Grease Trap

What Is a Grease Trap and How Often Should It Be Cleaned?

Grease trap intercept the oils and fats in your kitchen sink, allowing the water to flow into the municipal lines without any fat-based debris. Grease traps are a defense against plumbing problems like clogs and backflows, safeguarding your home against potential wastewater buildup. Here is more information on grease traps to help you manage your home’s waste and when to hire professional plumbers to clean them:

How Grease Traps Work

Plumbing systems usually have a tank located beneath the kitchen sink. The heavy grease content rises to the surface when the wastewater from dishwashing or cooking pans flows into this tank. The trap slowly cools the water. This lets grease solidify before the cleaner water flows through the outlet pipes and into the main sewage system. The grease, now trapped on the surface, awaits its periodic cleaning to prevent blockages in the system.

Factors That Influence Cleaning Frequency

The volume of wastewater your kitchen produces, the size of the grease trap, and the type of food you cook with all influence the cleaning frequency. A bustling commercial kitchen with heavy fat, oil, and grease output will require more frequent cleanings than a residential kitchen. Here are a few other factors that influence cleaning frequency:

Size of the Grease Trap

Smaller grease traps fill up more quickly because they cannot hold as much buildup. If your home uses a smaller trap, you may need to clean it more frequently, potentially every few weeks or monthly, to prevent overflow and blockages. Larger traps can accommodate more waste. This can allow longer intervals between cleanings, sometimes extending to several months. Assessing your grease trap’s size and capacity is the first step in establishing a suitable cleaning timetable.

Volume of Wastewater Carrying Grease

The amount of wastewater carrying grease that flows through your grease trap affects how quickly it fills up. Households with high water usage will see their traps fill up much faster. Frequent cooking, baking, and dishwashing can increase the volume of buildup entering the trap. This may necessitate more regular cleanings to enhance efficiency and prevent backups. Monitoring the volume of greasy wastewater your household produces can help you adjust your maintenance schedule accordingly.

Type of Household Activities 

Households that cook often, especially those preparing greasy or oily foods, will introduce more buildup into the system. Homes that host large gatherings or parties may see a temporary spike in grease levels due to increased cooking and dishwashing. Understand the nature of your household activities and how they contribute to grease trap accumulation. If your cooking habits change or you host guests frequently, you might need to clean the grease trap more often.

Grease Trap Maintenance Tips  

Here are maintenance tips that will simplify grease trap cleaning:

Properly Dispose of Fluid Buildup

Be mindful of how you dispose of cooking oil and food scraps. Instead of washing them down the sink, collect them in a container for proper disposal or recycling. This simple habit can reduce the strain on your grease trap and decrease the frequency of cleanings needed.

Use Correct Cleaning Techniques

Remove the lid from the grease trap carefully to avoid damaging seals or gaskets. Use a scraper to remove the layer of grease and oil and deposit it into a bucket for disposal. After removing the solids, you can use a shop vacuum to suction out any remaining liquids. Clean the interior surfaces of the trap with soap and water to remove any residual grease. Hire professional plumbers to inspect and clean the inlet and outlet pipes for an unobstructed flow.

Hire Professional Plumbers for Grease Trap Issues

While many smaller grease traps can be cleaned by individuals, larger systems or heavily used traps might require professional cleaning services by plumbers. Call a reputable plumber in your area if you encounter problems during the cleaning process. They have the expertise and equipment to handle the job efficiently and can provide valuable advice on maintaining your system.