Need to replace your concrete grease trap but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Want to build one yourself but don’t know how to? Well, don’t worry, because in this article we are going to be showing you exactly how to build a concrete grease trap. With the help of this, you will be able to take care of the environment as well as the plumbing in your area while saving a lot of money.
How To Build A Concrete Grease Trap? What Are Its Pros And Cons?
What is a Grease Trap?
A grease trap is a device that collects the wastewater from kitchen sinks and separates the grease and fats from it before letting it flow into the sewers. The reason this process is important is that even though oils and grease might be liquid when you dispose them in your sink or wash them off your dishes, they can later solidify in pipes and cause a blockage. Furthermore, this grease is dangerous to the environment, and so even if it doesn’t cause a blockage in your pipes, it will inevitably flow out into a stream or river and pollute it.
The way a grease trap separates the grease from water is due to its simple design, consisting of a tank with two chambers that hold water and a few pipes that direct it in and out of the tank. Basically, when the wastewater from your sink or dishwasher enters the tank and into the first chamber, all the oils and grease float to the top due to having a lower density than water.
Then, due to the positioning of the pipe in the wall dividing the two chambers, the water from the lower and middle sections of the tank flows into the second chamber. This water is free from all sorts of grease and oils as they have been resting on its surface. And finally, this water is allowed to flow out of the take through an outflow pipe into the public sewer system.
How to Build a Concrete Grease Trap?
To build a concrete grease trap from scratch yourself, first of all, you need to set the dimensions of your trap by deciding how big you want the trap to be. The bigger the trap is, the more volume it will have to hold the waste; therefore its size depends on the amount of wastewater that is produced by your house, restaurant, or apartment building on a daily basis.
Once you have decided on the size of the grease trap, you are going to build the outer casing of the grease trap. For this, you need to build a rectangular box out of concrete, with the base being twice that of its height. Then inside the box, you need to build a baffle wall. This needs to be constructed vertically in a way that it divides the area in the casing into a section with one-third of the total volume and another section with two-thirds of the volume. The larger section is called the primary tank, and the smaller one is called the secondary tank.
While making the casing, you need to make holes on either side of the box for the inlet and outlet pipes and one on the baffle wall for the crossover pipe. You also need to make two large holes on the top of the box for each section that will serve as access doors for the inside of the grease trap for maintenance purposes. When making the holes for the pipe, you need to make sure that you get the dimensions exactly right so that the pipes fit perfectly in them without the water leaking through them.
Once the box is ready, you can move on to fitting the pipes in them. In the baffle wall, fit in the crossover pipe. This can be a single pipe placed in an angled way with one of its ends facing downwards in the primary tank and the other facing upwards in the secondary one. But if you don’t have the appropriate hole for this, then you can use a tee pipe attached from the primary tank’s side. Then connect two straight pipes to the tee pipe, with the top one jutting out of the surface of the water and grease and the bottom one just a bit above the base of the tank.
Next, inside of both of the sections of the tank, attach a tee pipe to the sides where you have made the hole. Then, attach a long tube, going staring down and stopping a little bit above the floor of the tank, to each of the tee pipes. Next, you can attach two more pipes to the outside of the trap through the two tee pipes.
The one connected to the tee pipe inside the primary tank will serve as the inlet pipe, and the one connected to that in the secondary tank will act as the outlet pipe. And now, your grease trap is ready for installation. And for that, all you need to do is connect the pipes carrying the wastewater from the kitchens to the inlet piper and the pipe leading to the sewer to the outlet pipe.
Pros of Concrete Grease Traps
There are various reasons why you should build concrete a grease trap for either domestic or commercial purposes. The first of which is that it is a worthy investment and saves you a lot of money. This is because, with the help of a grease trap, all the grease and fat do not enter your plumbing which prevents the grease from solidifying and blocking one of the pipes. This saves you the frequent call to the plumber to have your pipes unclogged.
Another advantage of having a concrete grease trap is that concrete is much sturdier than many other materials that grease traps can be made out of. Because of this, it is guaranteed to withstand tough use and so, can last for a few decades. Because of this, concrete grease traps also require low maintenance to keep working well.
Concrete is also environmentally safe due to being made from natural materials. And so, even if the grease traps start to deteriorate a little over time, it proves no harm to the environment. Furthermore, as it is safe and non-toxic, the water that it holds does not absorb any sort of toxic materials from it, and therefore safe to let flow back into rivers and streams.
Having a grease trap, in general, is very environmentally friendly. This is because it prevents the toxic fats and grease from passing through the sewage system and into rivers or streams. Also, the grease and oils gathered in your grease traps can be harvested and used as a source of fuel to generate power or can be turned into mulch to fertilize crops.
Cons of Concrete Grease Traps
While concrete grease traps have various great qualities, there are also a few downsides to using one. The first of this is that concrete is porous; therefore, many bacteria from the wastewater in the concrete traps can seep into its walls and start to build up there. And so, over time, a large build-up of bacteria can then cause the walls of the trap to erode.
Another disadvantage of concrete grease traps is that concrete changes shape with temperature, expanding in summers and contracting in winters. This can cause the grease trap to develop cracks and become useless over time. And so, using a concrete grease trap might not be the best option for places with extreme temperatures.
Lastly, concrete grease traps are extremely heavy, especially the larger ones built for commercial use. And so if they get really old and damaged, replacing them would prove to be quite difficult and expensive. This is because the whole process would require heavy machinery and a lot of manual labor.
How often does a concrete grease trap need to be cleaned?
A concrete grease trap needs to be cleaned after every one or two months. Otherwise, the buildup of grease and oils can lead to the formation of various acids that can result in corroding the grease trap. Furthermore, this buildup can also reduce the performance of a grease trap.
How long does a concrete grease trap last?
Concrete grease traps can last around 10 to 30 years under proper care and maintenance, which includes frequent emptying the tanks, routinely cleaning, and so on. Although these concrete grease traps can last a shorter period of time if they are in a place with extreme summers and winters as concrete changes shape with the temperature that can cause it to crack.
Grease traps are extremely important when it comes to protecting the environment as well as your plumbing from harmful grease deposits. And one of the oldest and most common types of grease traps is the concrete ones. This is because they are quite durable and are a great option for commercial areas like apartment buildings where large traps with a lot of capacity are required. And as they are quite expensive, you can save a lot of money if you know how to build a concrete grease trap yourself.