Skip to Main Content

How To Prevent Clogged Basement Window Wells

view of a clogged basement window well from inside the basement

Basement windows and egress window systems let in light and enhance your home’s appearance and safety. However, components like window wells can fail and cause basement damage.

If exterior basement window wells suffer damage, such as clogs and leaks, they can quickly create a mess in your basement.

Learn how to keep your window and basement in top shape and how local basement waterproofing professionals ensure a dry, healthy home.

What is a Window Well?

an installed egress window and window well

Every basement window requires a window well. A window well is a semi-circular excavation in the ground around a basement window that allows for larger windows and provides other benefits, including natural light, water and moisture management, and an emergency exit.

Under International Residential Code, basements used as living spaces are required to have an emergency exit in the form of an egress window. Many basement windows are small, but an egress window system has a larger window well featuring steps.

What Causes Window Well Clogs and Damage?

While most window wells are designed to withstand even heavy rainfall, they can begin to leak and cause other issues. The most common causes include:

  • Drainage Issues: Window wells are placed in the ground, and they will inevitably fill with water during rainfall if they lack a way to drain or the drainage is inadequate.
  • Incorrect Installation: If your basement windows and window well are installed improperly, they are far more likely to experience leaks.
  • Damage: If your windows are cracked, the seal is damaged, or the well itself has sustained damage, you are more likely to experience leaks, dampness, and mold or mildew formation.
  • Lack of Maintenance: Even the best windows can deteriorate over time and with prolonged use. If you do not take steps to maintain your windows, they will begin to break down.
  • Precipitation: Melting snow, heavy rain, flooding, and even water from sprinkler systems exert a unique kind of pressure on the basement, straining even the most well-maintained windows.

By understanding and addressing the causes of basement window well leaks, you take proactive steps to maintain the integrity of your windows and prevent potential water damage.

Why Should You Be Concerned About Clogged Window Wells?

water on a basement floor near a basement window

Weather in Northern and Southern Alberta can be unpredictable. If your window wells are not draining properly, it can lead to significant water accumulation. While this may not seem like a significant issue at first, since the water is outside the window, prolonged exposure to standing water can damage your window frames and seals over time.

This results in more substantial problems, like basement leaks or flooding, elevated humidity, mold growth, pest infestations, wall cracks, structural problems, and damaged belongings.

Preventing Clogged Window Wells in 3 Steps

Preventing clogged window wells is a more straightforward task than it may initially appear. Adding a few essential features and keeping up with a maintenance schedule are key. Follow these steps to ensure the protection of your window well and home:

1. Waterproof With Window Well Drains

installed window well and window well drain

Most basement window wells should already have drainage systems installed, but some may lack drains if they are poorly or cheaply constructed. These drains may become clogged due to debris and lack of maintenance. If your drains are clear but water still drains slowly, it could indicate that they are unsuitable for your home’s needs, in which case you should consult a professional for guidance.

2. Unclog Blocked Window Well Drains

Start by removing any floating or visible debris from the surface of the water. If the water level is shallow, this should expose the bottom of the well, allowing you to identify the source of the blockage. If the water is deep or muddy, you may need to put on gloves and feel for debris at the bottom (exercise caution while doing so). Once you remove the debris from your drains, the water should begin to drain away.

If the water in your window well drains slowly or not at all, the blockage is likely inside the drain itself. At this point, you can pump out the water yourself and investigate, use a pipe snake to attempt to dislodge the obstruction, or call a professional to assess the situation.

3. Add Window Well Covers

window well cover installed over an egress system's window well

Window well covers play a crucial role in protecting your drains. By investing in the right window well covers for your home, you can prevent most debris from entering your window wells, allowing your drains to swiftly remove water.

While generic plastic bubble covers are available at most big-box stores, they tend to be flimsy and may not last long. Alternatively, investing in more durable covers specifically fitted to your window wells can provide a long-lasting solution, potentially eliminating the need for replacement.

Invest in Additional Basement Protection

Whether being proactive or reactive, you can prevent additional damage if your problematic window well leads to leaks inside your basement. Groundworks experts can recommend customized solutions to ensure your basement remains dry, including:

Don’t let window wells and potential leaks stress you out; invest in the comprehensive protection your basement deserves.

Contact Groundworks for Reliable Waterproofing Solutions!

Groundworks work truck

Windows and window wells can make or break the condition of your basement. Protect what matters most with professionally installed solutions.

If you need help with your window wells and basement water management solutions, trust the experienced team at Groundworks. We offer free inspections, no-obligation estimates, flexible financing options, and unmatched customer care. We promise to do everything we can to find a solution that suits your needs.

Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.