grease trap

Everything You Need to Know About Grease Traps

A grease trap, also known as a grease interceptor, is a plumbing device that your kitchen wastewater goes through. It separates things like grease and other material before it flows through to the sewer. A standard grease trap has two chambers. As the wastewater goes through the first chamber, it is able to capture all the grease coming through. Once the grease solidifies, it floats to the top of the first chamber and allows the water to then go through to the second chamber, which then makes its way down to the sewer. A grease trap cleaning is when the floating solids are pumped out of the first chamber.

This is what a grease trap, AKA a grease interceptor, looks like outside of a restaurant. You can see where the grease has solidified and is floating on top. 

This photo was taken on a 1-Tom-Plumber job site.
This is what a grease trap, AKA a grease interceptor, looks like outside of a restaurant. You can see where the grease has solidified and is floating on top. 

The Main Types of Grease Traps


These are found in fixtures and close to the point of use. They are so common because they are relatively easy to install and low in price. Although they are smaller, they still do the job of accumulating grease making it easy to clean out. 


This type is much bigger than hydromechanical grease traps and can be found outside or underground. Gravity is used to drain the water in them and can be most commonly found outside of restaurants. The grease that accumulates in these interceptors have to be pumped out by a truck and hauled away to be disposed of. 

Automatic removal units

These are the most expensive out of the grease traps. A blade is used to separate the grease to a container automatically, which can be a convenient concept if you are willing to spend the money on getting one installed. 

This is an automatic grease removal unit. These are the most expensive type of grease trap.
This is an automatic grease removal unit. These are the most expensive type of grease trap.

How Often Should a Grease Trap be Cleaned?

Keeping an eye on how much grease is going down your drain is a good idea so that way you are aware of how often you should schedule a grease trap pumping. If you occupy your building for at least a week, you should be able to have a better understanding of how often you should schedule to have it cleaned. Usually every 1-3 months a grease trap cleaning should be performed, depending on how fast it is filled with fat and oils. 

It is best to have a regular grease trap cleaning and maintenance schedule. Frequency of cleaning depends on the size of your interceptor and also the amount of grease/fat that is produced in your kitchen, causing it to fill up at a faster or slower rate. 

Another important factor to note is that if your grease trap is not cleaned out regularly, the effectiveness will start to diminish. It can only hold so much before it will start to clog or not be as effective as it should be because of extreme buildup. 

How Long Do Grease Traps Last?

Grease traps can last anywhere around 20 years. Depending on how often you clean it has a huge impact on how long it does last. It is inevitable that trap damage will tend to happen over time but that is because of repeated cleanings. 

What Places are Likely to Have a Grease Trap Installed?

There are many places all over the world that have grease traps, you might be aware of some of them but there could be some that you didn’t think of right off the bat. Here’s a list of some places that have interseptors:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Malls/shopping centers with food outlets
  • Bakeries or cafes 
  • Schools and colleges 
  • Catering companies
  • Food manufacturing facilities
  • Convenience stores
  • Hospitals 
  • Nursing home kitchens

Pretty much any business that produces any fats and oils in a quantity of any sort is going to need to have a grease trap or interceptor installed. If a business produces large amounts of grease, it is more likely to have a grease interceptor. If a business produces a lower volume of grease, it is more likely for those businesses to have a grease interceptor. 

Final Thoughts 

Grease traps are an essential part of running a business if you are dealing with any types of oils or fats. Being able to determine which type of grease interceptor will be right for your business is an important step. Scheduled maintenance and cleaning of your grease trap should be done every 1-3 months. Depending on the volume of grease that is being collected in the interceptor during a certain period of time. 

If you are having your grease trap cleaned often, it would be a good idea to also look into hydro jetting the pipes in which the grease is flowing through. Grease buildup in your pipes will eventually clog the pipe completely or cause blockages if your pipes are not cleaned properly. 

Call 1-Tom-Plumber Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need a hydro jetting service. 1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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