Condition: Window frames, sashes and sills should be monitored because the interior condition and hardware of windows change over time. Frame materials can include steel, aluminum, plastic, wood, plastic-clad wood, and metal-clad (aluminum or steel) wood. Window types include single-hung, double-hung, horizontal sliding, casement, projected out or awning, fixed, and projected in.
The putty around the window glass panels should be watched carefully, since this is a vulnerable part of the window. Check the panels in aluminum or steel sashes for signs of deterioration, such as hardened sealant. Check metal sashes for weep holes that have been blocked by sealant, paint or dirt. Weep holes are usually easy to clean. And storm doors and windows should be monitored for weathertightness, operation, fit, and overall condition.
Weatherstripping: Door and window weatherstripping is generally one of three types; foam, metal plastic, or plastic stripping. Each type should have a solid fit. Check the metal for bends, dents and straightness, and check foam plastic for resiliency, and plastic stripping for any cracks. Make sure the weatherstripping is securely held in place.
Awnings & Shutters: Every once in a while, check the shutters’ operation and observe their fit and condition. Shutters close to the ground can be examined from the ground, and shutters off the ground should be examined from inside the house.
Monitor the condition of your awnings, since the attachment to the exterior wall could become loose. An attachment device in the mortar joint of a brick wall can be pulled or slid outward, and some windows and glazed exterior doors have awnings over them for decoration, sun control, and weather protection.
Egress Windows for Fire Safety
Egress: Basements and every sleeping room should have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening that opens directly onto a public alley, public street, court or yard. This standard is required because many injuries or deaths happen when occupants are asleep at the time of a house fire and the usual means of escape (through doors) are normally blocked.
The sill height of the rescue and emergency escape opening should not be more than 44 inches above the floor. A window well should be provided if the window has a sill height below ground level. It should have a horizontal area of at least 9 sq. feet, with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches. The porch or deck should allow the window to be fully opened and the escape path should be at least 3 feet high if an emergency escape window is located under a porch or deck.
You can’t be prepared to act in an emergency if you don’t have a plan and everybody knows what that plan is. Fear and panic can spread as quickly as a fire, so make sure to map out an escape route and a meeting place outdoors. Involve even the youngest family members so that everyone can work together to make a safe escape.
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