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egress window well with drainage

How to Prevent Clogged Basement Window Wells

Clogged window wells can be a real pain, but with the right preparation, you can avoid ever having to deal with them.

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Adding windows to your basement is a great choice. They let in more light, making it a much more inviting space. Furthermore, if you want to formally finish your basement these days, egress windows are required by law to ensure that the basement has an accessible exit in case of emergency. Any window placed below ground level, however, will need a window well, and this means you will have to take measures to ensure it stays free from water and debris. 

egress window well with drainage

Why Worry About Clogged Window Wells? 

Fall and winter in Washington, D.C., and Virginia can be notoriously wet and wild. If your window wells aren’t draining well, this can lead to a lot of standing water. This may not seem like a terrible problem; after all, the water is outside the window. But standing water in your window wells will begin to damage your window frames and seals over time. This will lead to leaks and dampness inside your basement, which is a much bigger problem. 

How to Prevent Clogged Window Wells 

Preventing clogged window wells is easier than it sounds. The most basic thing you can do to keep your window wells clear is to set up a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule for their drains. 

Clearing debris and buildup from your window well drains once every few months is very easy and will go a long way toward preventing clogs and floods. Making sure you have the right drains and a solid window well cover will prevent clogs and floods very effectively. 

Window Well Drains 

Most basement window wells should already have drainage systems. These may be clogged due to lack of maintenance, but it’s very unusual to find window wells that simply don’t have drainage (unless they were poorly or cheaply constructed). If your drains are clear but water still drains slowly, it could be that they are unsuitable for the needs of your home. At this point, you should consult a professional to get advice. 

Window Well Covers 

Window well covers do more to protect your drains than anything else. If you get the right window well covers for your home, you will prevent the majority of debris from getting into your window wells. This will leave your drains to get rid of water swiftly. You can get generic plastic bubble covers at most hardware stores (and even some supermarkets), but these are flimsy and won’t last long. If you instead invest in more durable covers that have been fitted to your window wells, you will probably never need to replace them. 

Unclogging Blocked Window Well Drains 

Of course, even the most careful homeowners will have to deal with clogged window wells at some point. If you have found yourself in this situation, there are a few things you can do. First and foremost, you can try to unclog the drains yourself. 

In order to do this, you should first remove all floating and visible debris from the top of the water. If the water is quite shallow this should expose the bottom of the well so you can see what is causing the blockage. If the water is deep or muddy, you will have to put gloves on and feel for the debris at the bottom (be careful 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, it is likely that the blockage is inside the drain somewhere. At this point, you can pump out the water by yourself and investigate, use a pipe snake to attempt to shift whatever is causing the blockage, or call a professional to assess the situation. 

If you need assistance with your window wells, you can trust the experienced team at JES Foundation Repair. We offer free inspection appointments that come with same-day written repair quotes. We are also committed to reasonable pricing and flexible payment plans, so don’t be afraid to contact our team. We promise to do everything in our power to find a solution that suits you.

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