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.

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.

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.

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.

The Dangers of Pouring Grease Down the Drain – Everything you Need to Know

Fat is a bizarre substance. When it is hot in the pan, it flows like a liquid, almost like syrup or molasses. Once it cools off, it turns into a hard, sticky substance, kind of like glue. When you’ve got the hood fan going and the bacon is cooked, it is tempting to think “whatever, a little grease down the drain probably won’t hurt”. If you only do it once in a while, this is true. If you do it regularly, then you will have problems. Drains often become clogged when something is poured down as a hot liquid, but then solidifies when it reaches room temperature. The most notorious culprit for this is grease. Many commercial kitchens will use a grease trap to deal with this, but these are not fool proof. One day you will find yourself frantically searching for a “grease trap service near me.”

Trimming the fat

Blockages inside drains are often caused by fat deposits that pile up over many years. When the hot liquid grease goes down a drain, it might stay hot enough to flow for most of the journey. Even if most of it escapes down into the municipal sewer, there is always a little bit that gets left behind. Once it cools off to room temperature, it will solidify. As this happens, the inside drain becomes coated in the solid fat. The fat coating then makes it difficult for water to flow down the drain. If there are multiple layers that build up over repeated grease deposits, the drain will clog. You don’t want this to happen. Looking for grease trap services on short notice never ends well.

Salvaging the situation with a grease trap service near me

One thing you can do to salvage the situation before it gets worse is to pour boiling water and dish soap down the drain. The boiling water will help the most recent grease deposits to heat up and liquify again, and the dish soap will help to dissolve the liquid away before it hardens again. Of course, this technique is unlikely to do anything for the deposits that have been there a long time. It is more for grease that was poured down recently (i.e. last night or early this morning). The shorter the period of time it has been sitting as a solid, the more likely it is to liquify again.

Keeping the drains moving is all about breaking the bad habits. Another one to avoid is pouring cooking oil down the drain. Although it will not solidify, its high viscosity means that it will slow the drain as it comes into contact with the solid fats. To avoid the frantic search for a “grease trap service near me,” the next time you cook something greasy, let the grease harden in the pan and scoop it into the garbage. However, if you need help, know that there are grease trap services nearby that can save the day.

How a Grease Trap Keeps You Out of Trouble?

Have you ever wondered what grease traps are for? They are an essential piece of equipment in the food services industry, but many people do not understand why they are used or how they operate. Here is an introduction to grease traps, explaining how they can save you trouble when you opt for regular grease trap cleaning services.

Stop Clogs

Fats, oils, and grease (known as FOG) do not mix with water. When FOG makes its way down the drain, it does not effectively move through the sewer system. Instead, it congeals, forming a layer on the inside of the piping.

FOG tends to stick together, allowing the layer of grease to grow into a blockage. Once this occurs, the water flow will be stopped, which can cause sinks and drains to back up. This is a massive problem in the food services industry, potentially forcing owners to close their kitchens while the blockage is addressed.

While it is possible to hire grease trap cleaning services to remove a clog after it has formed, this is typically more expensive and more challenging than avoiding the blockage in the first place.

How do Grease Traps Work?

Want to avoid grease clogs? Grease traps and grease interceptors are a must. All drains connected to the kitchen must pass through a grease trap before connecting to the sewer.

Grease traps work by first slowing down the flow of water. Rather than allowing water to pass through the pipe in a few seconds, water takes at least 20 minutes to pass through a grease trap. This allows FOG to congeal in the trap and any grit to settle to the bottom of the tank.

Fats, oils, and grease are lighter than water, meaning FOG will accumulate on top of the water in the grease trap. Baffles in the grease trap are used to capture the grease, allowing the water to pass through while the FOG and grit stay inside.

Over time, FOG and grit will build up within the grease traps. If it is allowed to overfill, it can lead to a blockage. Traps must be regularly emptied by grease trap cleaning services to maintain proper function and comply with regulations.

Conform to Local Laws and Regulation

Food services businesses are often mandated to use grease trap cleaning services by regulatory bodies such as public utilities. FOG build-up doesn’t just happen within your piping. It also occurs in the wastewater system. Failing to adhere to these rules could lead to fines and other restrictions on your business.

It is essential to understand that these regulations may apply to your restaurant, even if you do not serve deep-fried food. It is a popular misconception that FOG build-up only occurs in fast food establishments. This is not the case. Almost all cooking involves some amount of fat and oil, so you need to manage FOG responsibly.

Using Reliable Grease Trap Cleaning Services

Are your grease traps due for a cleaning? Our team at Drane Ranger is experienced at emptying grease, grit, and lint traps. We offer professional, timely, and sanitary services to allow your business to stay on schedule.

Three Reasons Why Your Restaurant Needs a Grease Trap


Restaurants have been using grease traps for a hundred years. This device is essential to operating a restaurant, and the concept is simple. It operates on the basis that animal fat is ten to fifteen percent less dense than water and wont mix. With this concept, the fat will rise on top of the water. When the water and fat enter the trap, it slows the flow of water and the grease is trapped in a system of baffles. Sediments sink to the bottom into a separate trap and the water is then pumped out into the water waste system. You need to have your restaurant grease trap cleaning completed on a regular basis.

Reason one for having your Restaurant grease trap cleaning completed.

To work within city regulations, a restaurant grease trap needs to be cleaned a minimum of every three months. Some busier restaurants should be cleaned more often. These regulations are enforced for compliance and to ensure the safety and health of employees and customers. Failing to have your restaurant grease trap cleaning completed could result in hefty fines.

Reason two for restaurant grease trap cleaning: what is that smell?

Fats, grease, and oil (FOG) separate from the wastewater; however, there are some particles that will remain in the FOG or on the bottom of the trap. Often, these particles are broken down by micro-organisms. During this activity, hydrogen sulphide, and sulphuric gases are emitted. Most commonly, these gases are creating the foul smell. Poor ventilation is another cause of profane smells. If FOG clogs the ventilation and there is no air flow, then the build-up can create a smell. Without proper ventilation, this smell will begin to seep back into the restaurant. The best solution for preventing odors or removing odors is ensuring your restaurant grease trap cleaning is completed on a regular basis, a minimum of once every three months.

Restaurant grease trap cleaning can prevent damage and costly repairs.

There are many ways that a trap can be damaged. One way is when sulphuric acid is emitted from the break-down of particles. This acid can interact with the trap itself and begin to create small holes, preventing the trap from working. Alternatively, some people do not clean their traps properly and instead opt to pour chemicals, such as odor removers, into the tank. These chemicals can corrode the trap, rendering it useless after a period of time.


Restaurant grease trap cleaning needs to be done on a regular basis. Preventing overflow, smells, damage to the grease trap, and hefty fines are just some of the reasons you need to routinely schedule a cleaning. For more information about Restaurant grease trap cleaning, click here.

Guide for Taking Care of Your Grease Trap for Smooth Operations


If you’re a restaurant owner, then you’re likely already familiar with the ins and outs of your grease trap. If you’re new to the restaurant business, then it’s important to get acquainted with it and to find out how to properly maintain it. If all this seems overwhelming, then you can always look up a “grease trap service near me” and have someone help you out.

Your grease trap is constantly collecting oils, fats, and grease. They come in all kinds of sizes. If you have a smaller one, you will need to maintain it more often. They can only hold a limited capacity of waste, which is why they need to be cleaned. You want to make sure you avoid letting it go so that it doesn’t get backed up and overflow. A grease trap overflowing could damage the plumbing, and if it got really serious, it could negatively impact the city’s waterways. It’s also bad for the environment and could warrant fines. A well-maintained grease trap will also help you pass your health inspection.

Here is a quick guide to taking care of your grease trap.

Proper Equipment

A benefit of searching for a grease trap service is that you will not have to worry about all of the equipment you need to clean a grease trap. Some things you may already have, like rubber gloves, a bucket, soap and water, and a shop vacuum. However, you also need a gas mask to protect yourself from the fumes, protective clothing, a crowbar, a wrench, a metal scraper, a flat wooden stick like a paint stirrer, and a marker. Once you have all the gear, you’re ready to get started—but that is a lot of investment in gear for something you could hire in an expert for.

Cleaning the Grease Trap

First, you must remove the top cover of your grease trap with the crowbar. Then you need to find out how full your tank is. Take your paint stick and pass it through the top layer of grease to the bottom of the tank. Mark the top with a marker. With either a bucket or your shop vacuum, drain the water. Avoid removing the grease. Let it sit at the bottom when you’re done, and be sure to keep the water for later. Now you can clean out the grease with your scoop and scraper. Make sure the walls of the tank are free of grease. Once it’s all gone, clean the whole tank with soap and water. Rinse all removable parts as well. Once it’s all nice and clean, put all the removable parts back and pour in your water.

This may sound simple enough, but there’s a lot that can go wrong. You could easily damage seals or miss cleaning areas that could become a health—or clog—risk in the future. Plus, for all the effort you put in, you could easily have called a grease trap service. It’s the easy and quick solution.

Conclusion: it’s better to find a grease trap service near me

Keeping your kitchen and restaurant clean is important for your business and your customers. It needs to be maintained regularly. It’s a tough job cleaning the grease trap on your own. It’s also hard to do it as regularly and often as is needed. Save your energy by searching for a “grease trap service near me”. Let an expert take care of it for you and focus on the other smooth operations of your business. Contact us to know more information.