Sump pump in window well

amtravcoMay 31, 2010

We have a very large (21' X 6') window well in our basement. In Colorado it doesn't rain much, but we occasionally experience very localized thunderstorms that can dump huge amounts of rain (1/3 of a year's worth) in a few hours. This happened two years ago, and the window well began to fill up with water, eventually causing water to leak in at the base of the windows and to flood the unfinished basement.

Now we've finished the basement I'd like to avoid a repeat of this mess. The bottom of the well is a few layers of gravel over very compacted, clayey soil. I have two possible ideas:

1) Dig a shallow trench and lay in some perforated pipe with a sock. Connect this to a sump (probably a 5-gal bucket) buried in the well. Put in a pump to pump out any water.

2) Forget the pipe. Maybe slightly grade the soil to tilt the bottom of the well to one end. Put the bucket and the pump at that end.

The grading of the house is fine. The problem is the rain that actually lands in the well, not water flowing from elsewhere. The well is so large that it would essentially be impossible to cover it. When the basement was refinished, I had a GFCI outlet put in outside in the window well.

Any comments or other suggestions?

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Do you mean 21 inches by 6 foot? I am in Colorado too...ugly expansive clay soil!! We had to have our whole engineered structural OSB floor removed and the basement dug down another foot or so because the clay was swelling and causing structural movement. We had the perimeter trenches inside the basement redug, french drains and gravel put in, a second sump pit dug and when they were doing that they recommended that we put drains in the three window wells that would drain into the perimeter trenches that drain to the two sump pits. Our window wells are quite large too - about 5.5 ft by 3.5 ft.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 4:52PM
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How about a clear plastic cover (Awning) over the window-well sloping away from the house. Keeps the water out and the light can get in. I don't what kind of siding you have but if it the right type you can integrate with the siding. JMHO Aloha

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 5:27PM
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No, karinmarie, I mean 21 feet by 6 feet! It's very long. It's not that deep-about 3 feet-and it's stepped, and we plant flowers in an upper bed. The point was to bring light into an entire wall of the basement. It's much too big to reasonably cover, and even if we could it would look ugly because of its size. So I think we'll need a pump.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 2:09PM
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karinmarie I can picture it. I thought it was a typo!
Probably putting a french drain in the length of the window well is your best bet with a small sump pump/pit. Not a big area like a basement so wouldn't have to be big but you sure don't want water down there after finishing. The clay here is so nasty...when it rains a lot at once it won't just drain away like in other soils. Our house before was only about 5 miles away but completley different soil.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 5:54PM
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