Problems With a Window Well

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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.

Emergency Escape

  • 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.

Cleaning

  • 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.

Trapped Animals

  • 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.

Covers

  • 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.

Basement Leaks

  • 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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