Common Causes of Window Well Problems

Common Causes of Window Well Problems
Common Causes of Window Well Problems

Windows are important for any living space because they are the means through which sunlight enters into the home. Without them, a room becomes darker and uninviting, and you need to use artificial lights to illuminate it. The basement, then, with its location underneath the rest of the house, can benefit greatly from a few windows. They can brighten up its otherwise dim interior and make it much more hospitable for day-to-day activities. Yet installing windows along the basement walls also necessitates that the outside soil around them be cleared away, since the windows are usually below the surface level of the surrounding earth. Window wells allow these windows to receive sunlight. The space immediately near the window is made hollow by the window well’s walls, which form a semicircle or rectangular shape around the window.

This solution for basement window installation, however, comes with its own set of challenges. Window wells can experience some issues that can lead to leaking in the basement, a result of the opening in the wall that the window creates. In order to resolve such dilemmas, you should understand the common causes of window well problems.

The Well Was Improperly Installed

Much of the effectiveness of a window well is dependent on how firmly it is connected to the outer wall around the window. If it becomes disconnected in any way, this will inevitably lead to soil and water falling in through the gaps that have been created. An improperly installed window well is likely to separate from the wall when the house settles as the ground under it shifts. Foundation settlement like this can occur because the soil was not compacted enough when the house was built or because the water content of the soil has risen or fallen.

Although major shifting is more an issue related to the home’s structure, your window well should be able to handle some degree of movement by being tightly secured to the wall. This will prevent you from having to completely remove the window well from the ground and getting an entire new well in its place, which will cost you more time and money.

The Window Itself Is Deteriorated

When windows are older and made of less durable materials, they may deteriorate over time. The leaks that you experience may thus be caused by a combination of water accumulation in the well and gaps that have formed around the windows as they have eroded. For instance, old wooden window frames may rot, and old steel frames may rust with repeated water exposure. Eventually, the water gains more access to the basement and causes problems for you.

If you are having trouble with the basement windows, it may be necessary to replace them with more tightly sealed, modern windows that will remain undamaged by water. A material that is favorable over wood or steel is vinyl, as it will not warp or decay as the weather and temperature changes throughout the year. It is also easy to clean. Still, a new window will need to work in conjunction with other measures to ensure that leaks are stopped, which we’ll cover in the following sections.

There Is Inadequate Drainage

Window wells must have a form of effective drainage in place so that water that falls into them has a route from which it can exit rather than sitting there and accumulating. Sometimes, a drain may be present in the well, but it does not actually lead anywhere except the ground slightly below the well. This will not clear the water away much, if at all. The drain pipeline should instead be connected either to an exterior drain tile system or an internal drain tile system, both of which move the water to a spot well away from the home.

The exterior drain tile system moves water outside the home in the window well to the neighborhood’s sewer, stopping it from coming into the basement through the window. A sump pump works to push the water away without it ever entering your home. If you connect the well’s drain to an internal system, the water will be transported through a pipeline into your basement, where it will end up in the sump pit you have. From there, the water will be actively pumped away to an outside area far from the home.

Debris Is Clogging up the Bottom

The nature of the window well makes it particularly vulnerable to collecting debris and dirt that falls in by chance. In small amounts, this does not have much of an effect at all on the window well. But given enough time, a sizeable layer of muck will form in the well, composed of soil, leaves, and other outdoor particles. This debris can clog up the drainage pipe that is located at the well’s bottom, which means that any water that enters thereafter has no place to go but into the basement through the window. Additionally, snow and ice can obstruct the drain during the winter.

Debris collection is even more likely to occur if the window well does not rise much higher than the surface of the surrounding ground, since the soil can easily slip down if this is the case. Window wells that are too narrow may also be more prone to debris accumulation as the earth will push more strongly on their sides and may then tumble in.

When your leaking is caused by debris clogging, you’ll need to get professionals who can clean it out and then install a window well cover. This cover is usually made of transparent plastic so that sunlight still comes into the basement window while unwanted debris and water is kept out of the well. You can also get a cover featuring a grating pattern that will catch debris.

If your window well is experiencing leaks, call The Real Seal today for expert basement waterproofing. We will carefully diagnose your problem and employ the corresponding solutions to stop water from ruining your basement’s interior.


Austin Werner

Austin Werner is the Owner of The Real Seal LLC, a basement waterproofing and foundation repair company. Austin believes that having a highly trained and happy team is the key to success. This is reflected through hundreds of 5 star customer reviews his company has received online.

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