Legal Requirements for Residential Windows

November 24, 2021

Are you renovating your home? It’s important to know the legal requirements and local building codes to keep your renovation legally-compliant. Not following local laws and codes can cause you to fail your building inspection—a hassle that can cost you time and money in the process. In contrast, by knowing what’s legal and what isn’t, you can make smart choices, safeguard your investment, and ensure a solid renovation that’s guaranteed to pass inspection. 

Keep the following legal requirements top of mind during your renovation project to make informed decisions about your home improvement project!

Egress Requirements for Residential Windows

Egress is a word that means “a place of means of going out.” In the context of home improvement, egress refers to all emergency exits for specific rooms inside a home. Basements, for example, need at least one emergency exit. So do bedrooms—at least those on the first 3-stories of any residential home. As the name implies, emergency exits need to be accessible in case of an emergency, meaning they need to lead directly outside the home and be operational without the use of a tool. 

In the case of windows specifically, windows need to be a certain size to be egress-friendly. How big? While some cities are more or less strict than others, the general recommendation is a clear opening of 5.7 square feet with a minimum of a 20 inch width and a 24 inch height. This ensures that the opening is large enough for a firefighter wearing a backpack to get in and out of the home in the event that they need to. Windows that are emergency exits also need to be at least 44 inches (3.66 feet) from the floor—ensuring that anyone can reach the exit in the event of an emergency. 

A professional window supplier can help you select and install windows that are large enough to exit properly, ensuring egress compliance.

Safety Requirements for Residential Windows

Dimensions aren’t the only thing to consider when replacing your windows. In some areas of the home, such as bathrooms or in rooms adjacent to stairs, not only does the size and shape of your windows matter, but also the materials used. 

Tempered glass windows are windows made from glass that has been treated and cooled in a specific way to produce glass that’s exceptionally stronger than regular glass. Tempered glass also shatters in a small granular pattern when broken, making it much safer to break or fall into in the event of an emergency. 

According to International Building Codes, tempered glass windows need to be installed in specific areas of the home, based on certain conditions. For example, you should install tempered glass windows for any window where the bottom of the glazing is less than 18 inches off the floor. Moreover, high-traffic areas like home entrances, and wet-areas—with windows adjacent to tubs and showers—also need to have safety glazed windows (windows made from tempered glass) based on their distance from those items and their distance from the floor. 

You can work with an El Paso window supplier to ensure you have the right type of window for the right room, based on Texas’ building codes and other safety considerations. 

Energy Efficiency Requirements for Residential Windows

Just like your car needs to pass an emissions inspection—an annual test that compares its exhaust to local emission standards—so too do your windows need to meet certain benchmarks to be considered energy-efficient. In Texas, this means all windows should be Energy-Star certified. 

Energy Star is a program run by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) that helps enforce regulations on products and practices that are considered energy-efficient. Specific criteria need to be met for windows to be Energy-Star certified, depending on where you live in the United States. By working with a professional Texas window supplier, you can ensure that the windows you get for your home renovation meet these standards and comply with all Energy Star requirements. 

Want even better performance? Our double-pane glass windows contain argon gas between the glass panes, which helps control the heat that enters your home, while our low-emissivity glass blocks unwanted heat and harmful UV rays. 

Contact us to learn how our windows can lower your energy bill!

Get the Best Windows Possible!

One of the best ways to increase the return on investment of your home renovation is to work with a professional window supplier. By working with a professional—one who knows their stuff—you can ensure the windows you do install are compliant with local regulations, as well as the many specific building codes and conditions that make it. This can guarantee that your newly installed windows are safe, dependable, economical, and efficient—and assured to last for many years to come. 

Need help with your home renovation? Not sure if you’re compliant? Schedule a consultation with Southwestern Home Products to learn more about our services and to order your new windows!

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