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Old 04-26-2011, 08:58 AM
 
1 posts, read 12,169 times
Reputation: 13
Default Basement Window Well Flooding

I've about reached the end of my rope. i have a window well (fire excape) that until just recently began taking on water and leaking into my finished basement. It doesn't flow over the side but slowly seeps in. Frustrated i consulted with a friend and he told me that somtimes the ground in the well becomes packed and dosen't allow water to filter through. he sugested to create a dozen or so holes about 18" deep and see if that worked. it didn't!
I decide to dig down to the gravel backfill wishing, and hoping the water would drain. Shortly after i began digging, I noticed a piece of screen sticking out of the ground about 2" down. I uncovered it and it turned out to be a drain. i can't tell you how excited i was. All i needed to do is clean the drain and my problems would be solved. Not so! Last night it rained again and again i found myself battleing mother nature's gift of water in my basement.
Don't laugh because i should know the answer to this but this is one of those things i never paid much attention to until now. Can anyone explain to me how the drainage system works around the foundation of the house. Are the window well drains suppose to connect to the drainage pipe installed around the house or is it supppose to allow drainage only to the gravel backfill and filter into the drainage pipe? Do those same drainage pipes drain into the sump in the basement, then pumped out?
The method i used to clean the drain was a wet vac, i removed a lot of mud and some gravel then used a stick to feel what might be at the bottom. It felt clean, i felt the corrigated piping but not sure if it was the top of the pipe or the inside of the pipe.
What do i need to do?
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:23 AM
 
957 posts, read 501,470 times
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If you've cleaned out the pipe from the window well to the foundation drain tile, put a hose as far down as you can and let it run. If there was mud in the downpipe there probably is mud in the drain tile. I had to do this in a couple of my window wells. It would be nice if you could wait until it quit raining so that you don't have the extra water flowing through the foundation tile but the sump should be able to handle it. Good luck!
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,384 posts, read 5,717,168 times
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I would also look at putting plastic covers over the window wells to reduce the amount of water going into the wells.
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:37 PM
 
20,734 posts, read 32,507,164 times
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Nodpete has the right idea, but I think that Greg (and anybody else with only a vague understanding of how exterior foundation drainage systems are supposed to work) ought to do a little checking to see what / how their window well is messed up.


The basic idea is that a the whole perimeter of the foundation and each window well as "drain tiles" installed that will capture and water that gets down to the window well / gravel bed below the foundation and channels that into a sump pit inside the foundation where a pump lifts the water back up and a discharge directs it far away from the structure.

If the tiles fail (becuase old ones were made of tile and roots could get in or they could break) the result is often that water backs up into the window well. Even modern PVC based drain lines can collapse / become clogged if appropriate care was not taken during installation or subsequent landscaping / excavation.

It is sometimes enough to snake a garden hose through a window well drain and if things are "clear" the water will gush into the sump pit. If it does not you have bigger problems. In the old days the only solution was to trench down and replace the failed / clogged tiles, now smart basement waterproofing specialists use the same kind of minature cameras to pinpoint what is preventing the water from making it to the sump. Worth getting their help!

If big roots / large amount of mud are found you might want to think about upgrading the materials used for the drains...
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,384 posts, read 5,717,168 times
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Since we are on the subject, any idea what could be causing sump pump odors?
I flushed my window well drains, scrubbed the pit and also poured a Pine-Sol solution down the drain tiles. The foul odor came back again. Seems to go away when it rains and pump works frequently. I'm thinking my main sewer line may have a crack or hole and the outflow is leaching into the soil and making its way into the drain tile network.
Any good companies to call? I have also contemplated just trying to make airtight seal around sump lid and add a vent to the outside; but this does nothing to address the cause.
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:58 PM
 
20,734 posts, read 32,507,164 times
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Would not surprise me something is simply festering in the sump pit -- talk to anybody that has worked on more than few sump pumps and the occurrence of some stupid chipmunk or baby rabbit get washed into an uncovered drain is awfully high.

Don't discount the possibility of goose poop or some similar fecal matter getting swept in too.

To test for a leaky sewer line there are dyes and UV test lights that you could get. Fixing that sort of problems gets expensive fast, and you will need a licensed plumber and probably municipal permit / inspection.

Good Luck!
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Old 09-27-2013, 06:21 PM
 
1 posts, read 2,450 times
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My window wells were not built with drains. I would like to add them, but don't relish digging down five feet in such a smail well and then having to connect the drain pipe to the perforated pipe in a smail but fairly deep hole. Would it be possible to just use a post hole digger to dig a narrow hole down to the perimeter drain and surrounding gravel and then just put the drain pipe next to the perimeter drain? It would make the job a heck of a lot easier and cheaper but would it work? Thoughts?
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Old 09-28-2013, 06:29 AM
 
20,734 posts, read 32,507,164 times
Reputation: 9935
Default Anything is possible, question is does doing something right...

...make more sense than doing something half-way or doing nothing at all...

Personally if I had an issue with the window wells accumulating water I would want to dig / trench all the way down into the perimeter drain. If you just drop a vertical shaft down but do not use a proper tie-in to the perimeter drain it would hold up and you end up doing the work twice eventually...


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Harper View Post
My window wells were not built with drains. I would like to add them, but don't relish digging down five feet in such a smail well and then having to connect the drain pipe to the perforated pipe in a smail but fairly deep hole. Would it be possible to just use a post hole digger to dig a narrow hole down to the perimeter drain and surrounding gravel and then just put the drain pipe next to the perimeter drain? It would make the job a heck of a lot easier and cheaper but would it work? Thoughts?
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