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How to Manage Grease Traps for Restaurants

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Justin GuinnAuthor

Restaurant work is often a dirty business. That’s explicitly apparent when dealing with restaurant grease traps. 

These literal traps for grease. hold paramount importance to ensure a clean and hygienic environment for any food service establishments with fryers.

There’s tons to consider when researching which restaurant grease traps to choose and how to properly maintain them — flow control, grease capacity, overflows management, and food waste build up to list a few.

Read on to learn more the crucial aspects of restaurant grease traps. Understand the best practices for grease trap cleaning. And understand the importance of strong relationships with plumbers, commercial grease trap cleaning services, and more.

Understanding restaurant grease traps

A restaurant grease trap, also known as a grease interceptor, is an essential component of a commercial kitchen's plumbing system. 

Its purpose is to intercept and separate fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from wastewater, preventing these substances from entering the main sewer lines. 

By collecting and containing FOG, grease traps help prevent clogs and blockages, protecting both the restaurant's internal plumbing and the external municipal sewage system.

Different types of grease

Grease is a common byproduct of many restaurant operations, but not all grease is created equal. 

There are several types of grease, including animal fats, vegetable oil, and dairy fat. Each type of grease has different characteristics that affect the way it behaves in plumbing systems. 

Animal fats, for example, solidify at room temperature, which can cause blockages in pipes. Vegetable oil, on the other hand, is liquid at room temperature, making it less likely to cause clogs but more likely to accumulate in grease traps.

Understanding GPM grease trap measures

GPM, or gallons per minute, flow rate is an important consideration when it comes to grease trap installation and management in commercial kitchens. 

The flow rate is the measure of how much water is draining through the pipes of the kitchen, and too high of a flow rate can compromise the effectiveness of the grease trap.

When installing a grease trap, it is important to consider the size and capacity of the trap in relation to the GPM flow rate of the kitchen. An undersized grease trap will not be able to handle the amount of grease and solids produced by the kitchen, leading to clogs and backups. Similarly, if the flow rate is too high, a larger grease trap may be necessary to keep up with the volume of water and prevent grease from entering the sewer system.

Importance of understanding sewer systems in relation to grease traps

Understanding your restaurant's sewer system is crucial in maintaining your grease trap. 

Grease traps are designed to capture and collect grease before it enters the sewer system or septic tank, preventing blockages and backups. However, if your restaurant's plumbing system is not properly connected to the trap, or if the trap is not maintained regularly, grease can still make its way into the sewer lines and cause problems.

Some municipalities have specific regulations regarding grease trap installation and maintenance, so it is important to consult with local authorities to ensure that your restaurant is in compliance. In addition, proper maintenance and cleaning of the grease trap is necessary to prevent any accidental spills or blockages.

How to use floor drains

Floor drains are an important component of your restaurant's plumbing system and can help prevent grease buildup. 

It is essential to ensure that the floor drainage system is connected to the grease trap, as this can prevent grease and other solids from entering the sewer system. You should also make sure that the drain is free of debris, such as food particles or other waste, to prevent clogs.

To maintain your floor drain, it is recommended to clean it regularly with an enzymatic cleaner that can break down and digest grease and other organic matter. You can also use boiling water periodically to flush out any remaining debris.

Plastic grease traps vs stainless steel

When it comes to choosing a grease trap for your restaurant, there are two main options: plastic or stainless steel. 

Plastic grease traps are affordable and lightweight, making them a popular choice for smaller restaurants or those on a budget. They are also easy to install and clean. However, plastic grease traps can crack or degrade over time, which may require more frequent replacement.

Stainless steel grease traps, on the other hand, are durable and long-lasting. They can withstand high temperatures and heavy usage, making them a popular choice for high-volume restaurants. Stainless steel traps are easy to clean and maintain, but they are typically more expensive than their plastic counterparts.

Regardless of the type of grease trap you choose, regular maintenance and cleaning are essential to ensure that the trap is working properly and preventing any damage to your restaurant's plumbing system.

Ensuring adequate grease removal: Daily cleaning vs. deep cleaning

Maintaining a clean and efficient grease trap requires both daily cleaning and periodic deep cleaning. 

Daily cleaning involves the removal of surface debris, such as food particles and grease, to prevent immediate clogging. 

On the other hand, deep cleaning involves thorough scraping, rinsing, and removal of accumulated grease and debris from the entire grease trap system. 

A combination of regular daily cleaning and periodic deep cleaning ensures optimal grease removal and prolongs the lifespan of the grease trap.

Selecting the right kitchen cleaning services

When it comes to managing restaurant grease traps effectively, partnering with reliable and professional kitchen cleaning services is crucial. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting such grease trap services:

  • Experience and expertise: Choose a provider with a proven track record of servicing restaurants and dealing with grease trap maintenance.

  • Compliance with regulations: Ensure that the cleaning service follows all local regulations regarding waste disposal and adheres to environmental guidelines.

  • Comprehensive cleaning services: Opt for a service that offers a range of deep cleaning services beyond just grease trap maintenance. This includes hood and exhaust cleaning, kitchen equipment cleaning, and more.

Keeping up with cleaning schedules

The frequency of deep cleaning for restaurant kitchens depends on various factors, including the volume of cooking, the type of cuisine served, and local health department regulations. However, as a general guideline, professional deep cleaning should be performed at least once every three to six months.

Effective management of restaurant grease traps is crucial for multiple reasons:

  • Prevents Foul Odors: Grease traps that are not regularly cleaned and maintained can produce foul odors, leading to an unpleasant dining experience for customers and an unhygienic working environment for staff.

  • Compliance with Regulations: Municipal regulations often dictate proper grease trap maintenance to prevent sewage system blockages and protect the environment.

  • Avoids Costly Plumbing Repairs: Neglecting grease trap maintenance can lead to expensive plumbing repairs, as accumulated FOG can cause clogs and damage to the internal plumbing system.

Grease traps for restaurants are dirty, unavoidable business

Restaurant grease traps are vital in maintaining a clean and efficient kitchen operation. 

Implementing regular daily cleaning, periodic deep cleaning, and partnering with reliable kitchen cleaning services ensures that restaurants meet compliance standards, avoid plumbing issues, and provide a pleasant dining experience for customers and staff. 

By prioritizing the management of grease traps, restaurant owners and operators can maintain a healthy and thriving establishment while upholding industry regulations.

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