Did you know that if you have a living area or a bedroom located in your basement that you are required by law to have some form of emergency exit from that room? While some houses are actually raised a bit so that they have small windows located in the basement near the ground, some basements are completely subterranean. For those types of basements, you will have to install something called a window well.
What Are Window Wells?
Window wells are large holes dug into the ground near the foundation that allow a person to quickly and easily leave the basement. Basically, they’re a type of escape tunnel dug near the house that provides a way of getting out of the basement in the event of a fire or other disaster. However, installing a window well near your foundation can cause some issues. While there are several different things you can do to protect your home from the problems a window well can create, the cheapest and often the best solution is to install a window well cover.
Creating a window well does make it easy to get out of your basement, but it also makes it easy for things like water, snow, mulch, and other debris to get in. This can cause a lot of trouble. Rain and melting snow, for example, can cause mildew and mold to grow in the window well or even down in your basement. It can also lead to cracks in your foundation, while debris can clog up drains and cause other damage.
Protecting against all of this is the primary reason why you need to add window well covers to all of your window wells. These well covers should fit snugly down over the exit, keeping everything out while still allowing for an easy exit from the basement.
Why Is It Important to Use Window Well Covers?
- Prevent Accidents: Covers stop people or pets from accidentally falling into the window wells, which can be a significant safety hazard.
- Reduce Debris: They keep out leaves, dirt, and other outdoor debris which can block drainage and lead to water buildup.
- Discourage Pests: By sealing off the area, window well covers deter animals and insects from nesting in the space.
- Minimize Water Entry: Well covers help in preventing rain and snow from entering the well, reducing the likelihood of leaks into the basement.
- Enhance Energy Efficiency: Some covers provide additional insulation, keeping basements warmer in winter and reducing energy costs.
How to Choose a Window Well Cover
- Measure Precisely: Ensure a snug, protective fit by accurately measuring your window well before purchasing a cover.
- Select Robust Materials: Choose covers made of high-quality, weather-resistant materials such as polycarbonate or metal to endure the elements.
- Verify Weight Capacity: Confirm that the cover can support significant weight for both safety and longevity.
- Evaluate Egress Accessibility: Opt for covers that can be easily detached from the inside to facilitate quick and safe emergency exits.
- Assess Visibility Needs: Look for transparent materials that maintain light entry while blocking debris and moisture if visibility is important.
When selecting, consider the window well’s specific requirements, including its location, the local climate, and the main functional needs of the cover for your home.
How Much Does It Cost To Install A Window Well Cover?
Installing a window well cover typically ranges between $50 and $500, with costs varying based on factors such as size, material, and custom features. Basic plastic covers are more affordable, while custom-fit, heavy-duty covers like those made of polycarbonate or metal, designed for added durability and security, tend toward the higher end of the price spectrum.
What To Consider When Installing A Window Well
- Highlight the Emergency Exit: Clearly mark and maintain visibility of the window well to ensure it’s easily recognizable and unblocked for potential emergency exits.
- Select Heavy-Duty Covers: Invest in a durable cover capable of supporting substantial weight, safeguarding against accidental falls and ensuring child safety.
- Accentuate Cover Visibility: Choose covers that stand out, making the window well’s location obvious to avoid unintentional obstruction.
- Implement Locking Features: Install a locking mechanism that operates from the inside to deter unlawful entry and secure the window well cover firmly in place.
- Deter Intruders: Strategically secure your window well cover to the ground, utilizing locks to make it a less appealing target for burglars.
- Seal Against Pests: Fit your cover precisely, eliminating any gaps to prevent the entry of insects and small animals, thus preserving the cleanliness of the well area.
Additional Tips for Window Well Safety
- Regular Inspection: Check periodically to ensure the cover is intact, the well is properly drained, and free from obstructions.
- Proper Installation: Be certain covers are securely attached and can support the weight of heavy snow, debris, or a person if stepped on.
- Accessibility: Choose a cover design that allows easy exit from the basement in case of emergencies.
- Visibility: Keep the window well area clear from vegetation overgrowth and other visual obstructions for safety monitoring.
FAQs About Window Well Covers
Absolutely, they are designed to prevent water from pooling in the well and potentially leaking into the basement.