I have a basement with a partially finished bedroom (currently used as storage) on one side, a gas furnace and tankless water heater at the foot of the staircase in the middle, and a newly finished family room and art studio on the other side. I need an egress window to complete the project and am trying to figure out the best place for it.
Local code here in Portland, Oregon says an egress window should be installed in the bedroom if the basement has a bedroom, and otherwise in a room you spend significant time in. I might complete the finishing of the basement bedroom in the future (say 2-3 years), so it would be nice to locate the egress window there to meet that requirement. But currently, we spend more time in the other rooms.
Another factor is that the best place structurally to put the egress window is in the bedroom. That has an existing window that could be enlarged, while placing it in the other rooms would require creating a new opening and modifying a load-bearing wall. So current practicality and future planning would point toward locating it in the bedroom, while the utmost consideration of current safety would point toward locating it in the family room.
One factor I don't understand is what kinds of situations an egress window would help in. Is a fire likely to occur near the furnace or the staircase, blocking a path from the family room on one side of the basement to the bedroom on the other side? Or would an egress window anywhere in the basement be accessible in most emergencies? I have a contractor to do the installation, but he wasn't sure about the relative safety benefits of the two locations.
In short, I think one option is to locate the egress window in the bedroom, even though that isn't used as a bedroom now, so that it will be ready if we ever want to use it as a bedroom in the future. And the other option is to locate the egress window in the family room, knowing that if we ever want to use the bedroom as a bedroom, we would then need a second egress window there. What would you do, and why?