Open Window Wells
Homes with poured concrete foundations often have basements which need a point of egress. Older homes may have small casement windows that pivot, but these will not allow a grown human to escape if the need arises. Homes that have a below grade basement and bedrooms (or the potential for bedrooms) in the basement are required to have a point of egress (or escape). This is where the window wells come in. Newer homes will have a metal encasement with a ladder coming up from 1 or more windows in the basement. This allows you to escape a fire or flood of the basement when the main exit is blocked.
Window wells are a safety feature in homes however they can also create a hazard. Open window wells above grade can be hidden behind landscaping or blend in well enough that without a cover the risk of a fall become more common.
Here is a code sheet from Boulder County Colorado. Which states the requirements for new builds and remodels pertaining to window wells. Click Here.
On inspections we find that the cover for the window well has been removed or damaged. We consider this a safety hazard along with a maintenance issue. As a safety hazard, one wrong step can send you plummeting into a 6-foot hole. As a maintenance issue, areas with harsh winters, snow can pile up in the window well putting pressure on the window and window surround which can lead to leaking.
It is important to cover any window wells that are level with grade. As adults we may know they are there and can avoid them but we worry about the kiddos that are running and playing around these open holes.
If a window well cover is installed the lock should be able to be unlocked from the inside without a key or the us of tools. In an emergency you don't want to be looking for a key to get out.
Call Western Home Inspections today for a Home Safety Visit.
“Protect Your Greatest Investment”