Grease traps are an important part of big restaurants, and their success highly depends on their cleaning and maintenance. You only get a business license in many states when you have installed this system in your kitchen. The maintenance and cleaning of this equipment are very critical as it’s a serious investment.
These systems keep your space smell fresh and run your sewer lines smoothly. A little mismanagement in this system can lead to huge economic loss. If you want your equipment to last for a long time and run your system flawlessly, it’s recommended to take good care of it.
A proper cleaning and management system can help you get the best out of a grease trap.
This guide will explain a few tips and techniques of grease trap cleaning and maintenance.
Grease Trap Cleaning and Maintainance
Proper installation of grease tarp is vital for the success of the whole system. You need to ensure that the system you purchased is of the right size and the location you choose is proper. Commercial grease traps are either usually located outside the main building or the building’s basement.
If you are on a small setup, it could be located right under your kitchen sink area. Make sure that it fits perfectly in this space, and a grease trap is installed first, followed by the garbage disposal.
Stainers are another important part of the whole system. If you have installed stainers all-around in your kitchen, they will protect your system from clogging.
They will prevent the solid pieces of food from falling into the system. Another important point is that no grease should go down the drain. If you let it go down the drain, it will clog the whole system, leading to damage.
See if it is Working?
After a few days of installation, it should start trapping the grease. It means there must be a build-up on the trap. If there is no build-up, it means something is going wrong, and a tarp is not working properly.
You need to check if there is any leakage. If some of its parts are not connected properly, it will lead to leakage. It could damage your whole system if you don’t take care of this matter at the right time.
When to Clean?
Proper maintenance is essential for the proper functioning of the whole system. Schedule cleaning is another critical part of the whole process. It is crucial to regularly monitor grease traps to see if they need cleaning or not. Usually, people go for cleaning when it is filled to the top, which is not recommended.
Ideally, it would be best if you cleaned the tarp when it is filled two-third. A completely filled grease trap would start smelling, and it is pretty hard to clean those tarps. It is recommended to make a cleaning schedule.
Within the first few weeks, you can know how many days the grease tanks are filled up to two-third. It would help you create a plan for the cleaning. However, it is advised to monitor the situation to overcome unusual problems and issues regularly.
How to Clean Commercial Grease Traps?
Commercial Grease tanks are pretty complex structures, and they have never been easy to clean. Moreover, the whole system’s reliability and stability largely depend on how and when you clean these grease traps. Here are some dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind if you want the best results.
- Do not rely on unprofessional cleaning services. For instance, many business owners try to use their own staff and tools for this purpose. But this can be very messy and a time taking process. Plus, there are huge chances of machinery damage if you hire unprofessional staff for this job.
- Many companies are offering their services, but you will have to choose the best one. The best practice is to check the other restaurants’ recommendations and reviews. Plus, budget is another important factor you must take into account when selecting a cleaning service. Try to find a professional service that fits your budget, but never compromise on the quality of services they provide. Otherwise, you will have to pay extra money in terms of plenty, fines, and repair costs.
- Do not use enzymes and solvents as a cleaning remedy. These chemicals can break down the FOG, but they cannot dispose of them properly. Some of these chemicals do not properly break down the FOG and instead help them partially dissolve them in water. In this way, they flow through the main sewer lines and eventually block them. Plus, these chemicals are dangerous for aquatic life also.
Following are the steps involved in the cleaning process of the grease traps.
- Before starting the process, make sure the water inside the tank is cooled down. At that time, the fats will be flowing on the top, and you can easily separate them out from the water.
- The first practical step is to detach the lid from the equipment. You will need a wrench or any compatible equipment. Be careful in this step, as there are delicate parts of the equipment right under the lid and can be damaged if not handled properly.
- Measure the thickness of the grease layer using a ruler. It is an important step, as EPA and other government agencies will require this record.
- Then remove the grease and fats floating on the water surface. You can either use a shop vacuum for this purpose or a manual scooper.
- Remove the remaining solid waste and wastewater from the tank using heavy-duty scoopers and buckets.
- The next step is scrapping. This is an important process as 10% grease and solid waste sticks to the bottom and sides.
- It is recommended to use top-quality scrap, lukewarm water, and gentle soap. Carefully remove all the grease and solid particles from interceptors, baffles, lid, and sides of the tank. The soap and warm water will help you get rid of the rotting and bad smell.
- Now, it’s time to check whether you are done with the job or not. Flow a gallon of clean water down the sink and see if it is flowing properly or not. If not, it means there is any obstruction, and the system is not cleaned properly. It could be any problem with the plumbing lines, and you may need to call a professional plumbing service.
- Once you are all done with the process, carefully put all the parts back into the equipment.
- The final step is to dispose of the waste. Wait until the mixture of FOG, solid food particles, and water completely solidifies. Put all the waste in trash bags, according to the environmental and safety guidelines provided by the EPA.
How often does a grease trap need to be cleaned?
It depends upon the amount of grease a restaurant produces and the storage tank’s capacity. On average, grease tarp’s capacity reaches ¾ in two to three months. It is advised to regularly monitor your grease traps and make a cleaning schedule accordingly.
How does a grease trap work?
Fats and oils being less dense than water, do not mix with water and float on top. Grease traps consist of baffles that trap fats and oils and don’t let them go into the sewer lines. These traps have a separate storage capacity that fills up with time and needs to be cleaned regularly. Here is complete details on How Does a Grease Trap Work? Manual vs. Automatic Grease Traps.
Why grease trap is required?
A grease trap is essential for any food business, as it prevents the oil and fats build up from flowing into the sewer lines. These fats and oils can lead to huge sewer lines blockage, if not trapped and disposed of at the initial trap.
What is fog in grease trap?
FOG means Fats, Oils, and Grease. This is an abbreviated term collectively used for the insoluble hazardous waste produced by restaurants and food businesses.
Should a dishwasher be connected to a grease interceptor?
Yes, it is highly recommended to connect the dishwasher with a grease trap directly. However, grease traps should not be installed very close to the dishwasher because a high flow rate and temperature can prevent proper separation and trapping of FOG and the initial stages.