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How to Care for Grease Traps

How to Care for Grease Traps
23rd January 2013

If you have a restaurant or other food service business, your grease trap plays an important role in preserving the sanitary conditions in your kitchen and preventing contaminants from reaching the water supply. Ensuring that the grease trap is properly maintained can help you comply with state and local regulations and prevent costly plumbing problems.

The Importance of Cleaning a Grease Trap

The grease trap is a device that slows down the drainage of wastewater, giving hot oils and fats the opportunity to cool. As a result, the oils become solid and are caught or trapped within the box, so that they don't flow out of the drain and enter the water supply.

Since the purpose of the box is to capture oil and grease, it's easy to understand why the chamber gradually accumulates a coating of oil and grease. If these oils and fats are not removed, they can eventually clog the grease trap and lead to a build up of waste material in your plumbing, which can cause sink overflows and other serious plumbing problems.

Signs That a Grease Trap Needs Cleaning

Typically, local governments require grease traps to be cleaned at regular intervals, such as monthly or quarterly; however, your grease trap may need cleaning ahead of schedule. Watch out for these signs that your grease trap needs servicing:

  • Slow sink drainage. If you begin to notice a change in the performance of the drains in your sinks, a dirty grease trap may be to blame.
  • Foul odours. The build-up of fat and oil inside the grease trap will often have a very strong, unpleasant smell. If you can detect a bad odour when standing in front of the sink, your grease trap may need a good cleaning.
  • Noisy drains. When the grease trap is clogged, you'll often hear a gurgling or growling sound when water flows out of the sink.

Maintaining Your Grease Trap

To keep your grease trap in good working order, follow these tips:

  • Hire professionals to clean your grease traps. Even if you're a veteran do-it-yourself-er around the house, you should leave grease trap cleaning to the professionals. Plumbers experienced in grease trap maintenance will inspect the box for damage with each cleaning and can spot signs of wear and tear that the untrained eye can miss.
  • Never flush the grease trap with hot water to clean or unclog it. This will cause the fats and oils to melt and flow into your pipes, where they can cause plumbing issues.
  • Do not connect dishwashers that run at high temperatures to the grease trap, as this allows very hot water to enter the box. Instead, rinse dishes in a sink attached to the grease trap before placing them in the dishwasher.
  • Train every member of your staff on the importance of protecting and maintaining the grease trap. Instruct them to report any signs that the grease trap needs cleaning to a supervisor or to you.
  • If you have questions about grease trap care or maintenance or need to schedule an appointment for cleaning, give us a call here at Sydney Emergency Plumbing.

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