People do not often think about where their food grease goes when they eat in restaurants or in other people’s homes. This is the purpose of the lowly grease trap, which acts to catch and dispose of food grease. We discuss what a grease trap is, how it functions, and ways to keep yours properly maintained.
What Is A Grease Trap?
A grease trap is a device that is installed between the sink and the sewer line. The grease trap essentially “traps” grease before it has a chance to enter the sewer system. There are a few different types of grease traps, but they all work in essentially the same way.
These devices are designed to capture fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from leaving a cooking facility and entering a sewage system.
Why Grease Traps Are Important
Slimy FOG chemicals are mostly byproducts of cooking that seep out of meats and dairy products, and they are caught and retained in place by design. The concept is that wastewater runs from the sink, wash area, and cleaning table drains into tanks that are particularly intended to collect garbage that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet. Solids sink in a grease trap, while oils, fats, and grease, which are typically lighter than water, float to the top and are arrested, preventing them from flowing out with the wastewater outflow.
Ask anybody in the municipal wastewater treatment business: interruption of the “digestive” process of water treatment facilities is one of the most serious environmental issues greases can create, apart from plugging pipes. Bacterial processes break down and clean sewage, however, FOGs may kill these bacteria, generating a slew of issues. Trapping grease long before it gets to a wastewater treatment facility is what grease traps are good at.
Grease Trap Sizes
There is a process of determining the size of a grease trap. The size determines how much room the trap has to fit into a space and also what kind of grease will it be able to catch. This depends on the size of the sink, the height and depth of the countertop, and accessibility.
Sizing is crucial. Check with local authorities for size requirements before installing an interceptor or grease trap. They may vary depending on where you are.
Grease Interceptor Or Grease Trap?
A grease interceptor is similar to a grease trap in that it collects grease but on a much greater size. They’re really rather simple gadgets, with the same basic design dating back to the 1880s.
The distinction between a grease trap and a grease interceptor is defined by flow rate. A grease trap is designed for flow rates of less than 50 gallons per minute. A bigger-scale “grease interceptor” is required for larger activities, such as a chicken processing factory.
Grease interceptors have a high inlet/outlet, a directed flow plate, a vertical baffle, and a flow control mechanism, all of which are important for optimal grease separation.
Grease interceptors are usually much larger than grease traps and are installed outside of the building or underground. However, in some instances, these terms are interchangeable.
Grease Trap Design
Grease traps are designed to trap grease and oil from a facility, but the fact that they can be easily clogged with trash makes them limited in their effectiveness. In order to make grease traps effective again, some companies have engineered an electric motor for their traps.
High inlet/outlet configurations reduce inlet line clogging, which is prevalent in systems with a lower inlet. This clogging, like that of the wastewater pipe system, may cause a system blockage or backup, as well as a decrease in separation % (grease to water) which is undesirable for municipal wastewater systems.
Vertical baffle plates break the flow immediately, driving fluids to the bottom of the separation chamber, where they are met by the direction flow plate and the separation process begins. The oil is removed by removing the cover and skimming off the top, and the newly separated water is returned to the main water system.
Flow controls are critical to a grease interceptor’s correct operation since they’re built to perform under certain flow conditions.
Variables That Influence Grease Trap Performance
If the incoming velocity/flow exceeds the acceptable velocity (with a flow rate of 55 GPM), further flow control devices may be required. An entering flow with a high velocity causes greater turbulence, which decreases the system’s efficiency and lengthens the separation time.
The size of the grease trap or interceptor will need to be increased:
- The entering grease-to-water ratio rises. The separation procedure will not operate if the grease-to-water ratio is too high.
- Detergents (soap/cleaning products, etc.) may be present in the system. Detergents break down grease into tiny particles that do not separate correctly and may pass past a grease interceptor, contaminating the flow of water into municipal treatment systems.
The flow route and separation time are both enhanced when the size of an interceptor unit is raised, enabling the system to collect the particles more efficiently.
Install a solids interceptor in series (before the grease interceptor):
- Solid particles are present in the system (such as food). Grease floats to the top because it has lower specific gravity than water. When a solid is inserted (such as a French fry), it sinks to the bottom and may travel through the system over time. This French fry, as well as any other solids, will be intercepted by a solids interceptor prior to the grease intercepting process and will not be in danger of re-entering the city’s drainage system.
Grease Trap Installation
The installation of a grease trap or interceptor is equally crucial to the system’s overall function. First and foremost, owing to the cooling and solidification potential of grease over longer plumbing lines, the position of a grease trap or interceptor should be as near to the source of grease as feasible.
Prior to deciding on an installation position, make sure to account for the clearance required to permit any connecting pipework as well as enough area to take off the lid for cleaning.
Important Factors For Grease Traps
Solid debris cannot be handled by grease traps or interceptors. A solids interceptor must be used in combination with the grease interceptor in any application where solids are present, such as all sinks with trash disposals. The presence of solids greatly limits the efficiency of a grease interceptor due to the nature of greases, which have a natural affinity to solid particles. This may lead to a variety of issues, ranging from unpleasant aromas generated by particles decaying to pipe blockage or even the clogging of the grease interceptor.
It’s critical to ensure that all plumbing is positioned below the frost level if an interceptor is located outdoors, which is a usual practice. A single or series of extensions is typical in these applications, enabling the interceptor to be buried low enough to prevent freezing.
Because correct flow through a grease interceptor is critical to its performance, it’s essential to control incoming velocities to ensure adequate separation.
An integrated orifice (opening) is usually included in a flow control device to ensure that an interceptor has the best flow rate and air intake.
Grease Trap Cleaning And Maintenance
The capacity of a trap or interceptor (measured in pounds of grease that may be caught inside it) and the quantity of incoming grease define the cleaning frequency of a grease trap or interceptor system.
As a result, oil cleanup periods might range from once a week to several weeks. Regular cleaning is required to preserve system performance and efficiency after the appropriate cleaning schedule has been set based on the unit’s individual use and size.
The grease trap or interceptor should be properly examined for any clogs or obstructions in the inlet, outlet, and air relief after the accumulation of grease and waste material has been removed.
During the grease removal and cleaning procedure, the following stages should be followed:
- Remove any fasteners that were used to secure the cover by loosening and removing them.
- Take off the lid.
- Remove any oil.
- Remove any residual hardened oil in the unit using a scoop or shovel if necessary.
- Remove the sediment bucket if one is present; empty and carefully clean it.
- Hose down and wipe off the interior of the body using a clean water supply.
- Examine the integrity of the gasket that seals the lid (replace if needed)
- Replace the lid and secure the hardware.
If you have a semi-automatic interceptor, follow these cleaning instructions:
- Run a full stream of clean hot water (140°F min) through the interceptor for at least 2 minutes with the exit valve open.
- Allow 3 minutes for the device to cool down.
- Close the valve on the interceptor’s outflow side.
- Remove the cap from the top of the interceptor and connect the draw-off hose to the waste receptacle; position the hose to drain into the waste receptacle.
- Flow 1.5 to 2.5 GPM of hot water through the interceptor.
- Force the liquified oil out via the top draw-off hose after it’s been full.
- The interceptor is clean when clear water starts to flow through the draw-off hose.
- Replace the pipe cap after disconnecting the draw-off hose.
- Your interceptor is now ready for regular usage after reopening the output valve.
If you are installing a new kitchen sink or grease trap, consider taking photos right after they are in place. Find out the reasons why in 3 Reasons to Take Photos of Your New Plumbing Installations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is under the sink grease trap?
A: A grate or pipe will be present that diverts dirty water to an outlet outside the home. This allows for easy clean-up of debris and dirt in your sink at the same time as preventing sewer gases from entering your house, which is often hazardous with their smell and taste.
What is the difference between a grease trap and a grease interceptor?
A: A grease interceptor is usually much larger than a grease trap and is installed outside of a building or underground.
Do grease traps connect to the sewer?
A: Yes, grease traps can connect to sewers.
- solids interceptor
- grease trap cleaning