How a Grease Trap Works

Written by megan smith
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How a Grease Trap Works

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What Is a Grease Trap?

A grease trap, or grease interceptor, is a plumbing feature designed to prevent grease and other solid materials from entering a septic system. If grease enters the sewers, it will congeal, forming a solid mass. These solid masses cause backups, clogs and burst pipes. Grease traps are usually used in restaurants and other facilities where a lot of grease is used, and has the capacity to go down the drain. To prevent the grease from going down the drain in these facilities, a grease trap is installed. All commercial kitchen areas in the United States are, by law, expected to have grease traps installed to collect the grease before it enters the sanitary system.

How Does a Grease Trap Work?

A grease trap works by capturing absolutely everything that goes through the drain, including water, grease, and other solid and liquid matter. A grease trap has two separation basins. The first basin fills with all the matter that is drained from the sink. There, the matter is cooled. When grease is cooled, it congeals, becoming a solid. Both the solid matter and the congealed grease float to the top, leaving the liquid at the bottom of the first basin. Towards the bottom of the first basin is a tube that allows all liquid matter to flow into the second basin. The second basin is used to trap any additional grease that may have got through the first basin, so the same process is repeated. The grease trap needs to be cleaned in order to work properly, and it is possible for the grease trap to become too full to function.

Warnings About Grease Traps

If a grease trap has not been cleaned out properly, clogs may be possible. It is possible to have clogs in the ingoing line, outgoing line, and the crossover pipe, but these are not all due to the grease trap being full. If your grease trap is leaking or overflowing, contact your grease trap manufacturer immediately, and they will send out a pump truck to empty the grease trap and test for malfunctions. If you are experiencing any other problems with your grease trap, contact the manufacturer or hire a grease pump truck to come to your location and empty your grease trap.

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