casement window

With old man winter just around the corner, you’ll want to ensure that your home is prepared by being well insulated. One area to check into is your windows and doors. And while it is a practical approach to make sure your home is well insulated and saving you money, if you’re in need of a window or door replacement, this can be achieved in a modern, unique and fresh way to add value to your home.

It doesn’t matter if your home is relatively new or well over 100 years old, practically every house that has been built will have a draft. A draft happens when there are gaps in the window or door construction and the opening is left unsealed to the outside weather environment. Where you should look for drafts in your home are windows, doors, attic hatches, pipes leading outside, and ceiling-to-wall joints. When these spaces are uninsulated, cold air can enter and will, as a result, raise your heating bill which allows not just cold air in, but moisture and in some cases little pesky critters as well.

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Single-hung replacement windows

We, at Canglow, have reinterpreted the classic single hung window to suit modern housing needs. The single sash style has been a mainstay of Canadian housing for decades now, and with a few little tweaks, it’s a window that will serve you for years to come.

We’ve added the same spiral sash balance system that we use in our double-hung windows so that cleaning the unit is so much easier. Whether you’re replacing your old windows or installing new, this Energy Star rated single hung window with argon filled chambers of low-E glass will keep your home insulated, snug, and warm.

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Double slider window

Double slider windows maintain the ease and simplicity of our single sash style with a little added extra that makes all the difference when it comes to functionality. The screen here is a full-length one that creates better airflow on stifling summer days.

However, you can never compromise on energy efficiency when it comes to windows in Edmonton and other Climate Zone C areas, and neither have we. The innovative locking system that we use for single slider windows is in operation in our double slider windows as well, so that you are snug as a bug during winter’s harshest freeze.

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Hopper windows

Hopper windows are built on the same engineering principles as awning windows, with the difference that they open from the top. They are suitable for basements, attics, and other spaces that might not have enough wall area for larger windows, yet require ventilation.

Hopper windows also double up as egress windows in basements, attics, and other rooms that require them according to Canadian building codes. Featuring our Energy Star rated triple glazing and low-E argon-filled glass chambers, our hopper windows will assure your peace of mind when it comes to insulation, energy-saving, and safety.

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