October 16, 2017
By Mark Paup

What’s the Point of a Grease Trap, Anyway?

Updated January 17, 2024

In the kitchen in your home, grease, as well as fats and oils, are major enemies of the drains and the garbage disposal. Fats, oils, and grease (often collectively known as “FOG”) are in liquid form when they’re hot from cooking, and therefore look harmless. But they solidify when they cool, becoming a waxy substance that sticks to drainpipe walls and becomes a major cause of slow drains and complete clogs. Regular drain cleaning from professionals and taking precautions about what goes down your kitchen drains is the best way to avoid problems with FOG.

With a commercial kitchen—whether in a restaurant, school, cafeteria, bar, or other food service establishment—the danger from fats, oils, and grease is much higher. This is why it’s necessary to have a grease trap installed and routinely serviced. It’s more than just a way to ensure your establishment runs well with clean drains. It’s necessary to keep your business up to code.

What Is a Grease Trap

So, what exactly is a grease trap? To be more precise, a grease trap is essentially a plumbing device that is meant to trap grease and another build-up from entering the wastewater disposal system. Grease traps are critical for preventing clogs and other plumbing damages from happening, specifically concerning grease. Grease is thick in density and does not dissolve or mix with water. For this reason, having large amounts of grease in your plumbing system can be quite problematic for your home or your business as a whole. By having a grease trap installed, you stay at peace knowing that grease-free water will enter into your sewer lines, this way avoiding any potential clogs or costly damages.

Grease Trap 101

Residential kitchens don’t see enough use to make it necessary to have precautions in place the trap grease, fats, and oils. But a commercial kitchen flushes out an enormous amount of wastewater through its drains every day, much of it filled with FOG and food waste from cooking. A grease trap is a box attached to the drain line (usually accessible from an area just outside the building) that separates FOG from the water through a series of baffled chambers: the lighter FOG floats to the surface, and heavier food particles fall to the bottom, and only the water is allowed to continue into the sewage pipe leading to the municipal sewer system.

What Is the Purpose of a Grease Trap

The first reason for having a grease trap is that it keeps your sewer line in the best shape possible. FOG and food material building up inside the sewer line will cause it to clog, and sewage will then back up into your business. That’s not only unpleasant, but it’s also extremely unhygienic and likely to cause your establishment to violate the health code. A grease trap keeps harmful buildup away from the sewer line.

The second reason for a grease trap is to benefit the municipal sewer system. The city doesn’t want to deal with massive blockages in the sewer system because businesses send fats, grease, oil, and extra food waste into the sewer lines. This is why grease traps are usually legally required for food service businesses. They are also required to be cleaned and inspected regularly, so they continue to perform their jobs.

For service for your grease trap in Des Moines, IA, or if you need to have a new one installed, contact us. We’ll see your grease trap receives the regular service it requires to keep your business operating. We offer a wide range of commercial plumbing services throughout Des Moines and the surrounding areas.

Professional Grease Trap Cleaning

It is important to get your grease trap cleaned out about every once three months, especially if you are dealing with a commercial grease trap. For a residential grease trap, we suggest that you schedule a cleaning service at least two to three times a year. A professional grease trap cleaning service will be able to thoroughly clean your grease trap and prevent any potential problems from occurring. As a home or business owner, you can also try cleaning your grease trap yourself every once in a while, although, a professional plumber will be able to clean even the trickiest parts of it, this way ensuring a thorough clean.

If you want a Service Provider who will treat you and your business like their own, then contact or call Golden Rule at 515-393-4526, today. “We Obey the Rules to Live By!”

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