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Old 12-27-2015, 12:25 PM   #1
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Correct way to fix egress window well drainage?


Hi, I have an egress window with a window well that extends about 3ft underground into our back yard. The well is on a flat surface near our foundation and slopes downward and away from house about 5feet into the yard. I also have a gutter drain I can tie into about 3ft from side of window well; it vacates into bottom of hill in yard.

I found out the drain in the window well was supposed to go to a big drainage barrel but didn't. It has a valve into our basement but there's no sump pump and it illegally drained to our sewer drainage grey water. In very heavy, and sustained rains, it filled with water up to the window sill and trickeled in (I plugged the inside drain house, didn't want that much water coming from outside into a more finished area in our basement).

Instead of doing rain barrel (which would be buried another foot deep and going about 5ft deeper at lowest point) can I do an outdoor rated sump pump? It'd only need to raise about 4-6ft total and then over 3ft if I tie it to gutter drain. If a plain drain-barrel would work, wouldn't it only put the drained water only a few feet from the house (and a few feet deep) since its be buried in the well itself? Or is that enough? I like a non-powered and non mechanical solution; but I don't see how it'd work.

The window well is covered and only gets water from the heaviest rains. If it's a huge downpour for a full 24 hours it'll be about 18" worth of water and get up to egress window sill and then into basement; but that takes a full day and happens maybe 3x a year-- so it doesn't need to drain fast, just an outdoor rated sump pump.

Lastly, can I go with a shorter well, like three foot deep so that it's not so far down? If like it too kick on when as little as one inch of water gets in so it can start pumping away from the house and foundation. What's code here?

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Old 12-27-2015, 02:05 PM   #2
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What do you mean by, "rain barrel". Is this a drywell? The drywell should be at least 10 feet away from the house. If the subsoil poorly drains, it should be a lot further away.
My drywell has holes all around and an open bottom for drainage. It's a prefab unit that holds 50 gallons. I put two in series so it would handle anything. I live where the sub soil is sand, so drainage is great. I put it 15 feet away from the house. The perimeter hole is wrapped with a soil block and the 6" space around the drywell perimeter is filled with gravel.
I went through Tropical storm Irene and Sandy with no issues.
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Old 12-27-2015, 02:12 PM   #3
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I would put a sump crock and pump in the basement, intercepting the existing interior draintile. I've never liked the idea of a sump outside, but it freezes here at least 5 months a years........
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Old 12-27-2015, 02:29 PM   #4
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Ron, correct, dry well, not rain barrel. The rain barrel is what it looked like but without a spigot. It is definitely NOT 10ft from the house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jomama45
I would put a sump crock and pump in the basement, intercepting the existing interior draintile. I've never liked the idea of a sump outside, but it freezes here at least 5 months a years........
What's a sump crock? Also; not sure I want to bring dirty outside water inside only to pump it right back out.

If I still should; there is a 2" drain that goes into my basement; it then goes down to a 1" or 1/2" and goes 15ft along wall at a slight (20% maybe) to out washer dryer area; then to floor drain.

I could put a pump there (electric right nearby, out of sight; and easy sill access to escape the water); but, it'd be sucking water from a drain 10ft away and through small 1" pipe at most of it. That'd burn up motor; wouldn't it?

Last edited by jdm001; 12-27-2015 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 12-27-2015, 02:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdm001 View Post
I could put a pump there (electric right nearby, out of sight; and easy sill access to escape the water); but, it'd be sucking water from a drain 10ft away and through small 1" pipe at most of it. That'd burn up motor; wouldn't it?
The pump doesn't start to work until the pit fills up. The water is pumped out until the level goes down. Then the pump shuts off. The pump doesn't pull water out of the pipe.
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Old 12-27-2015, 08:49 PM   #6
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Were it not for the freezing problem, and assuming the water does not find its way into the basmeent between the foundation and floor slab, the existing window well that allows 18 inches of water to accumulate before overflowing over the window sill is a perfect place to put a sump pump. You set the sump pump float to start the pump when the water gets to about 16 inches; the pump keeps going until the entire holding area (sump) is nearly empty, say less than 1 inch deep remaining. This way the pump does not keep starting and stopping frequently which is not sooso g so good for the pump.
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Old 12-28-2015, 05:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron6519
The pump doesn't start to work until the pit fills up. The water is pumped out until the level goes down. Then the pump shuts off. The pump doesn't pull water out of the pipe.
That's right; not sure what I was meaning there. Is the shrinking down to a 1" pipe an issue? Or, it doesn't matter what size it is as long as it gets down to the well drain and drains out faster than it comes in it should be fine?

I know you can't go any smaller on the evacuation side of sump pump (so if sump pump has 1 1/2 pipe outlet; you can't go down to 1" anywhere because it means pump is fighting backflow and wears out motor faster.

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Old 12-28-2015, 05:57 AM   #8
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So I have two options: install an outdoor rated pump; or take inside drain plumbing and run that to an inside pump.

I think the inside pump would actually be an easier install; but my worry is if the pump goes bad; all that water is in basement and will now flood the basement.

If I install it outside it'll be nearly un-serviceable (have to remove all drainage stones; then pebbles, then undo drain T, then dig up the barrel to get to it... All in an area with less than 1ft of clearance on either side). I can put screens over drain so that sump pump will never have any solids; and I can get to top of drain easily to clean it out semi-yearly etc.

It doesn't rain much in winter (except the current storm which is crazy!); in ten years snow melt has never caused water issues for this house and it will probably never kick on when it's near-freezing outside.


What do pros recommend: inside or outside on sump pump?

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Old 12-28-2015, 06:41 PM   #9
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I would dig over to the window well from your storm drain tee into the storm drain and turn up with a 90 in the window well. Gravity never fails.
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