Window wells are trenches built around a foundation window to keep the surrounding yard away from the window and allow light and air to enter the foundation space. Regardless of their size, window wells can invite a few problems for homeowners.
A window well can hinder egress from the basement window in a fire or other emergency. New-building codes require all basements to have at least one form of emergency escape. Although new egress window wells are designed for escape, climbing out of the well can be a problem.
Window wells can be difficult to clean. Yard waste and trash can end up caught inside the well. Since wells are often deep--particularly egress windows--cleaning them can be difficult without tools that reach. Another obstacle to consider are the spiders and other insects that thrive in the dark, cool space.
Animals, both wild and domestic, can fall into an uncovered window well and become trapped. Some go unnoticed and die. Climbing into a window well to locate and collect a dead animal can be an unpleasant task, and properly disposing of the carcass can bring additional challenges.
Window well covers prevent debris from collecting at the base. However, window well covers can be large and unsightly. Additionally, opaque covers can circumvent the main purpose of window wells--allowing light and air to enter a foundation space.
Because uncovered window wells allow snow, rain, sleet and ice to accumulate at the base, water can end up right next to a foundation, where it could seep into the basement.
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