Clogged Grease Trap
We can help you to unclog a clogged grease trap. Let’s give some basic information first: What is a grease trap? The first thing that comes to mind once hearing the words ”grease trap”, is like its name says: ”trap for grease”. But what it is exactly and for what purpose? It is basically a device, which captures the grease. So, where the grease would be coming from? Every time, when you are using your sink to wash anything, it may contain fat even though you have removed as much as possible before you put it for washing. All the fat, together with pieces of food, will build up slowly and it may block your sewers. Once this happens you will be having a serious problem with your drainage. The grease trap collects all the unwanted grease, or the most amount of it, that will go down the drains, in order to prevent unwanted issues with your sewer system. You may think that the water with all the fat will go down the drains without a problem. But have you ever thought of the route, the grease follows in order to go down the sewers? It has to go outside of your property before going the sewers. You may be using all the time hot water in the sink to wash the pots, in order for the grease to be removed, but the hot water can’t be maintained for a long time in order for all the fat to be gone down the sewers. The water is getting cooled off, during the journey. Even if it is a short one, the temperature outside the house, where the central sewers are located, may be low and sometimes under zero. This will cause the fat to cool off, with a result to get solidified, combined with pieces of leftovers, and slowly to build up upon the inner walls of the pipes, with the result to get blocked eventually.
So how does it work exactly? Every grease trap is designed in the same way. Imagine a small water container. The water from the sink, once leaving the drains in the house enters the container. In the container, all the stuff that has entered the drain are being separated. The grease goes on the top of the water because is lighter than the water and it can float. At the same time, the small pieces of food go in the bottom of the container, because they are solid stuff, who are usually heavier than the water. In the middle of the water’s level container is also a pipe located that takes the water after separation of the unwanted stuff, and leads it down the sewer. The water is safe for the sewers, because it contains no grease or pieces of food, who they can block them permanently. This method is over 200 years and is still useful in our days.
Do you need a grease trap at home? Most individual houses they do not have a grease trap. The water journey is short before going down the sewers, as well as the amount of dirty pots is being produced is not that big that will cause you a problem. You will have a much sooner problem with the drains in the kitchen than the sewer pipes. However, places where is a large amount of fat and food going down the drains, like restaurants and hotels, they must have grease traps. Of course, the capacity of the grease trap used in gastronomic places is much larger, so it will be able to hold more stuff inside of it, and will not often cause problems of being clogged, in the case of forgetting to maintain.
How will you find out if you do have already? It can be located under the sink which is very common to houses. Right under the sink, you may see a small plastic container, where one pipe that goes down the drain is attached to it. Or it can be visible with the eye, right outside the house usually and covered with a lid. Usually they have a much larger capacity and they are called grease interceptors. There are cases that it is not easy to locate the grease trap. So when you cannot find it, the best thing to do is to have a look at the sewer plans of the property. The plan contains every pipe and appliance that has been installed in the property, with every detail of position and location inside the ground. If one grease trap indeed exists in your property, must be included in the plan.
My grease trap is clogged:
How do you know if your grease trap is clogged? Well, in this case, you have a serious problem with the water drainage in your sink. When the grease trap gets filled up, you will notice that the water gets drained slower than before. You cannot ignore the issue, thinking that since is getting drained, it is fine so it can stay like that and you are not bothered. That would be a fairytale if was true. It will get clogged completely at some point. Once it will get clogged completely, you will be not able to pour any water down the sink, because it will be not drained. When this will happen you will have no other option apart from getting the grease trap fixed.
The time that one grease trap requires to get filled up, is depending on different reasons. One of the main things that can cause your grease trap to get clogged, is the amount of stuff that has been poured down the drains. A good tip before washing the pots in order to prevent the grease trap to get clogged is to try to remove as much amount of leftover and grease from your pots and straight to the bin as you can. With this method, you will be able to minimize the stuff that will be poured down the drains, so you will extend the life of your grease trap. Another factor regarding how fast the grease trap will be clogged is the capacity of it. A grease trap with larger capacity will help you once you have identified the problem giving you more time to get it sorted.
How to clean and fix a clogged grease trap:
What is the first thing that comes to mind when the water in the sink is not being drained? You have an issue with the drains. In order to do it fast and easy is using a blower. By pressing it and lifting should unclog the drains, but if you have a grease trap and the grease trap is getting filled up, you must remember that the unclogging will be only temporary. The layer of fat on the top of the water, as well as the layer of leftovers piled up in the bottom of the grease trap, will mix up helping the water to exit from there. But, once they will be settled again you will be having the same problem as before. Pretty pointless, right?
So, now you know that the problem is coming from the grease trap. It is filled up needs cleaning. You think if you are able to do it yourself, or call a professional to do it. Before you get excited and try to do it yourself, you must be prepared with what is coming. Just imagine in all those previous months, sometimes years, all the things that have been poured down the drains from the sink. The oil you used to fry chicken, the pasta sauce you ate last week and everything else that has been poured down the drain, waiting in the grease trap to be removed. Are you prepared to do it yourself or you are just getting sick just by thinking of it? The appearance will be not so bad since most of them have been dissolved and turned black, but the worst part will be the odours.
So, you are brave enough and you want to give it a go by yourself. The first thing to do is to locate the grease trap. Once you have located the grease trap, it is time to get to work. If the grease tap is located in the house under the kitchen sink, it will be much faster and easier than the ones outside of the building. Since the grease trap is clogged, it may be excess water in the sink. Wait for a while until the water will be gone, if you are lucky and it can still flow even slowly. If the water doesn’t drain at all, make sure you don’t use the sink at the time and try to remove as much water from the sink as you can, before you take further actions. You are going to need an empty bowl to place it under the grease trap. Make sure is big enough, so it the capacity of the water that is contained in the grease trap and left in the drains, will not fill up the bowl, so your kitchen will overflow with all those stuff inside the grease trap. It is enough to try to clean them once, so you do not want be collecting them after from around the floor.
As soon as you will have everything set, unscrew the pipe connection to the side of it, by twisting reverse-clockwise. Once it is loose, pull it so it will separate from the grease trap. Unscrew then by twisting reverse-clockwise the grease trap. You may need to hold your breath when doing that because the odours will be horrible for a moment. You need you to be also careful with the water that will come out, depending on how much is left in the pipes above. Empty the grease trap in the bowl and wipe it off with a kitchen paper cloth. Take it and wash it off properly with hot water so will be no grease left inside. A good thing to do is to try to clean as much as you can the pipes that are being attached to the grease trap before reassembling it. Before putting the grease trap back on, apply slightly some Teflon tape on the connections, so you will prevent possible leaks after being reassembled. Once everything is back together and you have tested it if the drains are no more clogged, you should put some sanitizer down the drain. Make sure that all the water and the bins (fat and food) that you have collected in the bowl you don’t pour it in the drains, but in a heavy duty bin bag, tie it tight so it doesn’t leak and throw it in the general waste bin.
Clearing a clogged grease trap:
There are cases when you have a grease trap at home which is located outdoors. It may be under the ground, so it will be harder to locate it. If you have no idea where the grease trap might be, have a look around to see if there is anything looking like a metal lid, which you can lift it and have a look inside. If you are unable to locate it, then look for the house sewer plan. It needs to be there if exists, so you will be able to pinpoint its exact location. Once you have found it, have a look inside how to get an idea of the situation. Since you are having a drainage problem which is caused by the grease trap, the sight you will see will be definitely not pleasant.
So right now you have in front of you a water tank filled up with grease and leftovers from the sink. If you are able to handle the odours and they will not make you sick, you can try to do it yourself. Take a bin container and put a heavy duty bin bag in it. Take a small bucket and fill it up with as much water as you can and empty it in the bin. In case you have a vacuum cleaner, which is able to absorb water, your life will be much easier. You will be able to clear the grease trap faster and more effectively. But remember after finishing the job you need to clean the vacuum cleaner’s pipes very well because they will be sticky and smelly.
If you do not have a vacuum cleaner available, you can collect all the rubbish from the bottom by using a dustpan. Once the tank is emptied, take a sponge, hot water and a good degreaser so you can wash inside the container properly. Once has been washed wipe all the dirt that came off and fill it with fresh water. It is not a good idea to fill it up just by turning on the tap. The grease trap will be not able to hold the dirty stuff that may have stayed in the drains. Once the job has been finished make sure you tie the heavy duty bag very tight, so it will not leak. Good thing to do use a second heavy duty bag, so all the dirty stuff will be better sealed inside.
In order to maintain the grease trap and make sure that you will have no clogging issues you need to have a look at it every once in a while. Also, to prevent the grease trap from getting filled up fast, try to pour down the drains as less oil and food scraps as possible. Before you put the dirty pots in the sink, the best thing to do is wipe off the plates and the pans with a paper towel. With this method, you will be able to minimize the food and grease that will go down the drain and stay in the grease trap.
There are situations where inside the grease trap all the fat has been solidified, due to the cold weather outside. In this case, you better call a professional to come to have a look. It would be very hard for you to empty all this up just by yourself. You will need quite a lot of hot water to be poured inside also, so this may be a hard challenge for you. A professional on the other he will be able to sort it out much easier. Do you have something that bothers you with your clogged grease trap? Contact us and we will be glad of assistance to you.
Clogged grease interceptor:
What is really the difference between a grease trap and a grease trap interceptor? One person calls it grease trap, the other grease interceptor, but what it is really? Most of the people they will say that is the same thing, making no difference. But is there really any difference? The way they both work is exactly the same. However, a grease trap is usually located in the kitchen and above the ground, while a grease interceptor is outside the building and below the ground. Another difference is the capacity of each one. A grease trap’s capacity can be till maximum 200 litres, while the capacity of a grease interceptor is over 200 litres. So a grease interceptor is definitely something that restaurants and hotels are using because they have much more waste going down the drains.
If you are a gastronomic establishment owner, you know already how many problems can be caused by blocked drains, especially if your grease interceptor has not been serviced recently with the result to be clogged.
The most important in a professional kitchen’s health and safety is to have the kitchen as clean as possible. But how are you going to do that if you cannot wash anything because the grease interceptor has been blocked? You are going to have to shut down for public service until you will have the problem fixed. That will cause a serious financial issue and probably will give you a bad reputation if a word of it would go out. Even if you know the consequences, you risk it and you keep on serving the public without a proper sink? A health inspector will be not happy at all about it and he will make the things even nastier. So, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
A clogged grease interceptor because of its large capacity, is not something that you may be able to fix it yourself. What needs to be done is to be opened, emptied from water and all the grease from inside and the food waste to be removed. Sounds pretty simple and easy to you? All right then, how are you supposed to empty all the water from the tank? You can remove the fat that has been collected on the top quite easily. For the water, you will need a water pump in order to empty it, and for the final probably a shovel may help you to clean the bottom. Do you have the time and the stomach to do it?
The best thing is to call a professional. Try to find a plumber as soon as possible. A plumber should be able to have the right tools in order to fix it for you very quickly and effectively. He owns powerful water pumps, who will very fast empty the water tanks. He may need to use as well a drain snake, which has high-pressure water feed and will completely unclog your grease interceptor and possible clogged pipes. He will give you a full diagnosis also for the situation the pipes are at the time. On top of that, he will let you know how often you should have your grease interceptor cleaned in order to prevent future clogging problems. Once he is finished and the container is ready to be filled up with fresh water, is a good thing to add sanitizer in the water. The sanitizer will kill the possible bacteria that may still exist on the walls and the bottom of the container. After all, it is not just for you and the people who are working for you, but most important for the people who are eating the food you are serving them. If you have any further questions regarding your grease interceptor, contact us, and we will be happy to help you.
Has this article helped you with your clogged grease trap/interceptor? If you have any further questions, don’t be shy! We are here to help you, so we will be glad to hear from you.