Egress. Oklahoma City home inspection

Egress Windows For Emergency Exiting

Oklahoma City home inspection: Window safety check

By following today’s regulation codes, one of the main things I take notice to when completing an Oklahoma City home inspection are the windows. The question I have to ask is “are these windows safe?” The question homeowners have is, what is considered “safe?” If your home is older, then you may not realize that your windows do not meet the safety standards of today. Even if your home is newer, there may be a chance that your windows aren’t up to par with the code. Egress windows are a requirement for homes being built and, perhaps, should be considered for installment in older homes for safety reasons.

The word egress is Latin, meaning: a way to get out of a place or the act of leaving a place. In the sense of egress windows, they are meant for emergency exiting or rescue. While conducting my Oklahoma City home inspections, I often see windows that not even a normal sized child could squeeze out of. It is crazy to fathom how many people do not have an emergency exit plan from their bedrooms, or a way to exit from their bedrooms safely in case of a fire.

For new homes, every residential sleeping room is required to have at least one operable window or exterior door approved for emergency exit in case of a fire. The egress windows are also required in basements with habitable space. Even if you have a basement without sleeping space, it would still be safe to have one installed. I would like to share with you from an Oklahoma City home inspection perspective more about egress windows; how they measure, why they’re beneficial and how they should function.

1.) How they should measure: The minimum net clear opening height must be 24 inches and the minimum net clear opening width must be 20 inches. An egress window must also have a sill height no more than 44” above the finished interior floor. It has to be large enough for you to get out of or a fully dressed fire fighter to get into!

2.) Why egress windows are beneficial: Not only are they meant for safety, but did you know that an egress window is also economical? They are economical, because they are adding value to your home. They may also be more energy efficient that your current windows which could be allowing drafts of air in.

3.) How they function: The egress window must be operable from the inside to a full clear opening without the use of a key, tool, or special knowledge.

Required or not, egress windows are essential lifesaving equipment. As an added bonus, I will leave you with a tip that you may need to know if you’re considering adding egress compliant windows to your home.

Oklahoma City home inspection tip:

If you’re replacing a smaller window with a larger one that meets egress requirements, bear in mind that enlarging the height of the opening takes less structural work than enlarging the width.

Give me a call (405) 301-3321) to find out more, or if you feel you need an Oklahoma City home inspection!

electrical

About Electrical Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters

Oklahoma City home inspection: The AFCI breakdown

As an Oklahoma City home inspection company owner, it is my job to be concerned with the safety features that a home could have to be better. One fairly new safety feature that has become the new wave of protection for electronics is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter. Chances are (unless you have heard this term used by an inspector during an Oklahoma City home inspection or by an electrician) you’ve never heard of this technology. Just like many homeowners, you may not know what an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) really is.

The explanation of AFCI can be somewhat complicated to newcomers, but basically it is a type of breaker designed to detect arc faults in your home’s wiring. Arcing faults are a series that an arc occurs in electrical wiring when there is a small gap or break in a conductor. A parallel arc occurs when a small gap or break permits current to flow to the ground (a ground fault) or between the hot and neutral wires (a short circuit). This is where the AFCI comes in; it trips the breaker before those arcing faults can cause a fire. This is important, because over 40,000 fires, annually, are being attributed to home electrical wiring issues.

Oklahoma City home inspection tip # 1:
If you are curious whether you have AFCI breakers in your home, you can do a simple check to find out. Go to the electrical panels to see if any of the breakers have a test button. Next, read the label to see what type of breaker it is. There are two types of AFCI breakers you may keep an eye out for: Branch Feeder (or BRAF) and Combination type.

Oklahoma City home inspection tip # 2:
Combination type breakers are the newer ones. If you have panels with the older BRAF type breakers, it is recommended to replace them with the newer Combination type AFCI breakers.

Oklahoma City home inspection tip #3:
If you do not have AFCI breakers at all, then there is more for you to consider. Currently, there is not a way for AFCI breakers to be installed into very old homes without rewiring the circuits and installing new panels that could accept the AFCI breakers. If you’re not selling your home, then making the upgrade is solely up to your judgment as a homeowner.

Keep in mind, that the upgrade to AFCI breakers could be the difference between a home fire or replacement of expensive electronic items such as your radio, television or computer. AFCI breakers are truly a safety improvement for your home.

Give me a call (405-301-3321) to find out more, or if you feel you need an Oklahoma City home inspection!