Repair Versus Replace: Knowing When to Fix Your Grease Trap

Maintaining a commercial kitchen is undoubtedly one of the most demanding tasks in the food industry. From ensuring the food is cooked correctly to keeping the dining area clean, there are many balls to keep in the air. For instance, you must ensure that all the kitchen equipment is functioning correctly. One area you can’t afford to neglect is your grease trap. If this equipment malfunctions or fails, you could be in for a big mess – and a hefty fine. This blog discusses when to repair your grease trap; and when it’s time for a replacement.


What is a Commercial Grease Trap?

A commercial grease trap is an essential piece of equipment in any commercial kitchen. It is installed between the kitchen and sewer line and is designed to trap FOG (fats, oils, and grease) and other solids before they enter the sewer system. If these substances enter the sewer, they can cause all sorts of problems, from clogs to overflows. Why is it important to service your grease trap regularly and keep it operational? Your kitchen’s grease trap does all of the following:


Preventing Overflows

In a busy kitchen, it’s not uncommon for grease, oils, and fats to build up in the sewer line. Even with an effective food waste management system, some fats, oils, greases, and food solids will inevitably enter your plumbing system. Depending on the volume of these products and the size of your trap, food waste can cause an overflow, leading to a costly cleanup bill. An appropriately sized and serviced grease trap along with proper maintenance of the lines leading to and from intercepts these substances before they can overflow into your kitchen or parking lot. Doing this protects your business from expensive clean-ups and helps you avoid health hazards associated with sewer overflows.


Reducing Clogs

Even with effective maintenance practices, every kitchen manager will likely deal with a clogged sink or floor drain at some point. Usually, this results from a build-up of solids, grease, and oils in the drain line. A clog can bring your kitchen to a standstill as you wait for a plumber to clear the line. Regularly serviced grease traps can keep your kitchen running smoothly and avoid costly downtime.


How Does a Commercial Grease Trap Breakdown?

Like any other kitchen appliance or equipment, your grease trap is susceptible to wear and tear. Over time, it breaks down and may stop functioning as efficiently as it did when new. The problem may result from broken plumbing parts like inlets, outlets, crossovers, sample ports, flow diverters, and clean-out cups.

Any of these plumbing parts could fail and keep your trap from working correctly. Foreign objects like ramekins or straws can cause damage to plumbing parts. Often general wear and tear may cause plumbing components to degrade and break. If the diverters or crossovers break, it may keep your trap from effectively containing FOG and result in a hefty fine from your sewer company.


Corrosion from waste is another common cause of grease trap failure. As FOG breaks down, it releases fatty acids, which can eat through the walls of your grease trap over time. Depending on trap conditions, FOG can break down into sulfuric acid and drastically decrease the pH of the water of your grease trap. If not addressed, expect extensive damage, eventually leading to a breakdown. Regular pumping and maintenance can prevent this kind of degradation before your trap needs to be replaced. We recommend regular service and cleaning for your trap, but sometimes the existing damage to the trap is too extensive. In such a case, the best option would be to replace your grease trap.


When Should You Repair A Grease Trap?

If your grease trap has some minor issues, it’s cheaper and more convenient to repair a grease trap than replace it. For instance, if some plumbing parts are broken or damaged, consider replacing them. Regular service and a grease trap inspection can be vital to discovering issues with your grease trap while there is time to repair the issue. It helps you to identify the problem areas and take the necessary steps to fix them before they cause extensive damage.


For corroded walls, an inspector may recommend the TrapRenew process. The TrapRenew process entails emptying the trap, applying cement to the walls of the trap, and coating it with a layer of pH-resistant resin. The pH-resistant coating helps counteract the impact of fatty acids in the trap. TrapRenew can be a cost-effective solution to prolong the life of an underground trap that has experienced some corrosion but isn’t ready for a total replacement.


When Should You Replace A Grease Trap?

Repairing most grease traps is simple and can be completed in a short period of time. However, replacing the entire trap may be necessary if the damage is too severe. Having your trap inspected can tell you whether your trap is a candidate for repair. If there is structural damage, then it should be replaced. A professional will consider various factors, such as the severity of the damage, the age of your trap and its model, and advise you on your options.


If you need to replace your trap, it’s essential to consider the necessary trap size to serve your operation. There are formulas and worksheets to help guide you through trap size selection. While some kitchens may have a trap that has been grandfathered in, it’s vital that for a new install, any new interceptor meets the model standards set by the local municipal governments designed to improve safety and efficiency.


Get the Best Grease Trap Repair Services in Texas

Grease traps can be an out-of-sight, out-of-mind piece of equipment in a commercial kitchen, but if your grease trap stops functioning correctly, it can be a costly mistake. Over time your grease trap will break down without regular maintenance and need repairs or replacement. If your trap has issues, explore whether it can be repaired before replacing it entirely. Ask yourself the following: Is your grease trap too old? Would repairing it be more expensive than replacing it? Will it make my kitchen run smoother? Once you have answers to these questions, make an informed decision about what’s best for your business.


If you need to repair or replace your trap, we can help. Contact us today, and one of our experts will help you get started.