Window Well Problems: Why You Don’t Want Them for Your Home

Window wells are often advertised as attractive options for a basement that has windows at or below grade level. They’re flaunted as features that can allow natural light to flood into your otherwise dark basement, giving you a view of something other than the dirt around your foundation.

window well problems

While some of this statement is certainly true, window well problems are notorious and cause significant issues in and around the home.

If you don’t already have one of these window wells, you may want to consider whether you truly need one. You may just realize that they’re likely to cause more harm than good in your home.

Window Wells Pose a Threat to Physical Safety

You may already feel like this one is obvious, but a window well can certainly pose a risk to the physical safety of your family. The specific depth of your window well will vary based on the construction of your home and height of the windows.

However, it’s fairly safe to say that your window well will need to be deep to accommodate the size of the window and drainage space beneath it.

Children and pets who aren’t paying careful attention could easily fall into this space. Window wells present an immediate concern for physical safety that should be noted before moving on to other pressing window well problems.

Your Home Will Be More Susceptible to Flooding

A quality window well should be installed with the ability to drain some water away from the window itself. However, these drain lines aren’t always sufficient in a major rain storm or blizzard which are common problems in Rockford.

Water that builds up in the area dug out for the window well will often find its way past the window seals and into your home. This can have disastrous consequences for your home, especially because a basement is notoriously difficult to air out after a flood.

Heavy snowfall can also be one of the largest window well problems. You may think to shovel off your sidewalks and scrape the snow off your vehicle, but are you willing to dig out your window well? Eventually, the sun will shine and the snow will melt, creating a massive puddle that may not be able to drain.

The potential for flooding can be minimized by ensuring that the window well has excellent drainage and is free of debris, but it isn’t a foolproof solution. The long-term risk of flooding still remains, as the drainage could be affected at any time.

Cleaning a Window Well Entails Time-Consuming Labor

One of the least favorite yard work tasks is usually cleaning out the gutters, but cleaning a window well could be far worse. Leaves, sticks, plants, freshly cut grass and other odd objects can all find their way into this open area.

Not only is it difficult to reach your arm down into the window well to clean it out thoroughly, but it can also be dangerous.

You never know what you may find when you reach down into the window well. You’ll need to make sure to wear thick gloves and protect your skin from exposure to anything unexpected.

You should consider whether you have the time to keep up with the maintenance or if a lack of time will lead to common window well problems. When the window well isn’t properly cleaned, you also lose the view and the natural light that led you to install one in the first place.

Dirt and debris will block the sunlight from ever entering your basement. You lose out on the most heavily advertised benefit of these features without the proper care and maintenance.

A Clogged Drain is a Common Occurrence

Sometimes, you may not be able to see the areas that need the most attention and cleaning. The drain can easily become clogged with dirt or gravel that’s bonded to the soil and water.

This can be particularly true if the window well isn’t sized appropriately for your home and window.

It’s nearly impossible to clean gravel once it ceases to allow water to flow through. The best option is to shovel it out and start over with new stones, something that may need to be done on a fairly regular basis.

This is back-breaking work that takes up a lot of time and poses a barrier to the effective functioning of the window well.

Cleaning out the drain is the most time-consuming aspect among all of the window well problems. These items require major time commitments for routine maintenance, and slacking on that maintenance could result in larger problems. Without a clean area, the well won’t drain properly and could flood into your basement.

You’ll Find Animals in the Window Well

It isn’t just inanimate objects that may find their way into the window well. Small animals, rodents and birds may begin to build their home in this cozy area.

Particularly in the winter, this could be an extremely warm spot that many animals are searching for. If you reach your hand into the window well without noticing the habitat of a small animal, you may end up with scratch marks or bites on your hand.

Unfortunately, the risk of having an animal living in your window well is trumped only by having it die in your window well. A decaying animal corpse can certainly produce a foul odor that seems to permeate everything with its stench.

Because it’s directly next to your basement window, it’s highly likely that the scent of the animal will make its way into your home. This can be a difficult odor to get out of your basement.

When the House Moves, So Does Your Window Well

You’ve heard the creaking of your house in the middle of the night and realized that the home is finally settling. Did you ever consider what that settling could mean for your window well? As the home shifts and moves over time, it’s possible for the well to detach and move away from the home.

The primary concern here is that your basement window may once again flood. The extra movement leads to the most common of the window well problems, which is a clogged drain. The water no longer moves effectively through the gravel and the pipe system like it’s supposed to.

The other main problem is that you may have a crack in the foundation of your basement wall that develops over time. If your window well isn’t draining properly, water could be settling directly over this crack and allowing it to come into the basement.

Both of these are major window well problems that most homeowners will want to avoid, but it’s impossible to prevent the house from settling.

Avoid Window Wells at All Costs

It’s clear to see that there are more disadvantages to having a window well than there are benefits. Most homeowners will encounter at least some of these common window well problems that could mean serious damage to the interior of their home.

A window well that’s already been installed can easily be remedied with a cover that prevents these common issues from taking place while still allowing natural light in. This makes it much easier to clean and maintain, as well as less likely to fall prey to some of the more dangerous circumstances relating to animal habitation and flooding.

If you’re looking to replace the window in your window well or you’ve gotten rid of the well and need new windows, Feldco is here to provide the best replacement windows in Rockford.

Start your project today with a free quote online and join the over 350,000 homeowners that have trusted Feldco.

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