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The grease trap in your restaurant or commercial kitchen plays a vital role in your facility and municipality. While each model may vary in size or design, they all serve the same purpose: to help keep fats, oils, and greases (FOG) out of the wastewater system. If you suspect an issue with your grease trap, you have many options. However, avoid using chemicals. Here, SeQuential discusses why bleach and other drain cleaners should not be used to clear clogs and why professional grease trap cleaning services are essential.

Common Grease Trap Problems

Because grease traps filter FOG, which is prone to hardening in pipes, regular maintenance is key. Taking the time to notice when there’s a possible malfunction and properly caring for your system helps with the performance and longevity of your equipment. Common grease trap issues to watch for include:

  • Clogged pipes
  • Slow drainage
  • Backups and overflows

Foul odors are a common indication that an issue is present. This is typically a sign of decomposing food waste and oils. Bad smells – and even a small amount of heat – are produced as the content breaks down or spoils and is eaten by bacteria. If your nose is telling you that something’s wrong, it’s usually a sign the trap needs to be cleaned.

If your indoor or outdoor grease trap is overflowing or your facility is experiencing draining issues, you have a different problem. This typically indicates there is food or FOG buildup and your system needs to be unclogged. Also, if your system needs more servicing than usual, this could be a sign of a blockage in the system.

Grease Trap Maintenance: What Not to Do

When you suspect a grease trap is clogged, it may feel natural to reach for a bottle of bleach and other drain cleaners to remedy the issue. For many people, a DIY fix may feel like the less costly option. However, this is often when many restaurant owners and facility managers make a mistake when conducting routine and emergency grease trap maintenance.

It’s important to never add bleach, emulsifiers, enzymes, or any other chemicals to your grease trap. They could negatively affect the naturally occurring bacteria that break up FOG and pose an environmental risk. Plus, you may be doing more harm than good if your system isn’t equipped to withstand caustic chemicals and solvents. Using bleach and harsh drain cleaners can shorten the lifespan of your grease trap, which means bigger problems down the road that can lead to costly repairs and replacements.

Professional Grease Trap Cleaning Is Essential

If you notice an issue with your plumbing system or grease trap, the first step is to call a professional plumber. Overflowing grease traps could mean an issue with your pipes or the result of unchecked FOG buildup due to waiting too long between cleanings. Another thing you can do is sign up for grease trap services. Some of the benefits of working with a grease trap servicing company include:

  • Repair savings: Scheduling regular grease trap care is a big step toward preventing overflows and expensive plumbing bills.
  • Fewer odors: Maintaining a clean system helps reduce unpleasant odors that may adversely impact restaurant employees and patrons.
  • Less downtime: With regular attention from a professional, you can reduce the risk of unnecessary repairs that hinder productivity.

Cleaning frequency depends on how big your grease trap is and how often your kitchen uses grease. Some establishments need their grease traps cleaned every month, while others only require quarterly service. Experienced professionals, like the team at SeQuential, can determine the ideal schedule for you. They can also help your establishment become more environmentally conscious by recycling your used cooking oil.

Contact SeQuential for Grease Trap Service

Located on the West Coast, SeQuential works with food establishments and commercial kitchens across the country. Our team collects used cooking oil and ensures grease traps are free of FOG and meet municipal requirements. Our parent company, Neste, then takes the used cooking oil we’ve collected and turns it into renewable diesel. Contact us today for more information about grease trap cleaning and used cooking oil recycling.

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