Sump Pump in Basement Window Well

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Oct 6, 2005
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Over the last several years (first significant occurrence with during a hurricane in August 2020) the window wells for the small half windows in my basement have been filling up with very heavy rain or several days of moderate rain. Now that I know about it, I've been keeping an eye on it and bucketing water out of the wells to keep it from coming into the basement. If it reaches the window it will start to come in.

Currently I have an outdoor fountain pump in each window well. They're 300GPH and auto off with low water level, so they're kind of acting like a sump pump. They're quite impressive for their size and were only $50 at Lowe's. They worked great the other week when we got a good 3 inches of rain. We'll see how they did when I get home from work today because it rained pretty good yesterday and it's been raining all day, so I anticipate they had to work today, I don't think they did yesterday.

I know the drainage system in the wells are shot, can't begin to imagine what it would cost to fix "properly." While I like what I have, I want to build something more reliable and something that will work when the power is out. Been looking into sump pumps with battery backup. Would need to run an exterior outlet to the area (fortunately only about 12ft from the panel) and plumb a nice looking drainage system for the pumps.

Couple choices that I'm seeing are the all in one sump pump with emergency as one unit or using a UPS type setup. CyberPower does market a UPS for sump pumps now. The catch to that side would be building a box to house the electronics with some ventilation and such to keep temps from going crazy. I could stick with what I have and go with the UPS option on these little pumps (only draw 1/2A) but I know I'm using them outside their intended purpose. I'd like something more built for the purpose when it comes to protecting my house.

Anyone have to do this? Additional thoughts to consider?
 
I had one that would do that.
I eventually took it out.
Before that, I had one of the plastic covers that went over the well.
They used to be about $10., would last several years, and were effective.
 
Ugh. Had that problem in my last house. Drainage systems in window wells were shot and I resorted to pumps like you described. All is well until the power goes out. Couldn’t wait to get rid of that basement . Someone described a basement as digging a well and then spending all your time trying to keep water out of it. On a slab now and never going back. Clear covers were ineffective. Water would seep in from the bottom.
 
Ugh. Had that problem in my last house. Drainage systems in window wells were shot and I resorted to pumps like you described. All is well until the power goes out. Couldn’t wait to get rid of that basement . Someone described a basement as digging a well and then spending all your time trying to keep water out of it. On a slab now and never going back. Clear covers were ineffective. Water would seep in from the bottom.
Yeah, we don't do basements much here in rainy Seattle. Only split levels built into a slope. Even those tend to have water intrusion issue a lot of times. We don't really do slabs, either, for the same reason.
 
How does the water get in? Does it seep in through the ground or does it just blow in? Can you seal them up somehow?

Sorry, should have clarified. I believe that it is coming in at the seams where the metal mates with the house and possibly coming up from below. I don't believe it is running over the top of the metal well.

My first thought was to slap a bunch of hydraulic cement or whatever the best sealer is for that purpose but the more I researched, I came across many sources saying, you just can't keep the water out, you need to drain it.

Don't you have the domed covers?

Yes, I have those plastic covers. The stone at the bottom of the well will be completely dry until it isn't so I think the covers are doing their job and the issue is ground water.
 
Sorry, should have clarified. I believe that it is coming in at the seams where the metal mates with the house and possibly coming up from below. I don't believe it is running over the top of the metal well.

My first thought was to slap a bunch of hydraulic cement or whatever the best sealer is for that purpose but the more I researched, I came across many sources saying, you just can't keep the water out, you need to drain it.



Yes, I have those plastic covers. The stone at the bottom of the well will be completely dry until it isn't so I think the covers are doing their job and the issue is ground water.
Atleast you are on it now. Good luck. This much water will find a way to get in somewhere 😕
 
Ugh. Had that problem in my last house. Drainage systems in window wells were shot and I resorted to pumps like you described. All is well until the power goes out. Couldn’t wait to get rid of that basement . Someone described a basement as digging a well and then spending all your time trying to keep water out of it. On a slab now and never going back. Clear covers were ineffective. Water would seep in from the bottom.

Were they just conventional sump pumps?
 
How's the gutters? Clean???

Only one downspout in the vicinity of the window wells. Cleaned the bend several weeks ago. About to cut down the tree that is the culprit. That's the only gutter drain that gives me trouble.
 
They were small sump pumps similar to a size that you might use to drain water off of a pool cover. Brand name was Flotec I believe. They had a float switch that turned them on automatically. But useless in a power outage unless you had some sort of battery backup. Used to dread heavy rains.
 
They were small sump pumps similar to a size that you might use to drain water off of a pool cover. Brand name was Flotec I believe. They had a float switch that turned them on automatically. But useless in a power outage unless you had some sort of battery backup. Used to dread heavy rains.
Thanks

That's my issue, my anxiety goes through the roof when it rains. The only reason I'm sane right now sitting at work is because of those fountain pumps.

I need to have this solved in the next few months so that I can go on vacation and not want to drive home at the first drop of water.
 
Any chance of going to an open french drain all around the outside of the house. The drain age pipe would be below the level of the window and sloped to pull the water away from the house.

This is what I installed last summer, prevention more than anything. Between digging out the soil and replacing with coarse stone, moved about 30 tons, all by hand.

I have a sodded french drain side and an open one with just stones. The open side flows much better.

Youtube channel that explains all this.


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racer12306 I wish I was able to give you better info other than to search window well dewatering sites. Drainage systems for window wells are best when they’re installed and properly maintained from day one. I feel your anxiety, especially if your basement is finished. The Flotec pumps do the trick but I grew so weary of listening to my various sump pumps, window well pumps etc cycling on and off it gave me no comfort. I had to throw in the towel, literally.
 
Any chance of going to an open french drain all around the outside of the house. The drain age pipe would be below the level of the window and sloped to pull the water away from the house.

This is what I installed last summer, prevention more than anything. Between digging out the soil and replacing with coarse stone, moved about 30 tons, all by hand.

I have a sodded french drain side and an open one with just stones. The open side flows much better.

Youtube channel that explains all this.


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Thanks. I will check into that option. I don't have a ton of space to work with but it certainly wouldn't care if the power went out.

racer12306 I wish I was able to give you better info other than to search window well dewatering sites. Drainage systems for window wells are best when they’re installed and properly maintained from day one. I feel your anxiety, especially if your basement is finished. The Flotec pumps do the trick but I grew so weary of listening to my various sump pumps, window well pumps etc cycling on and off it gave me no comfort. I had to throw in the towel, literally.

You've been very helpful. It's good to hear someone who has experienced what I am.
 
@racer12306, I'm glad I found this discussion. My son just recently bought a home, and he has a very similar problem, so I'm anxious to follow this discussion, and see what I can learn, to help him remedy the situation.

He has a basement window that the seller had to replace, because it was broken. We learned that the old window probably broke, because the window well floods, then the water freezes in the winter, and broke the window. The window well is poured concrete, including the bottom. But a hole, about 5" round, has been busted in the bottom of the window well. And someone has tried to seal the window well to the foundation with spray foam insulation. They have also put a plastic dome over the window well, like the one @Zee09 gave a link for.

All this hasn't stopped the window well from filling with water, though. There is a rain gutter down spout about 6-8' from the window well, and my son has put a downspout extender on it, in hopes of helping. It looks like the real issue is the grounds slopes towards the house, and not much can be done to change that. The best solution seems to be a French drain, to run the rainwater into the front yard, but that would be an expensive project for my son.

I have wondered about some type of pump on a float switch, so I hope someone here gives Racer some good ideas.
 
I have wondered about some type of pump on a float switch, so I hope someone here gives Racer some good ideas.
I bought the linked submersible pump with the low level switch two years ago and it’s worked fantastically for my purposes on a driveway sloped back to the garage. Only need to run it in very heavy rains. Tsurumi pumps are worth the price.

 
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