5 Facts About Window Well Drains

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If you’re here, then you’ve probably got a number of questions ready and waiting. 

What is a window well drain? What are the uses for a window well drain? 

Where do window well drains go? Do you need to somehow connect this drain to the street or get permission to install them onto your home? 

If you have a basement with a window, you probably already have a window well. It’s the hole dug around a window located above floor level, such as a basement window. 

Here are five facts about window well drains for anyone thinking about investing in one. 

1. They’re Fundamental for Waterproofing a Basement

After a bad storm or in the case of burst pipes, your basement is the first place that will suffer water damage. 

Signs of water damage include cracks in your walls, water-damaged items, stains, odors, and visible mold. Especially with mold, even when it’s not visible, there’s a chance it’s there, secretly spreading and causing damage.

Waterproofing your windows, therefore, is one way to prevent water from entering your home. For basements, that means installing a window well drain.

While most basement windows come with wells, those wells can only hold so much water before it goes through the window. Window wells on their own primarily allow sunlight into a basement room, rather than preventing water from getting in. 

A drain will direct excess water through an installed system and away from your home. Without one, your basement will be at risk every time you face a heavy downpour. 

2. Installation Can Be Tricky

Installing a window well seems simple enough. You dig out the area where you want a window, install a fitting, the window, and you’re done. 

If you know what you’re doing, you can install one all on your own. However, installing a drain requires more technical knowledge and effort.

There are four general steps for installing a drain. 

First, we grade the window well.  Second we install a drain pipe through the foundation wall.  Third, we tie this to the french drain and sump pump.  Last, we cover the well with a layer of fresh gravel.  

Your best bet will be to hire a professional with experience in waterproofing basements to install the drainage system for you. Not only is the process labor-intensive, but you can trust an expert to not cause unnecessary damage to your property and save you time and money.

3. Costs Can Vary

Window well drains vary depending on a number of factors, including existing drainage systems, such as if your city has street drainage, as well as whether it’s installed from inside or outside of the basement. 

For example, a company installing a window well drain from inside of your home might charge anywhere between $750 and $2,000 per drain and $5 per linear foot of piping. That’s not including any other waterproofing measures you purchase.

Whatever price you pay is worth it in the long run, though, as the average cost to remove standing water and dry out a basement is between $3,000 and $5,000. 

Those prices are exacerbated by the type of water being cleaned out, as well as any water damage caused by flooding. Even after you’ve paid to have the water removed, you could end up paying an extra $2,000 to $25,000 to restore your basement. 

Plus, you’ll have the security of knowing you can enjoy rainy nights again without worrying about a wet floor. 

4. Covering Up Your Window Well Drain

Although most window wells are covered with gravel to give them a nice appearance, gravel doesn’t impede water flow in the case of a downpour. However, rain, snow, drainage, and human contact can all damage the sides of the well and your basement window. 

The solution, therefore, is to utilize window well covers to protect the window and the drain. 

Well covers act like a storm door, providing extra protection from the outdoor elements. Without one, the well could collapse inward and completely defeat the purpose of the drain. 

Additionally, the well cover will keep excess dirt from filling in the hole while allowing light to shine through. Too much dirt covering the drain will allow water to come through the window. 

5. There Are Potential Problems

Though there are more positive than negatives, window wells have some problems you may encounter.

First of all, they’re hard to clean and will often require frequent cleaning to preserve its appearance. Unfortunately, cleaning it means getting on your hands and knees and dealing with branches, twigs, and even frogs. 

Secondly, with a drain installed, you have yet another drain that could potentially have issues down the line. While you can try to pressure-wash it in the case of a clog, you’ll likely have to resort to hiring a professional to clean out the parts of the drain you can’t reach. 

As long as you maintain them and utilize well covers, you shouldn’t have too many issues.

Bonus: Window Well Types

For anyone installing a new window well, make sure to research the type of material to use. Different materials work better for different climates and home designs. 

Wood is attractive but rots with too much moisture. Cement is strong but can weaken with age and moisture exposure. 

Composite plastic material is water-repellant and strong enough but may not completely match your exterior aesthetic. And metal wells will last the longest and are typically prefabricated and bolted onto your home.

Invest in a New Drain Today

There’s no point in dressing up your basement if it’s constantly at risk of flooding. A window well drain will keep your home dry and safe from water damage.

Call or email us today and we’ll help schedule a free inspection immediately. And feel free to check out our other waterproofing services, foundation crack repair, and crawlspace encapsulation services.