Anyone who has refrigerated a greasy dish is all too familiar with how grease and the cold interact. And like with all things, the more you scale it up, the faster the transition from “nuisance” to “problem” will occur. For a restaurant’s grease trap – especially exterior and in-ground grease traps – this can turn a functioning and vital part of your restaurant into a problematic blockage. Today we’re going to look at how cold grease traps can give you problems and how to address them.
Problems for Wintertime Grease Traps
Winter, ice, and snow are always hassles for restaurants, especially when it comes to access to your restaurant for employees, customers, and vendors (including grease trap maintenance). A few problems to keep in mind and what you should do about them:
- Keep Your Service Areas Open: Alongside your parking lots, sidewalks, and customer entrances, make sure you’re getting service areas for vendors open, including parking for their trucks.
- Check for Damage to Grease Trap Coverings: Snowplows are notorious for damaging infrastructure. Make sure your grease trap cover wasn’t damaged, allowing it to be still accessed and that it isn’t broken, as that can pose a safety hazard to staff and customers.
- Monitor Grease Traps: Overnight grease traps can freeze solid. Make sure to monitor them, especially in the morning and evenings, to make sure the water is flowing and you’re not about to get an overflow.
Handing Frozen Grease Traps and Oil Containers
Depending on your restaurant’s setup, you’ve got two different types of grease traps and methods of dealing with them.
For Internal Grease Traps
If your grease trap is installed inside, check them in the mornings. If they are frozen solid, you’ve got a couple of options. You can get hands-on and apply hot water and break up the layer. Or you can start keeping the heat on in the room overnight to avoid freezing in the first place.
For External Grease Traps
If your grease trap is outside, you may need to think about relocation if the freezing is a constant issue. As a temporary solution, much like with pipes freezing, you can leave a steady trickle of water to avoid letting the trap freeze solid. Alternatively, you may need a new grease trap installed, either indoors or in an exterior shed or other structure. Talk with a specialist before making any new installations.
WVO Oil Containers
Another common feature is Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) containers. Many businesses keep these containers to store and sell their WVO to companies. However, these containers can freeze during the winter, meaning any fixed storage can be inaccessible for removal. We suggest working with companies that can swap out containers instead of using fixed systems.
The last thing you want this Christmas is an overflowing grease trap. In addition to all the above advice, think about stepping up your grease trap maintenance and reducing the waste that flows into them. If you’re looking to avoid holiday emergencies or if you currently have one, contact the Food Grease Trappers. We service much of New England, and can also provide consultations and quotes online or over the phone.