leaking window well

Old 11-09-06, 12:10 PM
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leaking window well

All have a 2 year old house poured concrete basement walls 9 feet deep.

One of the small window wells has started leaking into the house during heavy periods of rain. Note that all the gutters and sump pump pipes are piped underground to a filtration pit about 50 feet from the house as we are waterfront and in a critical buffer area

The soil around in are area is clay and has never drained will so we have noticed standing water for a day or so after prolonged rain storms. (just the big ones not every rain)

the basement is dry other than this window well occasionally filling with water and leaking through the window. I do have a cover on the well but that does not stop the water.

I have added as much soil as i can around the window well so the water flows away but any more would be to close to the siding and create other problems i would like to avoid. The window well does have one of the flat drain tiles in it tied to the drain tile in the foundation but that does not seem to be working any more. My guess is that it is clogged with silt or soil.

The 2 options i have come up with is to excavate the soil around the window well and put in a new drain tile tied to the foundation drain that then goes into the sump.

I really do not want to do this as the excavation would have to go down 9 feet and be large enough to work in in safely including bracing the trench. Not really a diy project i want to take on.

The second option i came up with was to install a drain in the widow well similar to the ones i have in the egress windows on the other side of the house. These drains are pvc and run under the footings into the sump pumps. as i said in option 1 i do not want to excavate all the way down to the footing to do it that way.

what is was thinking is that i could core drill a 2" hole about 6 to 8" under the window sill and run a pvc pipe through the wall and down to the sump pump (it is in the corner about 2 feet from the window. If i ever finish this part of the basement the pipe could be hidden in the stud wall.

My questions are does this second approach sound reasonable ?
and if so what is the best method to seal around the pipe that comes through the wall, I was thinking hydraulic cement.

TIA and looking forward to your wisdom and advice

Old 11-09-06, 02:47 PM
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I suggest not doing any excavation until you are able to identify the true source of the water building up inside that well.

And, in addition, I would recommend doing nothing that would allow that presently outside water to come inside the house to be pumped out using the sump pump. What you accomplish when you directly tie storm water into your sump drain is make your house "pump dependent". We both know what will happen when the power goes off.

Also, I have yet to have a sump pump fail at a time that is convenient for me to replace it. In the middle of a raging thunderstorm after midnight is prime time for such a failure.

Most exterior water control issues are related to gutters, downspouts or grading. Also check that the underground drains carrying the downspout water away have not settled to the point that they are disconnected, like at the first 90 degree ell right next to the foundation.

What needs to occur is a lowering of the water table in the area of that window well below the level of the bottom of the window. Keep in mind though that water on the outside of even that poured concrete foundation can build hydrostatic pressure that can exceed the walls' ability to hold it back.

Lastly, clay can be helpful in draining the surface water only if it is graded at a positive slope (downhill from the foundation) so it doesn't puddle anywhere within at least 10' from the foundation.

Best of luck, and keep that water outside, my friend.
Old 03-16-10, 11:06 PM
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I know this is old but I have the exact same problem, the only difference is that the previous home owners installed a sump pump in the window well. This has failed three times in the past. (power outage, stuck float, pump motor failed) I thought about doing the same thing as Paul, but I would be plumbing into the drain pipe for my washing machine, not into a sump pump. Would this be a good way to go or am I just asking for more trouble in the future. I've searched all over for any information on this and haven't had much luck. Any info you can share is very much appreciated.

Old 03-17-10, 12:45 PM
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Almost positive this is against code. Here in Alberta, we cannot plumb into the drains unless the drainage are has a complete roof on it.
Old 09-21-11, 04:11 PM
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my solution...

I have the same situation....my solution was to replace one of the two panes of glass in the window with plexiglass....I drilled a 1" dia hole in the lowest possible position in the plexiglass pane....I then mounted a 1" pvc connector with a filter screen through the hole, connected that to a 4" straight piece of pvc to clear the window frame, then to that an elbow, then to a 4' long piece of pvc to the floor, where it connects to a Beaver Systems baseboard waterproof system, which diverts the water to a sump pump in the corner of the basement....use silicone caulk to seal it all up and brackets to stabilize it....it hasn't rained enough to test it, but it's better than watching the water fill up the well.... unless you want to stock it with goldfish.... i think it will work....

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