Windows in basements have many purposes, such as allowing natural light and providing an emergency escape route. Basement windows at or below grade will have a window well surrounding it to facilitate this, and it’s important to maintain them. Windows are designed to shed water, but they aren’t waterproof. Window wells ensure proper drainage around the window to prevent as little water as possible from piling around the window’s seal.
In order for the window well to properly disperse water, the gravel in it should be loose. To ensure this, regular inspection for debris in the well should be performed, along with the prompt removal. Debris could be anything that the wind blows in, such as leaves, branches, weeds, or kids toys.
The grade of the soil around the well should be lower than the top of the window well, and the seal around the well to the house should be completely solid as to not allow water or dirt into the well. This should especially be inspected in the spring and fall, as the ground’s freezing and thawing can force the well to become disjoined from the house. A build of up dirt in the window well will may cause the gravel to become cement-like, and prevent water from draining properly.
With a properly maintained window well, you can keep water outside and your basement dry.