Window wells are great assets for compatible homes. Constructed with the goal of combating incoming debris and ensuring passage of natural light, window wells are delightful ways to bring some light and fresh air into a basement. As nice as window wells are, however, homeowners who install one or more around their properties have a big responsibility on their hands. Window wells require regular maintenance in order to properly function. When you follow this guide to window well maintenance, though, these installments can be truly transformative assets to your basement.
Clear Out Any Debris
You should regularly check window wells for debris and clean them out accordingly. Materials such as leaves, dirt, and other scraps from the outside can infest window wells. When these objects enter a window well, they have the potential to dirty the gravel and clog up the drain. It should go without saying that the drain is one of the most important parts of the window well.
Vacuum If Necessary
In most cases, picking up and tossing away debris by hand will be enough to clear the window well. However, if there's too much of a mess to clean out by hand, try using a vacuum. Shop vacuums are recommended for this job, as opposed to your everyday vacuum that's sitting in the broom closet. A more powerful shop vacuum should be able to effectively clean out debris and any other muck that has found its way into the drain.
Don't Neglect Snow or Ice
During the winter season, you may be tempted to wave away the idea of cleaning snow and ice from your window wells, but this is a mistake. The accumulation of ice and snow can clog window well drains just like dirt and leaves do. You shouldn't wait for a warm day in the hopes that the snowy debris will melt away; instead, you should deal with snow and ice just as you'd deal with any other debris.
Extensive Drainage System Fixes
Even if you've properly cleaned out any debris near the drain, you may still run into maintenance problems. Having a functioning drainage system is integral for window wells. If you can't figure out an effective solution to cleaning out your wells or drainage system, don't hesitate to contact a professional for help. As you'll read further down, some situations are too much for a homeowner to do on their own.
Roof Drainage System
You shouldn't just keep an eye on your window well drainage system--you need to watch your roof drainage system as well. You may not think your gutters have any effect on your window wells, but they can. If gutters get clogged, the rainwater can overflow to the ground beneath. If the window well drains and the surrounding soil experience excessive water intake, they can both sustain damage.
Obtain a Cover That Meets Safety Standards
Window wells require covers to combat the elements and prevent surrounding debris from entering the well. Whichever type of window well cover you decide to install, you must maintain proper safety standards while the cover is in use. For instance, you can't install anything that weighs down or locks the cover. The window well cover can include a latch, but the cover must still be able to open with ease at any time. You can also order custom-fit covers that properly fit the window well liner used on your home.
Know Your Climate
When you're selecting window well covers, you must take into consideration the weather conditions these covers will have to endure. For instance, if your home receives heavy amounts of rain or if wind commonly carries various forms of debris near the home, you should consider a heavy-duty window well cover. Finding the right fit for your home will ensure proper defense against the elements.
Re-Caulk Wall Liners
Window well liners can begin pulling away from the home's foundation for several reasons. First, it's simply one of the side effects of improper roof drainage maintenance. This effect can also happen naturally over time. You can complete the repair process DIY-style or with the help of a professional -whichever you're more comfortable with. If you're a DIY kind of person, you can just clean away any muddy mess clinging onto the foundation. Once the area where the liner meets the foundation dries, you can then apply enough calk there to strengthen the window well liner's defense. This process will combat any excessive water seepage into the window well.
Replace or Rearrange Gravel
Gravel is a necessary asset for any and all window well installations. However, the help gravel provides can become negated if dirt and other materials gunk up the area around the drain, so you should keep an eye on the quality of your gravel. Fixing the gravel may involve one of several solutions. One option is to shovel out the old gravel and replace it with new gravel. In many cases, though, you can simply shovel out the gravel and wash it clean. Once the gravel is clean, you can shovel it back into the window well and reuse it.
Consult a Professional
Even if you're a DIY kind of homeowner, some situations still call for the assistance of a professional. As we mentioned above, if a drain has more serious issues aside from visible debris, you'll need to consult a pro and have them come out to fix the issue as soon as possible. Additionally, if your window well sustains heavy damage inside or out, the repair process may be so difficult that a professional will have to fix or even replace aspects of the window well.
All homeowners should follow this guide to window well maintenance in order to keep their window wells in proper working order. Whether you already have window wells or you're considering installing some, it's important to know the responsibilities you'll be taking on. With proper maintenance in and around the window well, your window wells can be assets to your beautiful home for a long time.