Grease traps may not be the most exciting element in commercial kitchen design, but they're easily one of the most important. Grease trap systems help protect your establishment's plumbing from expensive and messy problems while ensuring your business complies with local waste regulations. However, sizing a grease trap system isn't always a simple matter.
As with HVAC equipment, designing and installing a grease trap or grease interceptor system is all about hitting the Goldilocks zone. In other words, your system can't be too large or too small; it must be just right for your needs. Understanding why grease trap system sizing is so crucial can help save your business money and prevent some potentially nasty surprises.
How Does Grease Trap Sizing Work?
Manufacturers base grease trap sizing on the maximum flow expected through the trap, typically in gallons per minute (GPM). Commercial grease traps are similar in some ways to septic tanks. Like septic tanks, a grease trap will usually contain two divided compartments. Fats, oil, and grease (FOG) float to the top of the inlet side as the water cools, allowing mostly clear water to enter the outlet side.
The greater the flow into the trap, the longer the water will take to cool, and the more space is required to prevent grease and solids from transferring to the outlet. Your plumber will calculate the necessary size for your grease trap based on the number of fixtures that generate FOG. Many local building codes will require plumbers to consider the maximum possible flow rate of all fixtures in your business.
Why Does Grease Trap Sizing Matter?
A full grease trap can create numerous problems. Once your grease trap fills, FOG can move into the outlet side of the trap, where it may eventually reach the main sewer line. This situation can result in clogs and may even leave your business subject to fines from local regulatory bodies. At best, you'll have to deal with a messy problem if the entire system backs up.
Unfortunately, you can't avoid these issues by oversizing your grease trap to leave a margin of error. A trap that's too large and cleaned infrequently can produce foul odors and even emit potentially dangerous gases. These same gases can be corrosive, reducing the overall lifespan of the trap and ultimately costing your business more money.
How Can You Ensure Proper Grease Trap Sizing?
The best way to install an appropriately sized grease trap for your business is to work with a commercial plumber with experience in grease trap installations. A skilled plumber will perform a flow rate estimation for your kitchen and walk you through the sizing process, ensuring you install the perfect grease trap for your kitchen.
For more info, contact a local company like Keen Plumbing Company.