All commercial kitchen operations are required to have some type of grease interceptor, which is commonly referred to as a grease trap. And while many restaurant owners and operators don’t think about their grease traps often, this is one component of your commercial kitchen you definitely don’t want to neglect.

Why not? Because an overfull or improperly functioning grease trap can spell major problems for your building’s plumbing system. And trust us when we say that’s not something you want to deal with.

If you’re unfamiliar with how your business’s grease trap works or why routine cleanings are essential, read on for everything you need to know.

What Exactly Is a Grease Trap?

You know your kitchen has a grease trap, but do you actually know what it is or what it even looks like? If you’ve always had a drain cleaning professional clean that trap, that’s wise, but you may not be fully aware of what this critical piece of kitchen equipment is. Let’s change that.

A grease trap is a piece of equipment that’s designed to intercept fats, oils, and greases (FOG) when they travel into a drain. This trap serves to prevent greasy materials from flowing into the building’s main sewer line along with the water that normally flows down the drains.

Why Is a Grease Trap Necessary?

Grease traps or interceptors are required in commercial kitchens because these establishments tend to generate a considerable volume of FOG on a frequent basis.

If that greasy material is allowed to travel through the drain system, it can accumulate within the main sewer line — the drain that all of the drains in your building empty into — where it can cause problems like:

●        Foul odors emanating from drains in your building

●        Restricted wastewater flow through the plumbing system

●        Slow, clogged, or completely blocked drainpipes and sewers

How Does a Grease Trap Work?

A grease trap typically contains two compartments: one that collects wastewater and retains greasy material and solids, and one that contains only grease-free wastewater. The trap works by cooling down incoming hot fats, oils, and greases so that they solidify and separate from the water that will end up in the building’s main sewer line. 

Grease traps contain water, which, as you likely know, doesn’t mix with oils. When hot FOG and wastewater enter the grease trap, the FOG immediately begins to cool and separate from the water, eventually floating to the water’s surface, where it stays.

Any solid substances contained within the wastewater sink to the bottom of the grease trap, and the grease-free water flows through a small opening called a baffle wall and into a secondary compartment. That secondary compartment only houses FOG- and solid-free wastewater, which then flows into the building’s main sewer line and into the municipal drainage system.

Grease Trap Cleaning: Why Is It Important?

All grease traps must be cleaned periodically, so they don’t accumulate an excessive amount of grease, which will end up flowing into the building’s main sewer line. While some FOG and solids will decompose naturally, the decomposition process for these materials is quite lengthy and not efficient enough to prevent overflow.

When these traps are not cleaned regularly, they can develop offputting odors and may also result in a code violation during routine inspections. Overflowing grease traps can also contribute to main sewer line blockages and slow drainage, which can interrupt normal business operations.

How Often Is Grease Trap Cleaning Necessary?

The frequency at which your building’s grease trap or traps should be cleaned depends on the volume of FOG your business generates, the size of trap you have, and how efficiently your trap drains.

Generally speaking, grease traps should be cleaned at one- to three-month intervals, but cleaning frequency can vary. If you’d like a schedule specific to your business, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced commercial drain cleaning professional.

Keep in mind that your building has other drains that require routine cleaning too. For information on cleaning schedules for these drains, check out How Often Is Commercial Drain Cleaning Necessary?

Get a Free Commercial Drain Cleaning Estimate

Do you need your grease trap cleaned? Think your main sewer line may be having problems caused by an overfull or improperly functioning grease trap? Then get in touch with our team at Drain Blaster Bill’s Sewer & Drain Cleaning for help! We specialize in commercial sewer and drain cleaning for all types of businesses, and if you need same-day service, we’ll get you taken care of. We also offer 24/7 emergency service, so keep us in mind for all your drain cleaning needs!

To get started, give us a call at 763-913-8719 or fill out our quote request form online, and we’ll get back to you with more information.