Clogged sinks and damaged plumbing systems are some of the most common maintenance issues in most commercial kitchens. Plumbing system damage can stall all other kitchen operations, cause a dirty mess, and be hugely inconvenient.
Some of the things you or your employees may pour down the drain or garbage disposal could be causing plumbing system damage. The most discussed things damaging your plumbing system typically fall within three categories: fats, oils, and grease (FOG).
Here is a guide on the effects of FOG on your kitchen’s plumbing system. This guide also contains tips on the proper handling of FOG waste.
Plumbing System Damage & FOG
Fats, oils, and greases (FOG) are an unavoidable byproduct of cooking. They can be sticky and build up in your pipes and plumbing system whenever you wash the dishes or pour food particles into the drain or garbage disposal.
FOG can cause various issues with your plumbing system, including:
- -Slow-moving drains
- -Foul odors
- -Gurgling noises
- -Pipe damage
FOG are not soluble in water and build up along the pipes’ walls over time. They essentially limit the space inside your plumbing system’s pipes, restricting the movement of water and food particles.
Common Sources of FOG
FOG are unavoidable because they are present in most common and popular foods. Fats are common across many food categories, including:
- -Ice cream
- -Nut butter
- -Whipped cream
- -Bacon Fat
Oils are also common throughout the kitchen and include more than just cooking oil:
- -Salad dressing
- -Fish oil
- -Olive oil
Unsurprisingly, some of the most popular foods consumed by patrons feature at least one fat or oil component. We think of burgers, fries, or pizza as being heavy on grease, but forget about the FOG products that may end up down the drain at our favorite coffee shop or salad bar.
In addition to FOG, the best practice is to avoid having any food products or waste go down the drain. We recommend avoiding sending any food down the drain but advise kitchen managers and chefs to pay particular attention to:
- -Coffee grounds
- -Vegetable Peels
Besides food and FOG, we also often see clogs and plumbing damage from:
- -Paper towels
- -Cleaning products
Keeping FOG and some of the items in the lists above out of your drain or garbage disposal entirely is almost impossible. However, you can minimize how many of these FOG and items enter your plumbing system. You can also get rid of them when they build up.
Handling FOG Properly
Keeping your plumbing system entirely free of FOG is practically impossible if you wash dishes. However, they build up as fast as you pour them down the drain. You can limit the amount of FOGs entering your plumbing system by doing the following:
- -Throw fatty, greasy, and oily food particles in the trash instead of the garbage disposal.
- -Wipe used dishes using paper towels before washing them.
- -Save FOG in containers to dispose of in the trash
- -Avoid putting food items down the drain
- -Prevent inanimate items such as straws or napkins from going down drains
Commercial kitchens that prepare fast foods such as fries and burgers deal with excessively high amounts of FOG and getting rid of it can be messy. Fortunately, putting greasy utensils in a refrigerator makes the FOG freeze solid, making them easier and less messy to dispose of before cleaning.
Removing FOG from Your Plumbing System
FOG are unavoidable, making it necessary to regularly clean your plumbing system and service the grease trap. Failure to do this would result in FOG buildup in the plumbing system, causing issues such as clogging and bursting or contamination of the city water system that can lead to a hefty fine.
Let Us Help
Plumbing system damage can bring your commercial kitchen to a halt and cost you time, money, and other valuable resources. Fortunately, we can help you prevent such a scenario by regularly cleaning your plumbing system and grease traps to avoid FOG buildup.