Drane Ranger Vacuum Service Satisfying the customers Since 1985.


Home Blog

What are Grease Traps and How Do They Work?

Grease traps (also known as grease interceptors, grease recovery devices, grease capsules and grease converters) are plumbing devices (traps) designed to intercept most greases and solids before they enter a wastewater disposal system.

The essential need for grease trap cleaning service and scheduled maintenance is because grease traps work on the basis that animal fats and vegetable oils (grease) are 10 to 15 percent less dense than water and that grease won’t mix with water. Fats and oils float on top of water.

Restaurant and food service kitchens produce waste grease which is present in the drain lines from various sinks, dishwashers and cooking equipment such as combi ovens and commercial woks. Rotisserie ovens have also become big sources of waste grease. If not regularly and properly removed by a grease trap cleaning service, the grease can clump and cause blockage and back-up in the sewer.

Common wastewater contains small amounts of oils which enter into septic tanks and treatment facilities to form a floating scum layer. This scum layer is very slowly digested and broken down by microorganisms in the anaerobic digestion process. Large amounts of oil from food preparation in restaurants can overwhelm a septic tank or treatment facility, causing the release of untreated sewage into the environment.

Professionals who provide important grease trap cleaning services explain that high-viscosity fats and cooking grease such as lard solidify when cooled, and can combine with other disposed solids to block drain pipes.

FOGS (fats, oils, grease, and solids) are the major enemies of the drains and garbage disposals of commercial kitchen. Grease trap cleaning service technicians explain that when the FOGS start to cool, they solidify, and result in a thick, waxy substance that adheres to the walls of drainpipes. The end result is in slow drains and often total clogs.

When the outflow from the kitchen sink enters the grease trap, the solid food particles sink to the bottom, while lighter grease and oil float to the top. The relatively grease-free water is then fed into the normal septic system. The food solids at the bottom and floating oil and grease must be periodically removed in a manner similar to septic tank pumping. A traditional grease trap is not a food disposal unit. Unfinished food must be scraped into the garbage or food recycling bin. Gravy, sauces and food solids must be scraped off dishes before entering the sink or dishwasher.

A grease trap is basically a box of water that traps grease and food waste (for example from washing dishes) and prevents it from blocking the waster system pipes. Over time – the grease trap will become completely blocked with grease preventing water flow through it. It’s time for a grease trap cleaning service.

What are the Myths and Facts about Septic Tank Systems?

There’s a lot of misinformation about septic tank cleaning in Houston, Texas.

A popular myth is that septic systems don’t really pose a hidden threat to water quality. Professional who do septic tank cleaning in Houston, Texas warn that when the effluent is not adequately treated, as in a failing septic system, it is a health hazard and can cause many human diseases. Studies have found that failing septic systems can become chronic sources of nutrients and interact with nearby waterways.

There’s also a common misunderstanding that septic systems are designed to be maintenance-free. Neglecting system maintenance leads to system failure. There is a need for maintenance of septic systems, or an accumulation of pollutants happen.

Professionals who specialize in septic tank cleaning in Houston, Texas explain that some people consider a septic system similar to a garbage disposal. It is NOT! Garbage disposals can overload a system with solids causing the need for more frequent tank pumping and can increase wastewater strength beyond the capacity of the system to properly treat it.

Technicians who work on septic tank cleaning in Houston, Texas warn about even coffee grounds. They don’t readily digest and can get into the septic system’s leaching bed, where they can contribute to system failure. Also, don’t flush plastic, condoms, rubber, coffee grounds, citrus rinds, eggshells, dental floss, diapers, baby wipes, kitty litter, cigarette butts, fats, greases, paper, paints, solvents, varnishes, thinners, waste oils down into the septic system. It inevitably leads to septic system failure.

There’s a myth about additives helping the septic system. Some septic tank additives on the market with chemicals, yeast, bacteria, or enzymes claim to improve septic tank performance or reduce the need for routine pumping. Septic tank cleaning in Houston, Texas points out that adding a stimulator or an enhancer to a septic tank to help it function or “to restore bacterial balance” is not necessary. The naturally occurring bacteria needed for the septic system to work are already present in human feces. Professionals suggest: Let nature takes its course.

Some homeowners mistakenly assume clogged septic systems must be replaced. Not always. Many clogged septic systems can be restored with maintenance. Three of the most common causes of clogs — indigestible sewage solids entering the leaching bed, slimy biomat growths blocking the holes in the perforated leaching pipes and tree roots physically clogging the leaching pipes — can usually be solved without replacing any part of the system.

A dangerous myth is ambitious DIY homeowners entering the septic tank. Septic tank cleaning in Houston, Texas is unanimous with the caution: Never enter any septic tank. Poisonous gases or the lack of air can be fatal. Any work to the tank should be done from the outside.

How Long Does It Take to Clean a Grease Trap?

Commercial grease trap cleaning is essential maintenance that often gets forgotten or skipped. Commercial grease trap cleaning is essential maintenance that often gets forgotten or skipped.

Sure signs of grease pit trouble are:

. when drains back up frequently

. there is pest infestation around the drain

. grease flows back into the sink

. slow draining

. odors coming from the drain

FOGS (fats, oils, grease, and solids) are the major enemies of the drains and garbage disposals of commercial kitchen. In their natural, liquid form, people don’t think twice about pouring it down the drain.

Commercial grease trap cleaning professionals warn that, when the FOGS start to cool, they solidify, and result in a thick, waxy substance that adheres to the walls of drainpipes. The end result is in slow drains and often total clogs.

A grease trap is basically a box of water that traps grease and food waste (for example from washing dishes) and prevents it from blocking the waster system pipes. Over time – the grease trap will become completely blocked with grease preventing water flow through it.

The structure has a baffle inside that retains the wastewater long enough for the grease to solidify and rise to the top, while the clean water flows through.  At the surface, the grease trap has removable lids used for inspections and cleanings.

Regular commercial grease trap cleaning—using the proper, professional equipment and techniques— usually takes from 20-30 minutes and is crucial for efficient operations and helps keep the number of down.

A safe and recommended commercial grease trap cleaning rule of thumb is to use the One Quarter Rule. Every three months. It complies with local regulations and for some busy restaurants, the traps should be emptied more often.

Keeping an eye on the grease trap and when it is a quarter of the way full (every three weeks), it is time to clean it out. The reason for the One Quarter Rule is because, at that point, the trap becomes no longer effective.

Commercial grease trap cleaning technicians vacuum the grease trap, scrape the grease trap clean and flow test to confirm proper draining.

Commercial grease trap cleaning works with cool water to allow the FOGS to float to the top. Wait ten minutes once the hot wastewater has been released from the dishwasher or sink and cools. The grungy fats, oils and greases are accessed by carefully prying off the grease tank cover. A delicate and critical component, known as the gasket, can be damaged if lifting off the cover without precaution.

Not only do commercial grease trap cleaning professionals efficiently remove and thoroughly clean grease traps, a key part of commercial grease trap cleaning is disposing of the waste safely.

Septic Tank Failure – Effective Tips to Get Rid From Septic Failure Problems

Septic systems have long been an environmentally-friendly way to recycle household wastewater. Like all systems they can and run into problems. A failed septic system can lead to groundwater contamination, sewage ponding in the yard and sewage backups into the home.Septic systems have long been an environmentally-friendly way to recycle household wastewater. Like all systems they can and run into problems. A failed septic system can lead to groundwater contamination, sewage ponding in the yard and sewage backups into the home.

Most people think the lack of system maintenance is the biggest reason that septic systems fail.

According to septic tank cleaning companies, this does not happen as often because most homeowners are aware of the need for septic system maintenance. Stats show that less than 10% of failed systems are due to lack of septic pumping.

But it’s actually heavy water usage that can clog a septic system and cause failure

As septic tank cleaning companies explain, the septic system works depends on the amount of water a household uses each day. The amount of water plays a large role in the septic filtration system’s lifespan.  The separation of waste happens with the flow of wastewater from the inlet to outlet in the septic tank. The natural separation process of solids and liquids of different densities and gravity results in the scum rising to the top, the sludge sinking to the bottom, and the watery effluent in the middle.

To prevent septic system failure, it’s important to understand what commonly cause the nasty problem of a failed septic system and then you’ll understand how to prevent failure from happening.

Septic tank cleaning companies caution about the common symptoms of inefficient septic system and problems which can lead to septic system failure.

. drains backing up into the home—a sign of a clog in the septic system, failure of the equipment or it is starting to overfill

. bad smells coming from drains, or around the area that the septic tank is placed on the lawn

. over-green area on the lawn, means waste is getting out through the septic system into the drain field. This is caused by equipment failure or overfilling

. soggy lawn and build up of water near septic tank

. water and sewage from toilets, drains, and sinks are backing up into the home.

. bathtubs, showers, and sinks drain very slowly.

Despite warnings and suggestions from septic tank cleaning companies many homeowners still leave septic tank maintenance, septic tank cleaning or septic tank pumping needs left to the last minute. Septic tank failure can be pricey, cause a huge mess to clean-up in the basement or landscaping. For commercial or industrial properties, a septic tank system failure could result in massive environmental clean up costs and fines.

Septic tank cleaning companies do regularly scheduled maintenance and a quick response may save money in repairs and prevent illness and negative impact on the environment.

Restaurant Grease Trap Cleaning – Its Necessity and Advantages

Grease and oil are unavoidable in the restaurant business and getting rid of it safely is absolutely necessary to keep a kitchen running smoothly. Wastewater that is produced in the kitchen is often full of grease and oil from either the cooking process or left over on dishes after a patron has finished their meal, and all this wastewater goes down the drain. This can cause major issues if there isn’t proper equipment in place to capture all the fats, oils and grease (FOGs) before it makes it to the sewers. FOGs will combine with everything else drained into the city systems by every business, and eventually cause clogs that cost cities and municipalities millions of dollars to clear up (“greasebergs”). The protective equipment is called a grease trap, but without restaurant grease trap cleaning regularly, the traps can get clogged too.

What are Grease Traps

Grease traps are the best line of defense in protecting public sewers and plumbing. Restaurant grease trap cleaning could be done by a business owner, but without the proper knowledge, it’s going to be hard, dirty and probably done wrong, so calling in the professionals is always the best option.

The way grease traps work is that they capture FOGs that are drained down sinks, toilets, basins, etc. When water enters the grease trap, the FOGs naturally won’t mix with water and will float to the top, while any solid wastes will sink to the bottom of the interception tank. Around the middle of the tank is where any displaced wastewater that is safe for sewers ends up, and that will drain into the sewer lines. Of course, like any tank or trap, there is a limit to capacity. As FOGs and solid waste build up, the likelihood of them ending up in the sewers gradually increases, which means grease trap cleaning is absolutely necessary to prevent FOGs from getting into sewer systems and wrecking havoc.

How Often to Clean Grease Traps

Depending on the size of your business, restaurant grease trap cleaning should be done every 30-90 days by a professional. The process is quick, and affordable. Avoiding cleaning can be costly, especially if the city fines you for FOGs related blockages or you get a backup into your own building.

Other Advantages to Restaurant Grease Trap Cleaning

Proper restaurant grease trap cleaning will help prevent the backing up of smells or liquids back into your restaurant, or outside your restaurant; smells that will greatly deter customers and result in closures. Clogging your grease trap will also damage it and result in the need for expensive repairs you could have avoided with regular restaurant grease trap cleaning schedules.

Professional restaurant grease trap cleaning also means you don’t have to worry about where everything that gets cleaned out of the grease trap goes. The company performing your servicing will handle the waste in an environmentally responsible way that complies with local regulations.

If you are in need of restaurant grease trap cleaning in the Houston and Sugar Land area, and are looking for a BBB accredited business with a highly trained and certified team, then look no further than Drane Ranger for all your grease trap cleaning needs.

Grease Traps are Essential for Any Commercial Kitchen

For any commercial kitchen manager, one of the most important parts of kitchen maintenance is the grease trap or grease interceptor. Commercial grease trap cleaning can be a dirty job if you don’t know what you are doing. That’s why most kitchen managers hire commercial grease trap cleaning specialists to routinely take care of this unpleasant job.

What Does a Grease Trap or Grease Interceptor Do Exactly?

In any busy kitchen, there is a lot of grease on the dishes, pots, pans, and utensils. If this grease makes its way into the drainage system during the washing process, it can wreak havoc on the plumbing and sewers. Once the liquid grease cools and solidifies, it can create huge blockages that are extremely costly to repair. Grease traps and grease interceptors are designed to catch this grease before it makes its way into the plumbing.

If sewers and drainage systems become clogged with grease, it can cause terrible backups into your restaurant. These types of clogs have also been known to cause sewers problems in the streets of a neighborhood as well. Either way, not properly handling kitchen grease can cause huge issues, restaurant shutdowns, and high repair costs. Most municipalities have laws regarding the proper disposal of kitchen grease. Routine commercial grease trap cleaning is often required by law.

Commercial Grease Trap Cleaning

Both grease traps and grease interceptors work to keep the fats, oils, and grease out of the drainage and sewer systems. Grease traps are smaller and are usually found under the sink in a commercial kitchen. They need to be emptied daily and cleaned professionally monthly.

Grease interceptors are larger units that are usually found in high-volume restaurants. These interceptors are usually stored outside and require commercial grease trap cleaning specialists to empty and clean them.

It is important to regularly schedule grease trap and/or interceptor cleaning. The grease can cause an unpleasant smell if neglected. These units can also fail if they are not cleaned regularly, which causes unsanitary backups in your kitchen and costly restaurant shutdowns. The best solution is to set up a recurring cleaning schedule with a commercial grease trap cleaning company.

Working With Professional Cleaners

It is important to hire a professional commercial grease trap cleaning service to ensure that your grease traps and interceptors are properly maintained. Professional cleaning companies have the tools and knowledge to get the job done cleanly, efficiently, and effectively. Routine cleaning and inspection means that your grease traps and interceptors will remain working properly and cause fewer problems in the future.

At Drane Ranger, our team of specialized commercial grease trap cleaning personnel are trained and experienced in cleaning a wide range of grease traps. We are committed to our customers and your business. With Drane Ranger, you can expect courteous, clean, and expert service exactly when you need it.

Drane Ranger has been serving the Houston, Pearland, Alvin, and Sugar Land areas since 1985. We carefully follow all regulations for commercial grease trap cleaning and disposal.

Why Can’t You Flush Cat Poop Down a Septic Tank?

Owners of cats know the work that it takes to care for our feline friends. Cats need to be brushed, fed, loved and the cat litter needs to be changed on a regular basis. Professionals who complete septic tank cleaning in Alvin, TX have a word of advice for cat owners. Do not flush your cat poop and litter into the septic tank.

Why can you not dispose of cat litter in a septic tank?

Most cat litter is made of bentonite clay. This clay is absorbent and non-biodegradable. When water is added to this clay it forms a thick, pasty substance. When you flush the litter down the septic tank it can harden in the pipes. If you flush it down with water or jet spray, it will end in your tank. Here it will harden and then can damage the tank itself. If you decide to dispose of the cat litter in your septic tank it can lead to having more septic tank cleaning in Alvin, TX, additional repairs or complete replacement of your septic tank.

Additionally, a septic tank is designed for human waste. The microorganisms that are used to breakdown human feces may become out of balance with the introduction of new substances. Cat waste contains a parasite called toxoplasma. This nasty parasite can enter the water system through the draining of the septic tank even get into water waste treatment plants. This parasite can then be spread through animals that drink the water or through fish and shellfish.

How should you dispose of cat feces?

The easiest solution is to scoop the litter and place it in a bag and dispose of through the trash system. There are some people who will scoop the poop and shake off the litter leaving the clumps of feces, and then flushing this down through the septic tank system. This is not a good idea. Although there is less cat litter it will still build up over a time and the parasite is still attached to the feces. Avoid extra septic tank cleaning in Alvin, TX, and dispose of the cat litter properly.


Cats are beautiful creatures and make wonderful pets. Give them all the love and attention that they need and deserve. Flushing cat feces and litter in a septic tank can add additional costs, so instead dispose of your litter properly and spend that extra money on treats for your feline friend.

What Happens if a Grease Trap isn’t Properly Maintained?

What exactly happens if your grease traps are left unattended, and why is it so important to get regular grease trap cleaning and maintenance? We answer these questions and tell you where to get professional, reliable grease trap service.

The Dangers of Ignored Grease Traps

As you probably know, grease traps help to capture the fats and other contaminants present in wastewater coming from your kitchen. They do this by letting the water settle and cool so the grease rises to the top and any solids, like food waste, settle on the bottom. The water is then flushed out to be taken by the local wastewater infrastructure. The grease and waste, however, remains in the trap.

When people ignore their grease traps, this waste accumulates. In some types of restaurants, it can accumulate very quickly, leading to a number of issues. Top among them is major plumbing issues. Since your grease traps are connected to your plumbing system, they will eventually get so blocked up that pipes will not be able to push through water. The result can be burst pipes, total drain blockages and much more, all of which can shut down a restaurant in its entirety.

The more immediate sign will be a noticeable and terrible smell wafting through your establishment. Since the food and grease waste is building up instead of being properly removed, it will start to rot, and the smell will travel through your plumbing system.

How to Prevent Grease Trap Issues

If you want to eliminate the risk of these smells and plumbing issues, then the best thing to do is invest in regular grease trap cleaning and maintenance from a dedicated and experienced company. Grease trap cleaning companies can set up a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule to ensure your traps are taken care of regularly, leaving you to focus on other parts of your business.

Working with an experienced company will also ensure that your grease traps are in good condition throughout their lives, and the experts can make sure you are within local guidelines and regulations.

Where to Find Professional Grease Trap Cleaning Services

Did you know that businesses with grease traps in the Houston area must clean and empty the traps every three months? Even then, this may not be enough for some restaurants to keep a safe, clean and comfortable environment for their staff and customers. If you own a business with a grease trap, then make sure you contact the professionals here at Drane Ranger. We can work with you to make a grease trap cleaning schedule that keeps your traps clean and ensures you are in compliance with local rules and regulations. Contact us today to learn more and let us take care of the greasy work so you don’t have to!

How to Prevent Your Kitchen’s Grease Trap from Overflowing

Commercial kitchen grease traps are vulnerable to overflow if they are not operated correctly. It is highly important that the trap is emptied at regular intervals. There are lots of businesses that offer grease trap cleaning in Houston. Typically, they will discharge the contents of the trap and make sure that the chambers and lines are clean.

What is a grease trap?

A grease trap is essentially a septic tank that commercial kitchens use to dispose of cooking grease. They are installed between the drain and the sewer. As the hot liquid grease goes down with other solid and liquid waste, it settles into a tank. At this phase, the solid food waste sinks to the bottom, the fat and grease floats to the top, and the water sits in the middle. The water then travels into the municipal sewer system to be treated as regular sewage, while the solid food waste and grease remains. All restaurants will have some kind of grease disposal system because, when it cools and solidifies, grease is notorious for causing blockages in sewer systems. The solution to this problem is the installation and use of grease traps. Their only downside is that they require regular cleaning and discharge. This is why there is lots of demand for grease trap cleaning.

Why do grease traps overflow?

Grease trap overflow is associated with clogging in the lines. Typically, lines become clogged when the grease trap is not discharged often enough. A grease trap will have three lines: an incoming line, an outgoing line, and a crossover line. The incoming line is how the waste from the kitchen sink first enters the trap. The waste is now in the first chamber, where the settling process takes place (i.e. fats at the top and solids at the bottom). The water in the middle then leaves the first chamber and travels into the second chamber via the crossover line. The second chamber’s role is to keep the water separate from the solid and fatty waste. Its contents get released into the municipal sewer system as normal wastewater. The role of grease trap cleaning in Houston is to deal with the solid waste as it builds up in the first chamber.

As the trap continues its process of separating the solids and releasing the water, the contents of the first chamber pile on top of each other. When the chamber is full, it must be emptied. If this is not done, the trap will overflow. When there is overflow, the incoming and crossover lines both become clogged because the excess grease has nowhere else to go. This results in clogged drains, and rotten smells coming from the drain. All of the solid food waste is accumulating and starting to rot. A typical grease trap cleaning in Houston will involve a discharge of the first chamber waste into a vacuum truck, where it is taken away for disposal.

Why is it so critical to schedule regular grease trap cleaning in Houston?

There is also an inspection and cleaning of the incoming and crossover lines to ensure that they are not clogged with any grease or solids. The best thing you can do for your grease trap is to stay on top of the discharge timetable. Otherwise, all that rotting waste that backs up will turn into a public health violation.

Are Septic Tanks Under or Inside Your House Safe?

Septic tanks are usually something that we don’t have to think about. Located underground or away from a home, they are often something we would prefer to have located far away. Despite this, some people have their septic tanks in or under their homes, or they are curious about the impacts of building them there. Let’s look at whether or not this practice is safe, where a septic tank should be located, and how its location can impact things like maintenance and getting a septic tank pump out service.

Is it Safe to Have a Septic Tank Under or Inside Your Home?

“safe” is probably not the right word to use in this situation. Technically, a properly maintained and well-made septic tank is safe just about anywhere. The problem is whether it will be that way in the long run, and whether that’s the best place for it.

Septic tanks are essentially tanks full of sewage and bacteria that break down that sewage. They are, by their very nature, something we would generally prefer to keep out of sight and, more importantly, far away from our nostrils. This is why most septic tanks are located away from the home on a drain field. This ensures that any potential problems can be detected but won’t overwhelm, and that the septic tank can drain properly away from where people are living.

There are potential safety hazards that can come about due to a septic tank being in or under a person’s home. Sewage exposure and potential methane gas are major issues that can arise, especially if something happens to the tank that causes leaks or problems.

From a septic tank pump out service perspective, having your septic tank in or under your home poses access issues. They can be difficult to properly maintain if they are in a cramped or unsuitable space. If they are under your home, you could encounter issues that require a pump out, but, because it’s underfoot instead of somewhere easily accessible, you could be unaware of them.

Where to Locate Your Septic Tank

If you are looking to install a septic tank, then you should ideally place it on high, level ground and avoid steep slopes and areas with lots of tree roots and other obstructions. Of course, any and all digging for a septic tank should be done with full knowledge of what may be below, be it buried power lines, aquifers, or other things that can’t be disturbed.

Who to Call for a Septic Tank Pump Out Service

Did you know that your septic tank will regularly need to be pumped out? The timing differs for every tank. Some need it more often. Others will need it quite regularly. The best way to know if you need a septic tank pump out service is by calling the professionals here at Drane Ranger. Our team of septic tank professionals can set up regular maintenance and cleaning schedules to inspect your septic tank and pump it out as required. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your septic tank and waste-related needs.