In this article, we will examine home window maintenance as well as emergency egress and family safety plan recommendations.

Home Window Maintenance

Hey homeowner! Are you in the habit of home window maintenance? Let’s look at what home window maintenance entails.

Family room with huge windowsCondition: 

Home owners should monitor window frames, sills and sashes because the interior condition and hardware of windows change over time. Specifically, frame materials can include plastic, aluminum, steel, wood, plastic-clad wood, and metal-clad (steel or aluminum) wood. Window types include double-hung, single-hung, casement, horizontal sliding, projected out or awning, projected in, and fixed. In addition to these, there are jalousies, which are glass louvers on an aluminum or steel frame. 

Windows along the outdoor deck of a homeAt older sashes, home owners should monitor the glazing compound or putty around the glass panels carefully, since this is a vulnerable part of the window and its repair is time-consuming. For instance, check the panels in steel or aluminum sashes for signs of deterioration, such as hardened sealant. Additionally, check metal sashes for weep holes that have been blocked by paint, sealant or dirt. Weep holes are usually easy to clean. Monitor storm windows and doors for operation, “weathertightness”, overall condition, and fit. 

Weatherstripping: 

Window and door weatherstripping is generally one of three types: metal; foam plastic; or plastic stripping. Each type should fit well. To clarify, check the metal for dents, bends and straightness. Check foam plastic for resiliency, and plastic stripping for brittleness and cracks. After that, make sure the weatherstripping is securely held in place. 

Shutters surround a window on a home's porchShutters & Awnings: 

Periodically check the shutters’ operation and observe their condition and fit. Examine shutters close to the ground from the ground. Alternately, for shutters out of reach from the ground, examine the shutters from inside the house. 

Monitor the condition of your awnings as the attachment to the exterior wall can become loose. Oftentimes, an attachment device in the mortar joint of a brick wall can be easily pulled or slid outward. Some windows and glazed exterior doors have awnings over them for decoration, sun control, and protection from the weather. 

Egress Windows for Fire Safety

Child looking out home windowEgress: 

Basements and every sleeping room should have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening that opens directly onto a public street, public alley, yard or court. This is a standard requirement because many deaths and injuries happen when occupants are asleep at the time of a house fire and the normal means of escape (through doors) are typically blocked. 

The sill height of the emergency escape and rescue opening should not exceed 44 inches above the floor. If the window has a sill height below ground level, a window well should be provided. The horizontal area of a window well should be at least 9 square feet, with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (with the exception of a ladder encroachment into the required dimension).  If an emergency escape window is located under a porch or deck, the porch or deck should allow the window to be fully opened. Additionally, the escape path should be at least 3 feet high. 

Safety Plan:

You can’t be prepared to act in an emergency if you don’t have a plan and everybody knows what that plan is. Panic and fear can spread as quickly as a fire. Therefore, make sure to map out an escape route and a meeting place outdoors. Involve even the youngest family members so that everyone can work as a unit to make a safe escape.

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What does a home inspection cover?

Home inspector examining windowAn inspection includes a visual examination of the building. During a standard inspection, the inspector evaluates and reports the condition of the foundation, grading, roof, roof structure, interior/exterior walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, fireplace/chimney, electrical systems, heating equipment, cooling equipment (temperature permitting), plumbing system, water heating equipment and built-in kitchen appliances. Only those items that are visible and accessible by normal means are included in the report.

Inspectors licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) are required to comply with the TREC Standards of Practice when inspections are performed for a prospective buyer or prospective seller of one-to-four family residential property. The Standards of Practice are the minimum levels of inspection practice required of inspectors for the accessible parts, components, and systems typically found in improvements to real property, excluding detached structures, decks, docks and fences. The inspector may provide a higher level of inspection performance than required by the standards of practice and may inspect parts, components, and systems in addition to those described by the standards of practice.

Be sure to schedule a home inspection.

Micah Stephens, Owner and Chief Inspector, SafeShield Inspections LLCHome inspections, although not required, have become a critical step during the home buying process. You’re not just buying that amazing chef’s kitchen or perfect master bath. “You will be buying any problem issues that you likely would never have found during your tour of the home,” says Texas home inspector, Micah Stephens of SafeShield Inspections, LLC. The inspection is your opportunity to gain insight into the current condition of the home and use the material in the report to negotiate the deal and make an informed decision.

Your future deserves the attention of a professional. If you have questions or would like more information on a home inspection, please contact Micah Stephens with SafeShield Inspections, LLC at (832) 953-6992 or email Micah@SafeShieldInspections.com. Request a FREE QUOTE.

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Nick Gromicko, InterNACHI Founder
Nick Gromicko is the founder of InterNACHI®, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, based in Boulder, Colorado. InterNACHI® is the world’s largest association of property inspectors — with one of the largest websites on the Internet at www.nachi.org — offering education, training, benefits and support to its members to help them succeed in the home inspection industry.

Mr. Gromicko also serves as executive director of the Master Inspector Certification Board, which awards qualified property inspectors the title of Certified Master Inspector®, the industry’s highest professional designation.