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How does a basement window well drain?

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  • Aug 20th, 2019 12:53 pm
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[OP]
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Jul 29, 2006
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How does a basement window well drain?

My basement window well has been pooling up and leaking water into my basement. A quite common thing apparently from my Google searches. But what I can't find a straight answer to is how these window wells are supposed to drain? I ended up caulking around the well to where it attaches to the house as that was where water was pouring into the well from. Right now I'm working on digging up all the dirt and gravel in it and cleaning them up. I'm only down about 6" so far but am wondering how it's supposed to drain? Is it another 2' of gravel that I should be expecting? And then it just drains into dirt?

I found this:

Image

Is this standard practice in Ontario? So the pipe may be clogged? Hopefully just the entrance. :(
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Dec 12, 2009
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Yep, that picture is about right. I have a couple of window wells with weeping tile (not pvc pipe) and a gravel bed. Caulking will not really help too much because caulking cannot perform when under water. So you need to improve the drainage and around the window area. You could install the window well cover to deflect some of the water from pooling in the window well. This is a bit of a half measure though and would not substitute for proper drainage, especially when the water table rises.
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Apr 4, 2009
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It is common for below ground windows have a crack in the foundation starting at one of the lower corners (especially concrete foundations). You need to bring waterproofing guys to patchup the crack and waterproof the foundation in that area.
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Mar 5, 2011
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Kitchener
The leader pipe in the window well can only manage so much water . Often the grading on the side or rear of the house has settled to the point that most of the water runs up against the side of the house into the window well . I would look at grading making sure the grade slopes well away from the house .
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1bagger wrote: The leader pipe in the window well can only manage so much water . Often the grading on the side or rear of the house has settled to the point that most of the water runs up against the side of the house into the window well . I would look at grading making sure the grade slopes well away from the house .
+1 on grading. If you say the water in entering the well from the sides that you chaulked, then you need to grade the areas around the well to move water away from your house.
Do you have downspouts in the area? are they directing water far enough away from the foundation?
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How old is your house? While this certainly is done in new construction there was a time when it wasn't done in the not-to-distant past (in my city at least).

For instance my house has a layer of sand all the way to the bottom.
[OP]
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Jul 29, 2006
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All fixed and now it drains like it's going out of style! The dirt/mud accumulation was blocking the drain pipe.

Image
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May 27, 2013
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Is the pipe supposed to have gravel in it ??
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Sep 20, 2008
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wantboost1 wrote: Is the pipe supposed to have gravel in it ??
Pulling up an old thread. To answer your question, the drain is supposed to be clear of debris.
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To avoid it happening in the future you can cover the intake with a patch of landscaping fabric, secured with a couple of zip ties.....
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Thai wrote: My basement window well has been pooling up and leaking water into my basement. A quite common thing apparently from my Google searches. But what I can't find a straight answer to is how these window wells are supposed to drain? I ended up caulking around the well to where it attaches to the house as that was where water was pouring into the well from. Right now I'm working on digging up all the dirt and gravel in it and cleaning them up. I'm only down about 6" so far but am wondering how it's supposed to drain? Is it another 2' of gravel that I should be expecting? And then it just drains into dirt?

I found this:

Image

Is this standard practice in Ontario? So the pipe may be clogged? Hopefully just the entrance. :(
NOT ALL WINDOW WELLS HAVE DRAINS. NOT ALL DRAINS TIE INTO THE WEEPING TILE SYSTEM!

If your window well is filling up with water and leaking into the basement, here is what I would do:

1-Confirm you have a drain in your window well. Dig through the gravel to see if you have one. You shouldn't have to dig too deep at all.
2-If you do have one, you have to check to see if it's connected to the weeping tile and/or if it's clogged. Some drains just go down a few feet to act as a buffer, so don't assume it ties to the weeping tile. I would just stick a camera snake down there to see what's happening (if you don't have one, hire a plumber to do it for).

Regardless of the above, I would take steps to keep water out of there. Odds are water is coming from above, so keep it out. Buy a window well cover and seal the window well that way (https://www.rona.ca/en/window-well-cover-4388013). Also, make sure your gutters are ok. I've seen gutters dump water directly into the window well because the slope was off. Next time it rains, go out side and find out where the water is coming from.

Anyways, hope that helps.
Kevin Somnauth, CFA
Principal Broker/Owner - First Toronto Mortgage - MA (Ontario #13176, BC #X301007)
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CdnRealEstateGuy wrote: NOT ALL WINDOW WELLS HAVE DRAINS. NOT ALL DRAINS TIE INTO THE WEEPING TILE SYSTEM!

If your window well is filling up with water and leaking into the basement, here is what I would do:

1-Confirm you have a drain in your window well. Dig through the gravel to see if you have one. You shouldn't have to dig too deep at all.
2-If you do have one, you have to check to see if it's connected to the weeping tile and/or if it's clogged. Some drains just go down a few feet to act as a buffer, so don't assume it ties to the weeping tile. I would just stick a camera snake down there to see what's happening (if you don't have one, hire a plumber to do it for).

Regardless of the above, I would take steps to keep water out of there. Odds are water is coming from above, so keep it out. Buy a window well cover and seal the window well that way (https://www.rona.ca/en/window-well-cover-4388013). Also, make sure your gutters are ok. I've seen gutters dump water directly into the window well because the slope was off. Next time it rains, go out side and find out where the water is coming from.

Anyways, hope that helps.
I’m hoping he solved this problem within the last 6 years (you quoted a post from 2012)
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Ugh, just saw that.
Kevin Somnauth, CFA
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Real Estate Salesperson - Century 21 Innovative
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May 12, 2014
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Red_Army wrote: I’m hoping he solved this problem within the last 6 years (you quoted a post from 2012)
But this is a common and eternal problem, so the answer may help people today and well into the future.
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Jan 11, 2017
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Need Help,

I submitted the basement design with the egress windows opening in the backyard, its a detached house in Brampton under 5 years old. I received the permit as well. Now, I am wondering if there will be a drain pipe to attach from the egress window well.
Any clues ?
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BeamerDreamer2000 wrote: Need Help,

I submitted the basement design with the egress windows opening in the backyard, its a detached house in Brampton under 5 years old. I received the permit as well. Now, I am wondering if there will be a drain pipe to attach from the egress window well.
Any clues ?
Ask your contractor.
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