San Diego Plumbing and Pipelining offers grease trap installation services for both residential and commercial clients in the greater San Diego area. Call us today at 855-269-7473 or reach out online to learn more.
What Is a Grease Trap?
A grease trap, also known as a grease interceptor, is a way to collect FOG (fats, oil, and grease) before it enters the septic system. While wastewater from showers and toilets breaks down relatively easily, wastewater with FOG does not, and it can clog lines and back up septic systems. A tank catches FOG near the sink, trapping it and separating it from the rest of the wastewater.
It’s a very basic system, with no mechanical parts to worry about. Wastewater flows into the grease interceptor on the way to the septic system. Baffles inside the grease trap remove FOG from the rest of the water. The grease floats to the top of the tank, and clean water flows out of the bottom.
Who Needs a Grease Trap?
Grease traps are most commonly used by restaurants, commercial kitchens, hotels, cruise ships, and other food preparation facilities. In fact, most municipalities mandate the use of grease traps in commercial establishments where FOG would otherwise enter the septic system.
Why is grease in the septic system so undesirable? It interferes with water treatment plant operation, and it causes sewers to overflow. It can also build up in pipes, resulting in slow drainage, clogs, and damaged pipes. This is more than just a nuisance! A clogged kitchen line can wind up costing a business thousands in cleaning, pipe repairs, and lost revenue.
It might surprise you to learn that homeowners can also use grease traps. Although most household plumbing systems can handle a small amount of FOG, anything more than that can cause clogs and backups, just like in commercial kitchens. This can wind up being both expensive and inconvenient for the homeowner.
Also, if you intend to recycle your home’s greywater to conserve water resources, which is a great idea in drought-prone California, a grease trap is a must. Kitchen greywater that still contains FOG is unsanitary, malodorous, and may attract vermin.
What Size Grease Trap Should You Get?
If you are buying a commercial grease trap, usually municipal ordinances will determine the size trap you should install for the volume of grease produced by your kitchen. A small kitchen may use a tank installed in the kitchen near the sink area, whereas a large industrial kitchen may need an external tank. If you are buying a grease trap for your home, your plumber can tell you what size will work best.
How Do You Clean a Grease Trap?
Grease traps must be professionally cleaned, or pumped, by a professional grease management contractor. Some commercial plumbers also perform this service for continuity of care with their customers.
Local governments typically regulate grease trap cleaning. You may need to have your grease trap cleaned more frequently than is legally required, though, if you have a high volume of FOG being collected, such as in a busy restaurant. Once you use a grease trap for a while, you will get a sense of how often it needs to be cleaned and can set up a regular schedule with your maintenance service.
What Happens to the FOG Collected in a Grease Trap?
Typically, the waste material collected in a grease interceptor is transported in a tank once it has been pumped out by a professional service. It is taken to a waste treatment facility where it is disposed of according to regulations. Occasionally, brown grease can be recycled.
What If My Line Is Still Clogged After Grease Trap Pumping?
If you are still having problems with your kitchen drain after installing a grease trap, you may have several other problems. The line may have been slowly becoming clogged with FOG prior to the installation of your grease trap. In that case, hydro jetting may be recommended to clear the pipe and restore it to its original interior diameter.
Hydro jetting uses water sprayed at pressures anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 PSI to clear grease, debris, and other unwanted material from pipes. First, a pipe inspectionis performed using a camera in order to ensure the sewer pipe is in good enough condition to withstand the hydro jetting pressure.
Another issue may be that you are overloading the grease trap. You need to make sure you are having your trap serviced often enough to prevent backup or overflow.
Sometimes the grease trap itself is the problem. That’s why we always recommend having a high-quality unit installed by a professional plumber like San Diego Plumbing and Pipelining. However, even the best grease interceptors eventually wear out. If you notice unpleasant smells emanating from your grease trap, it usually means the gasket is wearing out. You will have to either repair or replace the unit.
Don’t forget to educate any employees or household members about how your grease trap works. Never pour grease directly down the drain; you will need a separate disposal method for it. A grease trap is meant to catch residual grease only, such as that left on plates after they have been scraped clean of food debris.
Can’t You Just Install and Clean Your Own Grease Trap?
Never, ever try to install or clean your own grease trap. There are many ways installing a grease trap can go wrong, and there’s only one way to do it right, which is why you need a pro.
If you put a grease trap in wrong, it can result in backups and major plumbing problems that will cost you greatly in the long run. Not only that, grease and cooking oil are fire hazards. You don’t want to run the risk of starting a kitchen fire by trying a DIY installation or pumping job that should be left to the experts.
Why Should San Diego Plumbing and Pipelining Install Your Grease Trap?
Hopefully, by now you’ve realized that a professional is the only way to go when installing a grease trap in your home or business. San Diego Plumbing and Pipelining should be your first call. We have the experience, reliability, and quick service you need to install grease traps and handle other plumbing jobs, from bathroom repairs to sewer line repair and replacement. We always stand behind our work too, with a stellar warranty.
Don’t let grease, oil, and fats clog your pipes, ruin your plumbing, or back up your septic system. Reach out online or give San Diego Plumbing and Pipelining a call today at 855-269-7473 to schedule your appointment.