What is an Egress Window?
An egress window is an escape window leading outside that every bedroom must have unless there is an exterior door or fire sprinkler system installed. It should also meet specific requirements according to the National Building Code of Canada.
An Egress Window must provide an unobstructed opening with a minimum area of 3.77 ft2 (0.35 m2), and with no dimension less than 15“(380mm). For example, a window with an unobstructed clear opening of 15″ by 15″ is not suitable because the area would be less than the minimum required 3.77 ft2.
In case of emergency, egress windows should be easy for anyone to open from the inside without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge to allow persons to escape a bedroom.
If a window in a basement bedroom has a window-well, then the window opening into the window-well must be at least 30” in front of the designated egress window.
For egress windows that open to the outside (such as awning windows), the window opening into the window-well must also be at least 30” from the edge of the opened window sash to the window well so that there is room for a safe evacuation route.
In addition to the National Building Code of Canada, each province may have additional requirements such as: the maximum sill height for escape windows from the floor level, the percentage of light coming into a bedroom, as well as others.
There are certain types of windows best suited for egress such as: Casement windows, Slider windows, Hung windows, Tilt & Turn windows, and Hopper windows.