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Preventing Flooding in a Window Well

Throughout the spring of 2019, the Muskoka region was impacted by flooding that forced some communities to declare a state of emergency. This flooding caused damage to homes, cottages, and businesses throughout the region, and caused thousands of dollars in damage throughout Muskoka.

With the threat of future floods looming, Muskoka cottage owners need to take proactive measures in order to be better prepared for floods, and to minimize damage to property. Preventing flooding in window wells is one of the best ways to protect your basement from flooding.

How window well flooding happens

Window wells are a great way to let natural light into the basement of a home or cottage, avoiding the “dungeon” look that often accompanies basements. They also go a long way to prevent damage to basement windows, and to allow a point for emergency escapes or entrances.

Water entering your home through basement window wells can be devastating to your property, causing damage to windows, walls, paint, furniture, and home appliances. Window wells usually flood when they’ve been improperly installed, or when they have inadequate drainage to deal with heavy amounts of water from flooding, heavy rain, or snow melt.

Maintaining window wells

Maintaining your window wells will help to extend their lifespan, and can prevent flooding caused by poor or no maintenance. It’s recommended that cottage owners regularly inspect the condition of window wells, especially in the fall and after winter seasons when damage is most common. Debris should be cleared from window wells immediately, as leaves, branches, and dirt can quickly create a blockage in window well drains. If drainage isn’t functioning properly, pooling and flooding will occur, leading to serious window damage and water making its way into your home.

In addition, the caulking on window well liners should be reapplied if it has started to pull away from the foundation. Extreme weather and excessive snow and ice load can lead to caulking being damaged or pulling away, and can lead to water and debris entering drainage holes. While inspecting your window wells, be sure to confirm that your window well cover is in good condition, that it meets safety standards, and can still be easily removed in the event of an emergency.

Preventing flooding in window wells

Before taking measures to ensure that your window wells won’t flood, it’s important to ensure that your windows have been carefully fitted in order to prevent water from entering your windows – even the smallest gaps in the frame can let in large amounts of water. Once you’ve ensured the correct fit of the window and that gaps have been filled, one of the recommended preventative measures, especially during ongoing flooding, is to cover your ground level windows up using plywood and a rubber hose, as detailed here. Covering up your windows will ensure that they aren’t damaged by the increased pressure from the presence of water, and from floating objects.

Installing a dry well is another effective measure to direct water away from your windows and the foundation of your cottage. This can be done by digging a trench to direct excess water into, or by directing the water towards a sump pump that will pump water away from your cottage’s foundation. A contractor can do it, or you can rent the equipment to do it yourself.

Since 1988, Muskoka Window & Door Centre has helped customers see Muskoka as was meant to be seen with high performance window and door products. For more information about Muskoka Window & Door Centre’s high quality line of window and door products, contact us today.

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