Eating establishments of every size must maintain their kitchens to comply with regulations, laws, and guidelines. The grease trap is one area that can never be overlooked when completing this maintenance.
This trap ensures the proper functioning of the kitchen, so it must be a priority. What steps should the restaurant take to effectively care for this essential commercial kitchen component?
What is the Grease Trap?
Grease traps go by many names. A person might refer to them as a grease catcher, grease management system, grease converter, or grease interceptor. They are found in eating establishments, hotels, schools, and more.
This trap collects fats, oils, and grease (FOG) before they make their way into the drainage or sewer system. Visit johnsonsepticservice.com to have this FOG removed before it causes problems.
Why Must the Grease Trap Be Maintained?
Maintaining grease traps has several purposes. Doing so helps prevent foul odors in the eating establishment. These foul odors can lead to people leaving the establishment, as they are very offputting. Regular maintenance of the grease trap prevents these odors from appearing.
If not properly maintained, a grease trap may become clogged. Fats, oils, and grease harden when they go down drains. When they do, they may cause a blockage in the system. The grease trap prevents that from happening, but only when it is well-maintained. If the trap is ignored, the FOG overflows into the drainage or sewer system. Once it does so, the eating establishment may be looking at costly repairs. Clean the trap monthly to prevent this from happening.
Repairs may not be enough if the grease trap isn’t properly maintained. The owner will then be looking at an expensive tank replacement. When solid foods and FOG are allowed to sit in the grease trap, they release hydrogen sulfur gas. This gas creates toxic sulfuric acid, which will eat away at the walls of the trap. Grease traps are expensive, so an owner cannot allow this to happen.
Maintaining the grease trap also helps to avoid fines and penalties. Most localities have specific requirements in place regarding the installation and maintenance of this equipment. If these requirements are not met, the owner could be penalized.
5 Tips for Maintaining the Grease Trap
Owners can do many things to keep grease traps in good working order. The following tips are only a few of many. Speak with a professional grease trap cleaning provider for additional information.
- Regularly inspect the grease trap to catch problems early before they escalate and lead to damage. When FOG solidifies in the system, waste may back up into the restaurant, leading to the need for the establishment to close. Revenue will be lost during the cleanup and repairs. Regular inspections help to prevent this from happening and are much easier to complete than repairing or replacing the grease trap.
- Don’t overlook the sides or lid of the grease trap when cleaning it. Many people do and wonder why they have problems. If help is needed in removing the sludge and debris, use a wet/dry vacuum to get those areas that cannot be reached by hand.
- Clean the pipes at this time. This includes both the intake and outtake pipes, which should be removed for the most thorough cleaning. Many people choose to use a pressure washer or hose to remove debris from the walls of the pipes. However, others choose to leave this step to a professional septic service because the service technicians have the tools and experience to do the job quickly and efficiently.
- Avoid pouring grease down the drain. Set a bin next to the drain to collect grease, and have it picked up by a waste management contractor regularly. In addition, always scrape plates before rinsing them to reduce the amount of grease making its way into the drain.
- Work with professionals to have the grease traps cleaned and maintained. The professionals do a more thorough cleaning of the grease trap to reduce fire hazards. A grease fire can spread quickly and do significant damage while putting the lives of employees and guests at risk.
Furthermore, the professionals know all laws, rules, and regulations regarding grease traps. They will alert the owner to any problems they see when completing the cleaning and maintenance. Repairs can then be made before the owner is penalized. Keep a record of the professional cleaning. If problems arise, the owner can show that they have complied to the best of their ability by working with professionals to have these tasks done.
Steel screens are of great help in preventing food pieces and grease from entering the drains in the kitchen. Install them under every sink to catch as much FOG as possible. While all dishes should be scraped before making their way into the sinks, some grease and food particles will get by kitchen staff. The steel screens ensure they don’t go any further than the sink.
Countless individuals assume hot water is better in a kitchen. It is not, as water above 144 degrees Fahrenheit will melt fats, oils, and grease. The FOG then makes its way through the grease trap and into the drain or sewer system where it solidifies. Keeping the water below 144 degrees Fahrenheit allows the grease trap to do its job and prevents the solidification of FOG in the drains and sewer lines. In addition, by ensuring FOG doesn’t make its way into drains or the sewer system, a business can reduce its risk of being penalized by authorities.
Keep Grease Tramps Functioning Properly
Grease traps provide a vital function in commercial kitchens, but only when they work as intended. Regular maintenance and cleanings ensure the grease traps remain functional and problems are caught at an early stage. While the grease trap remains hidden, this does not mean it can be forgotten.
Set up a schedule for regular cleanings and maintenance in-house and with a professional service trained to handle these tasks. Doing so will ensure the grease trap is operational at all times.