| Basement entrance and exit doors. Basement Egress Code Standards.
| Cellar Stairs, Window Egress, Basement Entrance Ways.
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Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings.
Code Required Access from Your Finished Basement. Good to know Information.
In addition to the normal means of egress, provisions should be made for emergency escape and rescue. Basements and sleeping rooms below the grade plane should have at least one
exterior emergency escape and rescue openings.
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These egress openings shall open directly into a public way or to a yard
or court that opens to a public way. Emergency escape and rescue openings are not required from basements or sleeping rooms that have an
exit door or exit access door that opens directly into a public way or to a yard, court or exterior exit balcony that opens to a public
way. Basements without habitable spaces and having no more than 200 square feet (18.6 m2) in floor area shall not be required to
have emergency escape windows.
Where basements contain more than one sleeping rooms, emergency egress and rescue openings may be required in each sleeping room.
Minimum size. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet (0.53 m2).
Exception: The minimum net clear opening for emergency escape and rescue grade-floor openings shall be 5 square feet (0.46 m2).
Minimum dimensions. The minimum net clear opening height dimension shall
be 24 inches (610 mm). The minimum net clear opening width dimension shall be 20 inches (508 mm). The net clear opening dimensions shall
be the result of normal operation of the opening.
Maximum height from floor. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall have
the bottom of the clear opening not greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) measured from the floor.
Operational constraints. Emergency escape and
rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools. Bars, grilles, grates or similar
devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings provided the minimum net clear opening size and such devices
shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal
operation of the escape and rescue opening. Where such bars, grilles, grates or similar devices are installed in existing buildings,
smoke alarms shall be installed regardless of the valuation of the alteration.
Window wells. An emergency escape and rescue opening with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground
level shall be provided with a window well.
The minimum horizontal area of the window well shall be 9 square feet (0.84 m2), with a minimum dimension of 36 inches (914 mm).
The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.
Ladders or steps. Window wells with a vertical depth
of more than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with an approved permanently affixed ladder or steps. Ladders or rungs shall have an
inside width of at least 12 inches (305 mm), shall project at least 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than
18 inches (457 mm) on center (o.c.) vertically for the full height of the window well. The ladder or steps shall not encroach into the
required dimensions of the window well by more than 6 inches (152 mm). The ladder or steps shall not be obstructed by the emergency
escape and rescue opening. Ladders or steps required by this section are exempt from the stairway requirements.
Basement Ventilation Choices -
The wide range of ventilation fans go from the very basic (about $50, normally used to satisfy the building code) to the stylish
and pricey (over $200, normally used where a quick air change is needed). The choice is based on the specific need, location,
make-up air, noise level, ductwork accessibility, etc. Bathroom fans are rated by the amount of air they
move - CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). The goal should be to chose the right fan, and have it
installed at the right location.
Steam Vent-Out -
Shower steam is produced quickly, and needs a quick system to vent it out during the shower.
A strong fan, an efficient duct to the exterior and make-up air is essential (door left open).
The duct should run to the exterior. A smooth run is best. A double back-up flap (one on the fan, and one on the exterior)
should be a must to keep out bugs, birds and unwanted drafts. Too long or too short is not good.
Do-It-Yourself Installation -
Your fan will provide step-by-step instructions. Replacing an existing bath fan is easier, since the
wiring is already in place. Venting in a new location requires some careful planning. Your fan should be installed in the ceiling,
between rafters or floor joists. Two critical questions: How will you get switched wires to your new fan? How will you run the
vent ducting to the outdoors? You might have to do some drywall cutting and patching. You may also need to climb onto your roof to
add a vent cover.
Good ventilation is important for health and comfort. Bad ventilation reduces the efficiency
of your heating and cooling systems. Commercial property ventilation systems should always be maintained on a routine basis
by a professional.
In addition to drawing fresh air into your home, good ventilation keeps air circulating throughout your home and vents home appliances,
like the kitchen fan and fireplace and wood stove, to the outside. Home ventilation includes everything from cross ventilation through
open windows, to breezes from electric fans, and fresh air from an air exchanger.