Home renovations must comply with relevant laws dictating safety requirements. While these regulations can encompass everything from electrical hookups to running water pipes and much more, today we’re going to focus on how home safety laws will affect your new windows.
Understanding Window Replacement
If you want to eventually sell your home, keeping everything legally compliant is absolutely crucial. Improperly installed windows will cause your home to fail inspection, preventing you from selling until the problem is corrected. Faulty installation can also lower your home’s energy efficiency or make it unsafe. To stay informed and understand your new windows, keep these terms in mind:
1) Egress Window Codes
National building laws mandate that every bedroom must have an exit leading directly outdoors so homeowners can safely escape in an emergency. Some homeowners satisfy this requirement with a door, but most install a window instead. Egress window codes simply outline the minimum dimensions and placement of the window to provide a realistic escape route. To be compliant with Egress, a window must:
- Have a minimum clear opening of 5.7 square feet,
- The 5.7 square feet must also have a minimum of at least 20” width and 24” in height of unobstructed opening, and
- Have a window sill no higher than 44” above the floor.
2) Tempered Glass
Large windows or windows in certain parts of a house are generally required to use tempered glass in their panels. Tempered glass refers to a type of glass that has been treated with high temperatures to create a windowpane four times sturdier than standard glass. You can certainly install this type of glass in as many of your windows as you’d like, but certain window placements or styles are legally required to have tempered glass. Windows that need stronger glass include:
- Windows or sidelights less than 24 inches from a door
- Windows larger than 9 square feet and less than 18 inches above the floor
- Windows less than 60 inches from a bathtub or shower floor
- Windows on a staircase landing
- Windows within 60 inches of a staircase landing or tread
Pro Tip: Custom Windows automatically provides tempered glass for any window 40 square feet or larger to ensure maximum strength.
3) Energy Star-Certified
Energy Star is a government agency that tests a huge range of household appliances and equipment to determine the most energy-efficient models. If a product is labeled as Energy Star-certified, you can trust that it is an excellent product that can reduce your power consumption and keep your electric bill reasonable. And at Custom Windows, every single one of our products is Energy Star-certified!
4) Hurricane Impact Windows
Severe storms fling debris around like toys, often shattering windows and causing significant damage or injury inside many homes. Impact windows are specially designed to prevent this from happening–some coastal regions in Texas even make these windows mandatory for homeowners. The type of glass used in these windows has been heat-bonded to a layer of sturdy vinyl designed not to break upon impact. And this vinyl is incredibly durable–during testing, these windows must survive 8-ft 2×4 studs ramming into them at 34 miles per hour! While impact windows aren’t a perfect method of protection, they can drastically reduce the damage your house takes during a hurricane. Impact windows are even useful outside of hurricane season–burglars will certainly have a hard time breaking them!
Keep an Eye on Your Window Installation
As the homeowner, you’re the one who will be living with and using these windows for the foreseeable future. Understanding basic terms common in the replacement window industry will help you stay informed throughout the installation process and help you with future repairs and maintenance.
Connect with us for more information on installing your new windows.