Whenever you cook, several byproducts are produced, including grease – the combination of animal fat and cooking oil. Grease is not as dense as water which means that it floats on top of the water as opposed to mixing with it.
When grease makes its way into your drainage system or septic system, it can cause chaos due to blockages and some environmental problems. Learning how to make a homemade grease trap could help you avoid all this, as well as a hefty invoice from your plumber.
In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:
- Why is grease bad for your drains?
- What to do if you’ve already poured grease down the drain?
- How to build a homemade grease trap?
- Who needs to use a grease trap?
- How do I clean my grease trap?
|What's In This Guide?|
Why Is Grease Bad For Your Drains?
You might be wondering what the fuss is all about. After all, grease doesn’t seem like such a harmful byproduct, and it could probably wash away with time. The thing about grease is that it solidifies as it cools down.
While it may easily flow out of your cooking pan and down the drain, it doesn’t necessarily make its way out of the system. As soon as it hits the pipe, it starts to cool down and solidify.
Once it solidifies, it sticks to the walls of the pipe and forms a sticky mess that is not only obstructive to the flow of water and air within the pipes, but a grease clog also acts as a trap for other things such as debris and gunk in the plumbing.
With time, what started as a little patch of oily gunk becomes bigger and starts to clog up your drainage system – and using a simple drain cleaner usually won’t do the trick. Furthermore, the gunk and debris that develop on the grease clog within the pipes are a hotbed for bacteria that infect your drainage system and cause health issues within the home.
What To Do If You’ve Already Poured Grease Down The Drain
The ideal situation is to have a homemade grease trap, or grease interceptor so that no grease goes down your drain at all. However, if you have already made the mistake of pouring bacon grease down your kitchen drain before reading this piece, it doesn’t mean that you have to move houses or anything drastic. There is a simple remedy you can use to reduce the amount of damage that this grease can cause.
Simply pour a pot of boiling water down the drain. Do so in a steady manner while squirting some dish soap or baking soda down there too. You can also leave the hot water faucet running for a few minutes. This should help to re-liquefy the solid grease in the pipes and wash it down the system.
While this remedy works, it’s not something you should do every day. The best preventive measure to take is to use a grease trap.
How To Build A Homemade Grease Trap
If you are an avid DIY enthusiast who prefers to “MacGyver” your way through pretty much anything, then grease trap installation should be an exciting project. With the right kind of knowledge, a functional grease interceptor isn’t that difficult to fashion.
Here are some tips that should help you through the entire process:
- Pick the right spot to put your DIY grease trap. For the most part, keeping it under your kitchen sink is the most ideal location. It’s within reach yet squared away.
- Once you have selected the perfect spot, find an empty gallon bucket or a used plastic container with a lid. You can pick whatever grease pan size you would like it to be, depending on the space available under your kitchen sink.
- You should also have a dedicated funnel near the gallon or container. This is what you will use to funnel the oil through and into the container to avoid any spillage.
- Make sure the container has a lid that you can use to seal it to avoid any unpleasant smells coming from the funneled grease.
This is what you are going to be using as your grease interceptor. It’s simple, effective, and cheap.
All you have to do is make sure that the container is properly sealed every time you pour in more grease. Once it gets full, seal it up completely and dispose of it in the trash. After that, simply find a new container and repeat the process all over again.
Who Needs To Use A Grease Trap?
You might be thinking to yourself: “I don’t do that much cooking. Do I really need a grease trap?” Some residential kitchens don’t see that much action, and even when they do, it’s probably just heating some take-out in the microwave and maybe just a bit of cooking on the weekends.
Or maybe you have a special grease drip cup where you catch and dispose of your grease. With this kind of setup, it’s difficult to see why you would need a grease trap in your home. So who does need a grease trap?
Any kitchen that cooks with FOG (fats, oils, and grease) must have a grease interceptor. However, having a grease trap is always a good idea when it comes to private residences, but not as critical as it is in commercial or busier kitchens.
That, however, doesn’t mean that you can ignore the need for a grease trap in your home because, let’s face it, no matter how devoid of action your kitchen might be, there are always those chances where you find yourself cooking something that produces grease as a byproduct.
Even if this is just once every month or so, pouring that grease down the drain could still very well cause you problems in the long run. To avoid a future clogged drain, it’s just best to have a grease trap handy.
That being said, restaurants and any business that deals in food preparation, such as food trucks, need to have a grease trap handy. Because these places deal with so many food particles ending up down the drain, you will find these requirements set forth by the local government agencies. Bakeries, coffee shops, and so on should have grease traps.
However, other food establishments such as ice cream parlors and yogurt shops don’t need to have a grease trap unless they make their own baked goods on-site.
Should You Clean A Grease Trap?
Let say that you aren’t keen on throwing away the plastic containers you are using as your DIY grease trap. Let’s take a look at how grease trap cleaning can help.
- Find a container that you can dispose of once you are through.
- Transfer the grease to this container.
- Take hot water and pour it into the first container (the one you intend to keep using as your grease trap).
- Swirl the hot water around the grease trap (carefully) to melt the fat and grease clinging to the sides of the container.
- Pour that mixture into the container that you intend to throw away.
- Using moderately hot water, put some dishwashing soap into the container you intend to keep and wash it thoroughly. Pour that out into the container you intend to dispose of and rinse the container you intend to keep with clean cold/water.
- Seal the container you intend to dispose of and put the grease trap back under the sink for reuse.
Do you need a grease trap? Yes, most probably. Do you have to buy one? Not really. With these DIY tips, you can make your own homemade grease trap to keep your pipes free from clogs.
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BrantI'm passionate about all things plumbing, and love sharing tips, "how-to", and reviewing the latest products to help make your project a success!
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