What's Going On With Your Restaurant's Clogged Drains?

People who don't work in the restaurant industry rarely understand just how important plumbing is to any foodservice business. Not only do you rely on your water supply for cooking and cleaning, but your drains are essential for nearly every step in the food preparation process. When your business suffers from persistent clogging problems, it can grind your operations to a crawl or stop them entirely.

Fortunately, constant clogging is not something that you need to tolerate. If you find that your drains back up too frequently, then your restaurant may be suffering from one of these common (and frustrating) issues.

1. Grease Trap Issues

Grease traps help you avoid the most severe issue facing any restaurant drainage system: grease, oil, and fat. These relatively simple devices save your staff from separating these contaminants from other waste, but they can also be a source of trouble. If your grease traps aren't functioning adequately, then it can lead to troublesome clogs deeper in your plumbing.

In most cases, grease traps problems result from the related issues of inadequate sizing or internal clogs. When your grease trap is too small, it may rapidly become filled. Once a grease trap fills up, the ingoing and outgoing lines can become clogged. These clogs can cause grease and oil to flow into the main drain and create persistent blockages deeper in your plumbing.

2. Too Much Food Waste

Grease going down the drain is unavoidable in a restaurant, but food scraps are a much more easily avoided issue. You should always ensure that your kitchen staff removes as much waste from plates and equipment as possible before cleaning. Your grease trap should manage small food particles on its own, but larger scraps can cause clogs almost anywhere in your drainage system.

If you find that your drains consistently become clogged with food waste, then it may be an issue with kitchen staff misusing the drains. You may also want to consider installing a heavy-duty garbage disposal to help manage your food waste – just be sure your team understands how to use it properly to avoid additional clogs.

3. Inadequate Cleaning

No matter how careful you are, your restaurant's drains will require occasional cleaning. If you use a whole-building grease trap (or grease interceptor), then it's a good idea to schedule routine cleanings with a professional. In addition to emptying your grease traps on a regular schedule, hiring a commercial plumbing service to clean your restaurant's drains several times per year can help to prevent back-ups.

A clogged drain in your home can be an annoyance, but a blocked drain in a restaurant can quickly become a costly disaster. Understanding the causes of persistent clogs and taking steps to prevent them can help to save your business money while keeping your customers well-fed and happy.