Window Well Surprise Guest

Date Published: June 21, 2016

During a recent pre-purchase home inspection, one of our inspectors, Brett, found a furry friend trapped in the depths of a window well. This unfortunate skunk must have fallen in at this property due to a missing window well cover. We quickly sprang into action and notified the Realtors, who called animal control, and got him back to safety. Luckily, the little guy was unharmed, and everyone at the inspection stayed clear of the skunk’s smell.

A window well is the large opening in the ground that surrounds a basement window. They are usually large enough to let in light, and commonly have a ladder for egress out of the basement. We have seen every kind of window well and some of them can be 6-8 feet deep or more!

window well missing a cover

Common window well style with missing cover.

Window Well Safety

A missing window well cover is a safety issue that we home inspectors will commonly call out. It may not always seem like the most pressing issue to address, but it is an inexpensive fix that can prevent many issues from happening. Having animals fall into these holes is a somewhat common occurrence, but every now and then you hear a story like this one: Child Transported by Medical Helicopter After Fall Into Window Well

So play it safe! Add window well covers for your home and save yourself the future hassle. You can even find some aesthetically pleasing ones like these: Pinterest Window Covers

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About the Author: Chris Scott

Chris Scott is an ASHI certified home inspector with multiple years of experience in home inspections, blower door testing, duct leakage testing, and Boulder Rental License Inspections. Chris is also the Website Coordinator for Scott Home Inspection.

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    Dan Hankin June 22, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    I had a raccoon in a window well. I took a piece of 2×8. stapled some carpet to it and leaned it in the window well. Next time I looked raccoon was gone.

    • George Scott June 22, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      Nice solution with the raccoon. Apparently the animal control people used laughing gas to prevent the skunk from spraying, then helped it out to safety.

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