How Do Grease Traps Work?

Grease traps are an essential part in the proper functioning of a restaurant kitchen. They prevent fats, oils, and grease from entering your drain line. Although every restaurant kitchen is equipped with a grease trap, many restaurant managers and employees don’t know how they work. Read below for a description of how grease traps function and why they are important.

Why Do We Need Grease Traps?

Grease traps are important because they catch the fats, oils, and grease (FOG waste) from your cooking. If these materials go down your drain, they can block your pipes and your drain line. If these pipes get blocked up, they can cause unsanitary flooding which will lead to expensive repairs and health hazards.

How Do They Work?

Grease traps function by catching fats, oils, and grease, while separating them from wastewater and solid food. The wastewater goes through restaurants’ compartment sinks and dishwashers and into the grease trap.

The grease trap container captures wastewater that goes through the sinks and acts as a reservoir. As the wastewater cools, fats, oils, and grease harden. The FOG waste is lighter than water and floats on top. Wastewater is then forced through the crossover pipe while the greases and solid foods remain in the container.

After the majority of solids have been removed, the water flows through the crossover pipe. This pipe provides the wastewater with a secondary filtration, removing the majority of the solids from the water. Once the wastewater is filtered through the crossover pipe, it can travel to the outgoing line.

The outgoing line is responsible for dispelling filtered water into the drainage system. It is designed to allow the grease trap to maintain its liquid level. A proper liquid level is essential to ensuring that the grease trap continues to separate solid foods, grease, and water.

How Often Should My Grease Trap be Cleaned?

Your grease trap will hold grease and solid foods that will build up over time. For this reason, it’s important to regularly clean your grease trap to remove this sludge. In order to ensure proper functioning, you should clean your trap out when the FOG waste takes up 25-33% of the trap. In general, restaurants pump their grease traps roughly once a week, however, there are multiple factors that will impact the frequency at which your grease trap needs to be cleaned.

If you have a very large grease trap, it might need to be cleaned out less often because it will take longer to fill. The size of the trap will affect the frequency at which you need to clean your grease trap.

The amount of food prepared in your kitchen will impact your cleaning schedule as well. During a busy period or season, you’ll need to clean your grease trap more often to keep up with the grease buildup. During slower periods, you can clean your trap less frequently.

The type of food cooked in your kitchen can contribute to a more or less frequent cleaning schedule. If your restaurant cooks greasier food frequently, it will probably need to be cleaned more frequently.

When you scrape dishes before you wash them, you will keep extra food and grease out of the drain, decreasing the frequency at which your grease trap will need to be cleaned. You should also avoid pouring higher fat liquids, such as frying oil, down the drain when possible

It's likely that you don't often think about your grease traps, which is more than understandable considering the other priorities involved with running a successful business / restaurant. That's why our team at Burgess & Partners Plumbing Services is more than happy to take care of your grease trap cleaning for you. We offer a wide variety of services including regular cleaning and service contracts, accurate record keeping and reporting, hi-pressure jetting, and 24-hour emergency service. Whatever your grease trap needs are, we can help!


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