4 Pitfalls of Leaving Window Wells Uncovered

If you have a finished basement, having a window well for each operating glass unit matters. The purpose of this semi-circular excavation is threefold. It allows for emergency egress, helps prevent moisture damage, and let the sun in.

However, leaving them uncovered creates a new set of problems. More often than not, window well covers are not a requirement, but they are worth every penny. For starters, below are the pitfalls of having uncovered basement window wells.

Debris Buildup

Without a cover, a window well is defenseless against dead foliage, fallen twigs, and all other kinds of debris that could fall into its wide opening. If you do not have time to clean each up regularly, do not be surprised to find a lot of garbage in all of them.

The pile of thrash is not harmless. It could clog the drainage system of your window wells, further complicating their upkeep. Some debris can cause injury, too. In case of emergency, stepping into a sharp object that should not be in a window well in the first place could cut you or your loved ones.


As mentioned, debris buildup could compromise window well drainage. When the rain comes, the water could pond in every hole and infiltrate your basement quickly. A flooded basement is hazardous in itself because it could set the stage for mold growth and increase the chances of slippage.

Moreover, basement flooding will almost certainly result in severe water damage. Apart from having to buy replacements for the soaked valuables you could not save, remodeling your affected space might be necessary to restore its structural integrity and beauty. But your insurer might decline to cover the damage if you did not do everything you could to ensure proper window well drainage.

Falling Hazard

One of the primary motivations of homeowners for buying covers is to prevent falls. Window wells are deep enough to badly injure kids, adults, and animals. Even worse, there is a possibility that it would take a lot of time to find fallen small children and pets there. They could cry for help, but it might be hard to hear them from their location.

Pest Invasion

Window with shutters

Bugs and some critters might exploit uncovered window wells to take shelter in your house. To pests, these areas could offer protection from the elements and enable them to build nests undisturbed for a long time.

Eventually, vermin could get inside your house through basement windows. Once they are in, they could wreak havoc on your belongings and cause health problems because of the pathogens found in their droppings and urine.

Of course, any household pest can be exterminated. But an extermination does not come cheap and can be stressful. Imagine the hassle of moving out of your residence temporarily while your house is being treated with powerful chemicals just to kill your uninvited guests.

Covering window wells requires careful consideration, but it should be viewed more as a necessity than an option. It can be a costly proposition but a necessary expense to increase the safety of your house.


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