Grease Trap Trouble 101: When To Clean It Out

The grease trap in your cafe's kitchen is a vital part of the plumbing system, as it prevents food and grease from reaching the sewer system. Unfortunately, it isn't the sort of thing that you can neglect. Like a septic tank, it requires routine maintenance to ensure that it is functioning correctly. Since a malfunctioning grease trap can lead to a failed food safety inspection, it is important to know when the trap needs cleaning.

It's Been More Than A Few Months

Ideally, you should have your grease trap cleaned every one to three months. The busier your kitchen is, the more frequently it should be cleaned. And that doesn't mean you should clean it yourself. In fact, it is essential that you have the grease trap cleaned professionally to ensure that it is done properly.

There's An Unidentifiable Odor

The grease from your commercial kitchen contains food particles and bacteria that, as it accumulates in the grease trap and sits over time, can start to turn rancid. The bacteria will multiply over time, feeding off the particles in the grease. When that happens, it will develop a foul odor, much like food does when it spoils. The longer the grease sits in the trap, the worse the smell will get.

Plumbing Problems Plague Your Building

The grease trap is a vital part of your building's plumbing flow. As long as it stays clear, everything will flow precisely as it is intended. However, when your grease trap is full and in need of cleaning, that's when your plumbing becomes backed up and slow-flowing.

This usually starts with slow draining in your sinks. You might notice it during service, or even after service when you are cleaning up afterward. If the sinks aren't emptying as quickly as they normally do, that's a sign that there's something bottle-necking the process.

If you don't clean the grease trap out at this point, that's when you'll start to see the plumbing issue affect all of the other drains in the building, including the dishwasher. When the water won't flow out of your facility's kitchen the way it should, that's a key warning sign that your grease trap may be clogging up the works.

When you see any of these signs, it's important that you have your grease traps cleaned right away. Work with a commercial grease trap pumping service to schedule your emergency pump-out as well as your periodic cleanings to maintain the system.