Is your Grease Trap the Right Size? The Wrong Size Could Be Costing You

  • Date: 6 May 2015
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  • Categories: SLM-Blog

Though unseen by most, the grease trap is one of the most important parts of a functioning restaurant. If you’ve dealt with an overflowing or malfunctioning grease trap, then you know the trouble it can cause. Besides overflowing into the kitchen, the smell alone can drive most customers out of the dining room, some never to return again. While the design of the grease trap is brilliant in its simplicity, it still requires planning and maintenance to make sure it works well. And the size of the grease trap could be working against you if it isn’t correct.

The grease trap is a stopover that the water and F.O.G. takes on its way out of our facility to the sewer. The grease trap slows the water down and allows the heavy bits of food to sink to the bottom, and grease to rise to the top, so that only water leaves the pipes and enters the municipal sewer system. Not only does this protect your and the city’s pipes from dangerous buildup that can, over time, cause pipes to burst, it also helps protect our shared water supply (as long as you get rid of it in an environmentally friendly manner).

Manhole cover of a grease trap outside a restaurant.

Manhole cover of a grease trap outside a restaurant.

If your grease trap is too small, then water will accelerate through it too fast, and it won’t give the FOG enough time to separate. If the FOG doesn’t separate, it goes through your pipes, causing the aforementioned buildup. Luckily, there’s a simple formula for determining the size grease trap your restaurant’s kitchen needs.

Grease Traps are measured by Gallons Per Minute (GPM). To determine the GPM, simply multiply your total sink volume by 0.003. So for example, if you have two sinks, and they are 13 inches high, 20 inches wide, and 16 inches in length, then:

  1. 13 x 20 x 16 = 4160
  2. 4160 x 2 = 8320
  3. 6320 x 0.003 = 24.96

So in this hypothetical case, you’d need to round up to the nearest standard size, which is 25gpm grease trap. Be sure your grease trap is the appropriate size for your kitchen. Though it’s only one of many factors to keep in mind for proper grease trap maintenance, it’s a good place to start.

If you’d like to worry less about grease traps, contact SLM. SLM specializes in grease trap pumping and repairs and are available 24/7/365. We hire only licensed and insured vendors and guarantee a vendor will be onsite within 4 hours. We offer regular maintenance, cleaning and verification of grease traps, interceptors and lift stations. We believe in proactive inspections and utilizing the most advanced equipment to eliminate backups. Our preventive and routine maintenance includes regularly scheduled clean-outs of grease traps, lift stations, and storm drains; and drain line cleaning and high pressure jetting of interior and exterior plumbing lines. We provide Peak-time service, even at night, to eliminate your customers’ exposure to offensive odors. We also use innovative methods, like Citrus bacteria, chemical components, and other continuous up-to-date research on proven new methods for grease trap pumping and servicing. We’ll save you money by recycling that grease trap waste for you.

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