There are four major aspects of code compliance that every window installation company should understand: energy performance, safety glazing, fall protection and emergency escape and rescue. The International Residential Code (IRC) requires windows that are installed in any building are up to these standards, so it is important for you as a homeowner to understand these codes to be able to make informed decisions when selecting windows and who will install them for you.
There are two metrics used to measure a window’s energy efficiency: the U-Factor and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The U-Factor measures how effective your window insulates. In general, the U-Factor for windows should be in the range of between 0.20 to 1.20. The SGFC, also called “shading”, measures how much of the sun’s heat comes through the window.
Some windows may be located in seemingly hazardous areas and will require safety glazing as a precaution. A location may be considered hazardous if the exposed area of a single pane is bigger than 9 square feet, the bottom edge of the window is less than 18 inches above the floor, the top edge of the glazing is more than 36 inches above the floor and if one or more walking surfaces are within 36 inches of the window.
Fall protection is a provision in the code that prevents small children from climbing over the windowsill. In 2015, the code was amended so all windows must be at least 24 inches from the ground. If your home was built prior to 2015, be sure to check if your existing windows have the minimum height requirement that meets code guidelines.
Emergency Escape and Rescue
The IRC requires that all windows that are installed in any room that could be used as a bedroom be large enough to allow the occupants of the building to escape or for rescue personnel to access in case of emergencies, such as fires and earthquakes. These windows must also be operable without the use of keys or any special knowledge.
Be sure your windows are up to code by getting in touch with Chesterfield’s window company of choice. Give Renewal by Andersen® of St. Louis a call at (314) 332-2364, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free appointment today.