Egress Window & HVAC Condenser Unit

I do many new home inspections in Florida. I sometimes find the HVAC condenser unit placed directly in front of an only egress bedroom window. I have searched Florida Building Code etc. to no avail. Does anyone know the clearance standards for this situation? If so can you provide the source for that information? I just know that many people would be unable to quickly exit a window with a condenser unit in front of it in case of emergency. Thank you in advance!

If I’m choosing between being burned alive and skinning my knee, well, you get the point…


If the unit was placed in front of a below grade basement window, then maybe. But as Dom pointed out, I wouldn’t even know that the unit was there during an emergency.

The FBC lists all the specs at 1029.1

Thanks! However in the FBC 2020 edition I believe 1029 refers to “Assembly”. So far in FBC Chapter 10 (Means of Egress), I have not found anything referring to the placement of equipment in front of an egress window in a residential dwelling. Of course I may be overlooking something.

If it’s blocked then it’s is no longer an egress IMO. These units are often fastened in place to the sash and the sash also fastened.

If it doesn’t impact the range of motion of the egress window (swinging/casement, etc.) I probably wouldn’t mention it. I suppose if it were actually sitting in front of the window and preventing escape/rescue I’d write it up. Even on a new build I don’t really care about codes, rules, etc. I just explain the problem to the buyers and let them make a decision and fight it out with the builder or city or whomever.

I once took a class taught by a long time city inspector and he’d love to say, “The code doesn’t address STUPID!” It was kind of a joke at the time but over the years has stuck with me. Basically, if something is dumb it’s just dumb. As HIs we don’t need a number to explain why.

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Thank you! The ones I am referring to are stand alone condenser units outside of an only egress window for a bedroom

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Yes, these I have seen are actually squarely outside in front of a only egress bedroom window. I can SO much agree with “The code doesn’t address STUPID”. After all the years I’ve been doing this, I still find things that make me shake my head in disbelief.

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so You are saying the unit is directly in front of the window…that means the unit is below grade ???..I have never seen that done…Do You have a picture of something like that ? I would very much like to see it.

It might be helpful, a bit of a step down.

Here’s a pic that shows what I am referring to (this condenser unit was about 12 inches out from the window :

and You have a problem with that???


when You said egress window I assumed You were talking about a basement bedroom egress window, What you have pictured I have only ever heard referred to as a bedroom window. My only problem with the location of the condenser in that picture would be noise when trying to sleep in that room. I see no issue for escape during an emergency from that window…


I guess the question to ask is if there was soil built up to the height of the outdoor unit would you write it up? I’d only have a problem if it were substantially blocking the window. If you could move a 5.7sf (or whatever the standard is) box in/out of the window there is not a problem. I agree it’s kind of a dumb place for it.

You are right. It is a bedroom window that is the only point of egress. If an older or overweight person must get out in a hurry, I believe it would be so much easier without something blocking their path–sometimes every second counts.

These same people have trouble with a 44 inch basement sill (that’s 8 inches more than a countertop - don’t know too many people jumping on a countertop; but if your ass is on fire. . . ). Makes you wonder who thinks up this stuff.

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Yes, I know! LOL!

As stated, if you are concerned about where the unit is placed, I would write it up. It wouldn’t have to be an elderly or overweight person. Those units are not built to climb on. I always try to think “would I accept the condition if it were my family living in the home”. In this case I would not. Let the builder defend the problem. If something were to happen you would know that you did your best to try to protect your customer.


Thank you! I can’t agree more with how you think! I have been writing it up, but was hoping to find some “official” standard to quote to back it up.