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What Do Grease Traps and Interceptors Do?

grease traps
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Both grease traps and interceptors have similar functions in a commercial kitchen. They’re there to ensure that fats, oils, and grease (otherwise known as FOG) don’t end up in the local sewage pipes. While the average homeowner may dispose of their oil down the drain, (even though they shouldn’t), the amount of FOG found in a residential kitchen vs a commercial kitchen differs by a huge margin. Improper disposal, for both residential and commercial kitchens, can lead to drainage problems. Which will in turn lead to costly plumbing repairs or replacements.

Understanding Grease Traps

These are technically small units designed for commercial kitchens to remove excess FOG. You would typically find it near the sink. How do they work you may ask? Since the unit handles a lower amount of FOG by-product, it picks up excess FOG in wastewater from washing dishes in the kitchen. During this process, wastewater flows into a tank and the FOG by-products solidify. Remember that oil and water don’t mix. So, oils will float to the top while the water is able to drain out into the sewage system below. Grease traps stop FOG from entering and later damaging the local drain pipes.

Understanding Grease Interceptors

While traps handle smaller scale FOG output, grease interceptors do the same. Except grease interceptors operate on a much larger scale. The quantities of FOG that interceptors remove are much more than in a normal trap. These types of units can be found in larger commercial kitchens with a higher FOG output

Which One Works Best for You?

When it comes to deciding between a grease trap or interceptor, keep in mind what its purpose will be. A residential home will rarely have a daily mixture of fats, oils, and grease mixed into the wastewater. Commercial kitchens will need one of the two types of units for daily use. And, just as you probably suspected, there are a few things you should keep in mind when making your final decision.


When it comes to excess fats, oils, and grease, size does matter. If you think your daily FOG output is less than a small fridge’s worth, a grease trap may be suitable. If you think you’re going to exceed the mini-fridge amount – an interceptor is for you.


We all appreciate it when things flow smoothly. Traps can handle approximately 50 gallons per minute. While interceptors can handle much higher volumes. If you think your wastewater output will be more than 50 gallons, it’s best to go with an interceptor.


No human likes to be under constant pressure. The same applies to the equipment in a commercial kitchen. If the chosen unit isn’t up to scratch, you’re going to have a problem. Traps work better in low water flow environments, while interceptors are the complete opposite.


Due to the size differences, traps can be installed inside the kitchen. These units will generally go under the sink area. Grease interceptors are a little bit too big for that. These can generally be found outside the property and sometimes even below ground.


Commercial drain cleaning is a must for commercial kitchens. Regular maintenance will ensure that everything is in good working condition. Grease traps need near-daily or monthly maintenance. Grease interceptors need maintenance at least once every few months.

Staying On Top of Your Grease Trap with Art Rooter, Sewer & Drain Cleaning.

Before making your decision between a grease trap or an interceptor, it’s best to consult with a professional rooter from Art Rooter, Sewer & Drain Cleaning. Remember that commercial drain cleaning for restaurant plumbing will differ from residential properties. Having a professional on-call will make it easier on you. For more information or to schedule a drain service, call us today at 1-888-773-1524.


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