Winter Drain Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Every season of the year can bring certain challenges for homeowners, and winter is no exception. You’ve probably already taken steps to winterize your pipes underneath and outside your home, but you also need to consider some plumbing tasks for your kitchen and bathroom drains. So, here are some of the best ways to maintain your drains this winter.

Keep Grease and Food Scraps Out of Your Kitchen Sink

First — and this is something your family needs to work on year-round — it’s important to avoid dumping grease, used cooking oil and food scraps down the kitchen sink. This applies to vegetable peels and coffee grounds, too.
While your garbage disposal is designed to grind up food scraps and make it easier for them to flow down your drainpipes, it’s still a bad idea to overuse this appliance. When grease and oil cool and solidify, they stick to the insides of your drain and sewage lines and turn into a thick sludge that traps other food particles. Over time, this can damage your plumbing and cause sewage to back up into your home.

Flush Only Toilet Paper Down the Toilet

Toilet drains also clog up from frequent use when you have a lot of guests. This isn’t normally a big deal, since toilet paper is designed to dissolve quickly in water. But if your family members or houseguests are in the habit of flushing other paper products and waste down the toilet, that can cause clogs down in your drain pipes.
Avoid flushing paper towels, hygiene products, cigarette butts and anything made of plastic down your toilet. Only toilet paper and flushable toilet seat covers designed for that purpose should be in there.

Clean Hair and Soap From Shower Drains

Shower and bathtub drains also get more clogs during this time of year due to increased use. All that hair, soap scum, dirt and oils from people’s skin solidifies down there and clogs up your shower drains. One of the simplest and most effective ways to protect your shower drains is to use a drain screen to catch hair and debris before they go down the drain. Then just empty the screen into the trash a few times a week. It only takes a few seconds, but that simple step can save you money every year on drain cleaning.

DIY vs. Professional Drain Cleaning

When clogs do develop in your kitchen and bathroom drains, pouring hot water down the drain can help loosen things up. Pouring a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down the drain is another time-tested DIY drain cleaning method. But these tricks only work on minor clogs and aren’t much use for more stubborn clogs, especially those down deeper in your sewer lines.

If you’ve got a slow-draining sink, toilet or shower, and none of the drain maintenance tips above are doing the job, contact our team at Viking Plumbing right away. Our Boise, ID plumbers will locate the exact location of your clog and provide professional drain cleaning services to get your drains flowing freely once again.