Do You Know Your EEROs?

Jim Snyder
November 17, 2015
THE TALK... | Codes & Standards

During my years of window replacement, I was only somewhat acquainted with clear opening size requirements for Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings—5 square feet for first floor bedrooms and 5.7 square feet for upstairs bedrooms. That was about all I knew off the cuff.

I also referenced window manufacturers’ standard sizing tables that identified what sizing met egress requirements (based on national codes) by a jagged diagonal line across their elevations table. While my knowledge was fairly accurate, it was very incomplete. I wasn’t always completely sure and, on occasion, would ask local code authority.

For instance, I would pause for thought when I replaced a bedroom window in an older home that I knew didn’t meet egress, but with the same size window. “Surely I don’t have to increase the size of the rough opening just to upgrade this window,” I justified with a “grandfathered in” reasoning.

What if I were adding a window to an existing home for a room that will now be used as a bedroom? An egress-sized window wouldn’t match the other smaller bedroom windows. What’s the call here? Or, can I install an insert product in an existing frame of an existing bedroom window, which, obviously, reduces the clear opening size? The answer is: it depends… on a lot of things.

If you’re in the replacement business, take a few minutes to read Julie Ruth’s invaluable recent column, Replacement Windows in Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings. Her article clears up a lot of guessing in very short order. Then, share it with your sales team, print it and keep it in your presentation binder. You’ll be glad you did.

Returning to my original question above, how familiar are you with egress requirements for window replacement? Review the survey results and leave a comment, if you would. And/or, drop me a line, if you’d like.

Survey Results for 11/18/2015 :

How familiar are you with egress requirements for window replacement?

I've done my homework and have a solid understanding





I have a pretty good understanding





I often have questions




Jim Snyder is an AAMA-certified FenestrationMaster and InstallationMaster who shares his years of installation field experience as an industry writer, speaker, trainer and project/product consultant for dealers and manufacturers. A member of various industry organizations, Snyder also is involved in instructional document creation and revision. Contact him at