I have read Is it necessary to put a special egress window in a basement bedroom if there's already a window above ground. My situation is similar but different.

My basement has a furnace, a work bench, a ping pong table, a washer, and a dryer. That's it. There are no plans to create a bedroom down there, ever.

There are two small windows that let a bit of outdoor light in. Each one has a window well and a plastic well cover.

Water comes in through the bottom of the two windows in a heavy rain. We tried caulking, and that solved the problem initially, but after a couple months they started leaking again. Maybe because of the change of season (late summer giving way to fall and early winter).

I am thinking about perhaps blocking off those windows in some permanent way. Would that create a safety problem?

  • Any answer provided is going to be entirely dependent on your local building codes. Where are you located? – UnhandledExcepSean Nov 19 '19 at 20:56
  • @UnhandledExcepSean - upstate NY near PA. For existing construction, exceptions are made (speaking generally). My main focus isn't on code. – aparente001 Nov 19 '19 at 21:01
  • Another question relevant to safety, if the windows were removed, how many exits would the basement have? Also, how big is this basement? – UnhandledExcepSean Nov 19 '19 at 21:03
  • @UnhandledExcepSean - There is one staircase down to the basement. When one goes back up, one can either go through a door into the kitchen, or through another door into the garage, which has a large door and a regular door. I thought the key would be that no one is going to sleep down there. We do have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in the house. – aparente001 Nov 19 '19 at 21:05

From a code perspective, I think you are OK so long as the square footage of the basement is less than 200 and there is adequate ventilation.

I personally believe there is a safety concern though, but minor and something you could mitigate with ensuring smoke detectors are plentiful and fire extinguishers are readily available, but this is something people should already have.

In your case, my suggestion would be to correct the water penetration which is either poor water sealing or poor drainage in the window well.

  • Our basement is large. Maybe 600 square feet. Are you thinking it might be helpful to put in some extra smoke detectors? One in the garage, one at the top of the stairs, one near the furnace (in the basement), one in the kitchen? – aparente001 Nov 19 '19 at 21:16

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