Window Well Drain
Everybody loves natural lighting. It’s free, it means getting a great view of what’s outside your home, and thanks to the way our internal clocks work, natural lighting can even work as an effective alarm clock. Natural lighting can even have an impact on your mood, especially if you’re one of the millions who have seasonal affective disorder.
But while it’s easy enough to add windows to the floors of a building that sit aboveground, adding windows to a basement floor often means digging out a pit so the window has access to the open air. That’s why it’s important to make sure every basement window has a good window well drain.
How It Works
If you were to dig a hole along the side of your home without doing anything else, you’d be in for some trouble very soon (or less soon, depending on how much rain you see per year). Water is just about the last thing you want getting into your home, which is why so much of every building’s design is based around moving it away from the walls and foundation and draining it away.
These design choices include obvious actions like installing a waterproof roof with a gutter system, but it also includes subtle touches like building up the ground right next to the walls so that it slopes gently away. Another way construction companies improve drainage is by filling in the holes they dig around the basement walls with stones and sand instead of dirt and clay, since this makes it easier for water to drain down past the basement floor and into the pipes that lead to the local storm drain system.
Window wells work using the same techniques. First, the construction company separates the well from the soil around it with corrugated steel, concrete, or an equally tough material. They then fill the well with gravel up to the base of the window to improve the drainage and add a window well drain which leads down to where the other pipes can take the water away.
How A Window Well Drain Can Cause Problems
While a window well drain will usually work perfectly at first, and may work fine for decades, window wells can cause problems if the home or building owner doesn’t care for them properly. For instance, leaves and other organic debris can clog up a window well the same way they clog up the gutters along your roof. A few leaves falling in each year won’t make a big difference, but if a window well starts filling up, it won’t be able to drain properly and it may lead to water seeping in through the window frame.
One of the other big problems with window wells is the fact that cats, rabbits, frogs, and other animals can accidentally fall in and not be able to get out. It’s not something that affects your home’s integrity, but it’s still something most people don’t want to see when they open the curtains on their basement windows.
How You Can Fix Things
If your window well is giving you issues, there are a few different ways you can improve the situation. In the first place, if too many leaves and other debris are falling into the window well, you can always clean it out by hand. Another simple solution that’s easy to install is a window well cover, a piece of reinforced glass that keeps rain, leaves, and animals out while letting sunlight in. However, it also keeps the fresh air out and can heat up like a greenhouse, which you might not appreciate.
If you live in an older house, the problem might be that the window well drain wasn’t built to modern standards. If this is the case, your best bet might be to ask a professional basement contractor to dig it all up again and start over.
AA Action Waterproofing offers its services to the state of Maryland and its neighbors, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, D.C., and Virginia. Whether it’s an old home, a new home, or anything in between, we’ve never seen a basement, foundation, or window well problem we couldn’t fix. Our first estimate is free and carries no obligation, so feel free to contact us and set up an initial appraisal.