Window wells perform a pretty thankless task, day in and day out, and often without any recognition by your home’s residents. You should take the time to familiarize yourself with them, and make sure they’re properly covered. So, why do your window wells need covers? Think of it as something to help an important part of your home to do its job better. But before we answer that question of coverage, here’s a refresher course—or possibly a new lesson—on why your house has window wells and what exactly they do.
What Are Window Wells?
Unless your home has a first floor or walk-out basement, it’s likely built below the grade, or more specifically, below ground. Being below ground, of course, prevents the possibility of natural light downstairs. Hence why window wells are needed. They are strategically placed windows around the basement’s perimeter that let the sunshine in. Naturally, you can’t build windows underground (unless you want dirt, water, and unpleasant things to spill inside), so shallow pits are dug outside the windows, usually in a half-moon or rectangular shape. A wall is placed to hold back the soil and a drain is placed in the bottom and covered with gravel to keep water from accumulating. But that’s not all window wells do.
Window Wells Work Both Ways
While the windows of windows wells are there to let the sunlight in, they’re also there to keep you safe. In the event of an emergency, window wells provide basement occupants with a way to escape. Building codes specify that window wells be large enough to allow an adult to exit the building (or, in the case of rescue personnel, a way to enter it and search for those needing help). So, it’s not just about lighting up the basement during the day. But window wells require a little bit of upkeep on your part to work properly and so they can be used to rescue people!
Keep Window Wells Clean and Clear
Periodically ensure your window wells are clean and clear of debris, weeds, and vermin. All three things tend to find their way into your wells, so pull on a pair of gloves and take the time to remove trash and yank out any encroaching plants. Hire an exterminator to get rid of pets (or use no-kill traps if you’re feeling squeamish) or encourage them to move along. See if the gravel at the bottom has become compacted and loosen it up. If it’s not lose, it could prevent rain from draining. During winter, work to keep snow from accumulating, or else you may experience spring thaw leakage. But there’s an easier way.
Keep It Covered!
Time to answer our question: why do your window wells need covers? The answer is: for safety, cleanliness, and protection. Cover your window wells with strong, easily secured, and convenient polycarbonate window well covers—which can keep snow, rain, dirt, plants, and pests out while preventing young children and pets from falling in. And you can skip that annual grueling maintenance routine!