Winter Maintenance Tips for Outdoor Drains

Friday, February 19th, 2021 by Crystal Bonner

The Northern Virginia area recently received some winter weather and soon all that ice and snow will be melting. Make sure to check your floor drains! Many homes in our area have outdoor drains that prevent standing water from accumulating in the yard or basement after it rains. However, these drains are just as important in the winter months. If melted ice and snow cannot properly flow through outdoor drains, it can seep into and under your concrete or into small cracks in your home's foundation. 

 Winter Maintenance Tips for Outdoor Drains - Image 1

 Here are some tips in order to keep your outdoor drains working properly: 

1. Melt Drain Ice Blockages as Needed. 

Ice can form blockages that prevent water from flowing through them. To remove an ice blockage, fill a bucket with hot water and pour over the frozen drain until the ice melts and the water flows through. 

2. Keep Drains Free from Debris. 

Debris can pass through your grate and into the sump all year-round. A sump is connected to the outdoor drain grate through a pipe. This debris can block the flow of water. During winter, debris in the pipe can also hold onto water and freeze, creating an ice blockage. Remove debris from your drains on a regular basis. 

3. Install the Right Drain Grates. 

If you frequently find that you have to remove debris from your outdoor drain to keep them functioning properly, you should consider replacing your grates. Choose a new grate with a fine mesh screen that will block the entry of more debris than a standard grate. You can also replace it with an atrium grate. An atrium grate is dome-shaped, protrudes from the ground, and is often more effective than a standard flat grate. 

In both winter and warmer months, it is important to have a well-functioning outdoor drain. Try to keep your grate surfaces free from snow and ice accumulation and check for ice and debris blockages often. 


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