Grease trap odors inside your restaurant kitchen are a huge problem for restaurant owners. Staff won't like working in an environment that smells like a sewer and customers will be wary about eating at your restaurant. If you don't fix the problem, you'll lose a great deal of business when sewer odors waft out of the kitchen and into the dining area. You need to fix the problem quickly in order to keep your business running smoothly. If you have persistent sewer odors coming from your restaurant's grease trap, here are a few things you can try to stop them.
Make Sure Your P-Traps are Full of Water
It's common for plumbers to install P-traps on every line that drains into the grease trap. P-traps are shaped like an upside-down P, and their purpose is to collect water. When a P-trap is full of water, the water blocks any sewer gases emanating from the grease trap from coming back up through your drains into your kitchen.
Sometimes these P-traps dry out, which makes them not function — you'll end up with persistent sewer smells coming from your restaurant's grease trap. Pour a gallon of water down every drain in your restaurant in order to make sure all of the P-traps are full. It's a good idea to perform this task every week to prevent the P-traps from drying out.
Check Your Grease Trap Vent for Cracks or Improper Installation
Grease traps are commonly vented using a PVC pipe, which prevents pressure from building up in the grease trap. Sewer gases that build up in the grease trap can cause it to become air-bound and prevent water from draining out of the trap and into the sewer unless these gases are vented.
There are two things that can go wrong with a grease trap vent that can cause sewer odors in your restaurant. The first is improper installation of your grease trap — sometimes the pipe used to vent the grease trap terminates somewhere inside your restaurant instead of being run through your roof and venting gases safely outside. You'll need to hire a plumber to correct the problem.
The second problem is a cracked vent pipe. Any cracks in the PVC pipe used to vent your grease trap will cause gases to escape, leading to sewer odors. You'll need to carefully examine the vent pipe for any cracks and replace any damaged sections.
Pump Your Grease Trap if It's Overfilled
If you haven't been pumping your grease trap regularly, this may be the source of your sewer odors. An overfilled grease trap can cause grease and solids to back up through your kitchen drains, resulting in foul odors constantly emanating from them.
Call a commercial grease trap pumping company to have your grease trap pumped and then run boiling hot water down your kitchen drains in order to dislodge any grease that has accumulated. In the future, you'll need to pump your restaurant's grease trap more often in order to prevent the problem from occurring again.
How often should you pump your restaurant's grease trap? It depends on your usage. You should call a commercial grease trap company whenever your grease trap is a quarter full. While this may seem like you're not getting the full capacity out of your grease trap, it's important to keep it nearly empty in order to prevent grease and solids from escaping — grease traps rely on being mostly empty in order to correctly separate solids and grease from the water. Failure to pump your grease trap often enough will lead to waste backing up into your kitchen drains.
Additionally, you may be required by city ordinances to pump your restaurant's grease trap on a fixed schedule, and you may be fined if you do not comply. This helps cities stop grease from entering the municipal sewer system and causing clogs. To find out if your restaurant is required by local ordinances to pump its grease trap on a regular basis, call a local commercial grease trap pumping company.
Sewer odors in your restaurant are an unpleasant experience for both your staff and your customers — it can result in a huge loss of business, since customers will often lose their appetite the moment they walk in the door. To prevent this problem from occurring, make sure you pour water down every drain in your kitchen once a week and schedule regular visits from a commercial grease trap pumping company to stop your grease trap from overfilling.