Finished basement flooding from window well


  #1  
Old 07-02-16, 03:53 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: usa
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Finished basement flooding from window well

I have a problem that has flooded our basement three times in 18 years, with many other close calls. By "flooded", I mean maybe 50 gallons of water on the floor requiring carpet removal, drying, new padding, some replacement of carpentry, etc. Water from the sky is not the problem; water begins to pour into the window well between the outside foundation wall and the timbered side of the window well in the bottom corner. I have done everything I can think of to find out how the water runs into the window well to no avail. I have brought in more dirt to insure the soil slopes away from the house. I have piped the downspouts to a ditch well away from the house. The window well in question has a drain that does AOK in normal situations. But when we get a deluge, the drain can't handle the flow, and water comes in thru the weep holes of the window frame. We have no sumps or pumps installed in the basement floor. I have used a snake on the window well drain, but it goes into what appears to be a French drain; where that lets out, I haven't a clue. My intention is to put a sump pump in the window well and run the hose out away from the house. Seems the sump pits that are sold are like 20 gallons, and the 1/3 HP pumps handle like 3400 gallons an hour. Both seem to be over-kill. I think I could get by on a pump that handles a flow equivalent to a garden hose. How deep should the sump pit be to allow the float to activate the pump? Do I need holes in the pit to allow water in from the sides, and to keep the pit from "floating" out of the hole? Or does all the water flow in the pit from the surface? The window well is about 5Ft wide by 38 inches across. The drain takes up about eight inches out from the foundation at the center of the window. A 20 gallon pit is about 21 inches wide at the top - not a lot of room to work with, but probably a lot more than most steel half-circle window wells. I'm thinking of trying to find a pump that will activate automatically in a 5 gallon paint bucket. Any thoughts? Thanx!
 
  #2  
Old 07-02-16, 05:09 PM
B
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,531
Received 42 Votes on 38 Posts
Excuse my opinion, not trying to be mean, but you are patching the patches.

Options are, install a larger drain in the window well draining to a reliable location.

Install a good size sump pit in the basement. After three floods the bell should have gone off. Besides that window, basements are below grade and often fill up with water.

If you want a work around, install the larger drain and feed the drain pipe through the foundation to the new sump pit. You would need to seal the pipe to the foundation but not a big problem.

I apologize if my suggestions do not match your house but I cannot see your house.

Bud
 
  #3  
Old 07-02-16, 06:18 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: usa
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi Bud, I appreciate the opinion. I have read articles about draining the window well to a basement sump, then remove the water back outside by a sump pump. That would involve major remodeling/construction of the finished basement. Why not a more simple small sump and pump in the window well? That's why I asked about a smaller pit, and a smaller pump. I'd still have a problem with a 3400 gal per hr pump and a huge hole below the slab. I'm looking for a simple solution without tearing up the house and the landscaping.
 
  #4  
Old 07-02-16, 06:38 PM
B
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,531
Received 42 Votes on 38 Posts
There are many applications for outside sump pumps or lift pumps, but in a cold climate they should all be below grade or in some way protected from freezing. They also need to be accessible for service and testing. It does little good to have one that may not be working.

Have an old friend from years back who filed 2 flood claims. Insurance paid and followed with a cancellation notice. And they are getting more particular in modern times. If you have read many of my posts I often state, "I hate basements", especially finished ones. So if I sound negative it is because experience has worn me down.

Is this window well cemented in or can you dig around it to address the drainage or protect it from incoming water. A picture would reduce the guessing.

Bud
 
  #5  
Old 07-03-16, 05:14 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,928
Received 214 Votes on 197 Posts
Have you yet found the source of the water and the path it takes to get into your basement?

Does water run down the inside of the foundation wall?

A five gallon bucket used as a sump pump chamber and installed in or near the window well is probably too small to allow the pump to cycle on and off without spillage into the rest of the window well and then into your basement.
 
  #6  
Old 07-03-16, 03:31 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: usa
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
AllanJ - No, I am still stumped about the source of the rain water. It does not run down inside the foundation wall, but obviously found a way down the outside of the foundation wall to the bottom of the window well. Why would I get spillage from a 5 gallon sump? As long as the float has room to operate, it should expel the water thru the hose, not back into the window well?
Bud - The window well is timbered with pressure treated timbers. I'll get some pics and post them. The winter season is not a problem, as the storms come in the spring, summer, and fall. I could pull the pump once the weather turns, and drop it back in when the danger of freezing passes.
 
  #7  
Old 07-04-16, 03:18 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: usa
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
OK, here's 3 pictures of the window well in question.Name:  DSCN4070.jpg
Views: 3470
Size:  48.1 KB
Name:  DSCN4072.jpg
Views: 3893
Size:  44.3 KB Name:  DSCN4073.jpg
Views: 3510
Size:  33.0 KB

Water comes in from the bottom, left corner, between the foundation wall and the bottom timber.

Maybe the problem with a five gallon bucket is that the water below the check valve drops back into the pit, and might trigger the pump to start again? But if the check valve is just above the height of the pump, maybe that is AOK?
 
  #8  
Old 07-05-16, 08:41 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,928
Received 214 Votes on 197 Posts
Also, a layer of gravel harbors water that can seep into the house at its leisure.

So a shallow trench around the foundation for plants and shrubs that is filled with gravel is something you don't want. Similarly the gravel down in the window well creates a problem.

By th time the water level rises high enough to enter the rim of the bucket whose rim si at the gravel surface, there is already a large pool of water just below that level.
 
  #9  
Old 07-05-16, 08:58 AM
B
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,531
Received 42 Votes on 38 Posts
Just a thought for you, since that is a large window well, if you collect all of the decorative gravel and set it aside you should be able to dig down several feet. Then test by adding a bucket of water to see if it drains. Of, switch to a post hole digger and continue down to the footing level. Test with water again to see if you have reached the perimeter drain system and whether it can accept more water. If you like the results, wait for a good rain to see if the window well fills up or drains, then we can discuss how to make that permanent.

Also, given the size of that well, you could excavate similar to above and shore up the sides so you can install a much deeper sump pump. Cover with a steel grill (or other) that can be removed for servicing, but being that close to the house it might not have a freezing problem. Nice that you can work on it through the window.

Bud
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: