Restaurants, hotels, and other facilities that handle food must use grease traps in order to protect their plumbing from possible blockage due to the accumulation of food and grease byproducts. In addition, many jurisdictions have regulations that require the installation of grease traps to protect local sewage systems.
What Does a Grease Trap Do?
When handling food products, a large amount of fats, oils or grease (FOG) can be introduced into the facility’s waste. If allowed to enter the sewage pipes, FOG can become a solidified mass, sticking to the walls of the pipe. Eventually, this can plug the pipes, leading to sewage backups and requiring expensive repairs. In some extreme cases, a FOG buildup might actually require the replacement of the impacted piping.
A grease trap removes and stores the FOG before it enters the piping system, eliminating the danger of a blockage. However, because the trap will fill up relatively quickly, a grease trap service needs to pump it out on a regular basis. In addition, regular grease trap maintenance is required in order to ensure that the trap continues to function properly at all times.
In addition, regular grease trap pumping is important in those regions where occupational health and safety services may conduct regular inspections in order to ensure that the trap is properly functioning. A regular pumping schedule can also ensure that the trap will not be overloaded, thus avoiding the cost from needing to call for a grease trap repair service.
Signs that a Grease Trap Needs Repair
While regular maintenance can usually keep a grease trap functioning, sometimes there will be unexpected issues that can lead to the trap malfunctioning. Perhaps the most common cause is the introduction of materials like towels, plastics, or large chunks of waste food into the drains.
A Strong Odor
If a grease trap is malfunctioning or full, the FOG within it will start to decay and produce a strong, foul odor. In fact, this is one of the first signs that grease trap maintenance should be conducted. In addition, this can also indicate a build-up of FOG in the rest of the piping system.
If a grease trap has not been operating for some time, the FOG will quickly accumulate in the pipes, gradually clogging them. One of the first signs of this process is slower than normal drainage of sinks and toilets. If a facility is suffering from poor drainage, it is imperative to get the grease trap inspected by a qualified grease trap service as soon as possible, before the sewage pipes are completely blocked.
Ultimately, regular inspections and cleaning can ensure that a grease trap, whether it is used by a large hotel or small diner, keeps functioning at all times.