The only window well our house has is the one that was constructed when
an existing lower-level window was enlarged so that it could function as
a basement egress window.
A couple of times the window well has filled with water, which has then
flowed into the house. Once it was when the gutter became blocked, but
the most recent time it was during a hundred-year downpour when the
water simply flowed over the top edge of the window well.
In Lowe's a few days ago I saw a display showing the various uses to
which pumps can be put, and one picture showed one in a window well.
I can easily add a power outlet for a 120V pump in a convenient
location, but I am wondering whether this would be wise: do I want
someone possibly stepping out into water in which a 120V pump is
located? Any Code issues here? What about a pedestal pump instead of a
submersible? Plastic body rather than metal?
As long as you have a GFCI protected circuit, should be fine. But
first thing I'd look at is solving it via grading, if that is
feasible. Even in an extreme downpour, water should be flowing away
from the house and not pooling up around it.
A pump outside of house, exposed to weather, will be an upkeep PITA.
Sounds like egress window pit (precast, probably) was not installed
correctly. Exposed dirt on bottom, or did they use precast basement
stairs? If dirt, dig a hole straight down, and put in a drywell filled
with gravel, with an overflow tube tied into the footer drains along
foundation on the outside. If no footer drains, put a tube pointing away
from house, to daylight if possible. Otherwise use a long perforated
pipe surrounded by gravel in the trench. I assume you have already
looked at yard slope and roof runoff?
Hillbilly workaround would be to put a breakaway greenhouse with a clear
sloped lid over the window well. Lay up brick on the sides to make a
slope, top with pressure-treated wood or metal, and find some way to put
a thick plexiglas panel on top to shed rain. Needs to be hinged or
fastened in some way a person escaping through window can easily bang it
open from the bottom, but wind won't blow it away. The good-quality
velcro tape would probably do it, if you don't like the look of strap
hinges and a big slide bolt. Just trim it out in some fashion so
sunlight and heat doesn't kill the adhesive on the tape in a year. (Or
if you can have a wood to wood joint, just staple the velcro to the wood.)
Hard to say without seeing it- lotsa ways to address the problem. Just
raising the edges of the window well the height of a couple of bricks
may be enough to mostly solve the problem, as long as you keep the
That is a band-aid solution, the window well should be draining
properly in the first place. The drain at the bottom of it might be
clogged, that drain runs into the french drain on the outside
perimeter then to wherever your storm water is sent. Try rodding out
Also get a plexiglass cover for the whole window well.
There is a French drain system, but I suspect that they clogged it up at
this point (just about the end of this particular section -- the end
away from where the drainage pipes run under the basement floor to the
sump). Water does drain out, but sometimes too slowly for the heavy rain.
I thought about that, but bear in mind that this is an *egress window*:
any cover must not obstruct egress. The best I can think of is a sheet
of Lexan (more robust than Plexiglas) hinged at one side that could be
flipped out of the way if somebody needs to exit the room through that
I have bars on my basement windows, I dont want anybody ingressing,
why do you need exit capibilities, for security the basement is the
easiest to break in, just lay Plexiglass down you dont need expensive
Our home was built when the Code did not require bedrooms to have two
means of egress, but we chose to have ours modified to comply with the
current Code in the interest of our son's safety in the event of fire:
one exit via the door and the rest of the house, the other through this
Never seen a bubble big enough for an egress window pit. Usually the
pits are about a yard square. They may exist, but I think OP would have
to fabricate something, as I described in my previous post.
I pictured the Lexan or plexiglass cover with a hinge attached to the
house up far enough that the water runs down and away from the house.
The hinge can be mounted on the inside of the well so it's not too
noticeable. Leave the sides open for ventilation. You may have to have
some type of flashing if rain hits the wall and runs down the hinged end
and into the well. Or since it's only used in emergency, I suppose the
hinged end could be covered with clear silicone? (that is starting to
sound sloppy looking) One way of drilling plexiglass without cracking
it is a high speed drill in reverse. It melts its way through. Lexan
is much softer and doesn't crack as easy, but I'd still drill in
reverse. Lexan does scratch much easier, although I doubt scratches
would be a problem in this use.
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