Window wells are those holes around your home’s perimeter that let the sunshine in your basement, but they do more than that. Window wells protect you and your home in several ways. Not only do they let the light in, but they also keep water, soil, and critters out. They’re also an escape hatch in case an upstairs disaster traps you in the basement. With such significant responsibilities, you need to help your window wells perform their jobs to their utmost. Here’s how to keep your window wells safe and secured.
Keep Them Covered
Window wells are great, but they have a bad habit of getting messy when uncovered. Without heavy-duty window well covers, they can become cluttered with leaves, dirt, and other debris, blown in by the wind or brought in by the rain. In winter, snow can accumulate, risking leaks in the basement even before the thaw arrives. An uncovered or partially covered window well is also a potential haven for critters, which can take up residence down there, fouling the well with their droppings and potentially finding a way into your house. Save yourself the hassle and pick up a heavy-duty window well cover that’s strong, durable, and easily removable.
Keep Them Clean
As mentioned, uncovered window wells can become messy and overgrown. Once a month, look down there and remove whatever shouldn’t be there. When dirt builds up, the window well can become a garden of weeds. If you didn’t know, there’s a drain beneath the gravel in your window wells, and when it gets blocked by plant matter, the water backs up and finds its way inside. While we’re on the topic, every few years, check to see if the gravel has settled and become compacted. Compacted gravel can also block the drain.
Keep Them in Good Shape
Most window wells have long, long lives, especially ones made of poured concrete. But periodically check the state of the walls. Are they leaning or buckling? Is the plastic cracking or the metal rusting? Has dirt breached the wall or are there noticeable cracks and gaps around the window itself? Replace the wall, and seal off cracks and gaps with caulk. Once you take steps to keep the outdoors out, give the well a new coat of protective paint or add a liner or design to provide a better view from the inside.
Keep Them Safe
Builders add window wells to help you get out in an emergency, but they can also keep someone from getting in. Some custom-made window well covers are equipped with latches or locks, but be sure that they can be easily unlatched or unlocked from the inside, and never lock a window well cover from the outside. Don’t allow bushes or tall plants to surround window wells. That can provide cover for a prowler. Also, adding a burglar alarm and training security lights on the window well is another effective way to tell potential home invaders to get lost.