Grease Trap At Home, Do I need it?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by rwcarpenter, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. rwcarpenter

    rwcarpenter New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Hi guys. I bought my home about a year ago and the sink started to flow really slowly recently, always was slower than other sinks, but now its unbearable. I mentioned it to my brother in law who was friends with the previous owners and he said its probably the grease trap, and that the grease had to be pumped out, that he helped them do it once, and never did again because the smell was awful.

    I then talked to a local plumber that I use to find out who to get to pump it out and he suggested someone, and then he said that a grease trap is not needed on a residential home, and bypassing it was an option. He told me to dig it up (to save the labor charges for him to dig it up) and that it would be about 3 ft outside the kitchen window, to leave him about a one foot wide trench on one side and on the in and out sides, and call him and he would come pipe around it and i could just leave it where it is.

    Does this sound like a good idea to you guys? If I do leave it in the ground, should I have someone pump it out after he pipes around it...or is it ok to leave a tank of grease in the ground? One additional detail, I am on well water...so should tank leakage concern me (the well is like 75 ft away).
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,342
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I've never heard of a grease trap for a residential home. I'm not a pro, and maybe one of them will have a different take on this, but I'd have the trap removed as suggested, then never pour grease into the drain. A small amount will always get in from washing skillets as such, but mixed with dish soap, a small amount will not cause a drain problem. I drain my pans into a disposable container then wipe them out with a paper towel before washing.
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,946
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    For grease traps, I use Bio-Clean

    Most resturants around here use it if they have grease traps.
  4. Inspektor Ludwig

    Inspektor Ludwig Journeyman/Inspector

    Messages:
    167
    Location:
    In the good ol' UPC
    I've never heard of a home having a grease trap either unless you like to fry donuts. Curious, your not pouring Crisco or bacon fat down the drain everyday are you? Unless you use alot saturated fat products I really don't see the need for a grease trap, if it even is a grease trap. I bet you've got quite alot more food bits in that trap than grease. By-pass it and either pull it out or fill it with sand and remove all plumbing pipes to it.
  5. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

    Messages:
    1,317
    Location:
    SW Florida
    I'll third the comment about a greasetrap in a home. Residential is usually excluded from the requirements for one. If you do have one it likely needs to be cleaned and as mentioned you could bypass it to avoid future issues.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,540
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    grease trap

    Grease traps were REQUIRED in residences in the Chicago area, at least until 1968 when I left there. My solution to the problem was to take a large metal bar and break off the clay tile outlet baffle tee, so the water could just run straight through it. Takes about 5 minutes and NO dollars.
  7. Inspektor Ludwig

    Inspektor Ludwig Journeyman/Inspector

    Messages:
    167
    Location:
    In the good ol' UPC
    They were required in Chicago? Wow that must have been something. Were they like those little dipper types installed outside? That would be a good punishment for a kid to clean out one of those.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,540
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    grease trap

    They were BIG dipper types. 3' in diameter and whatever depth needed depending on how deep the pipe came from the house, plus the depth below that. In one subdivision we used 24" cast iron ones in the utility room. They filled up with garbage disposer grindings in about 6 months and then I removed the baffle plate to allow flow through.
  9. rwcarpenter

    rwcarpenter New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Thanks for the comments and suggestions guys :)

    No grease down the sink around here, well at least not by us, however, we have only had the home a year so who knows what happened before then. My grease gets hauled off by the recycling guys.

    This home was built in 1967 and this think also is about a 3ft x 3ft one with a concrete lid, and the outlet looks like 8", the inlet is 2". My plumber was not surprised and said for a short period of time in the late 60s some new residential homes for reasons unknown to him put them in around here.

    The plumber or I could break out the baffle but I think I will pump it out and fill it in, or remove it, after all that is where I plan to pour a new slab for a new master and patio in a year or so, so its gotta go or be relocated in any case (as will the septic tank, the ac unit), and it will get rid of any concerns with leaving it there. I thought about doing it myself as I sometimes tend to do, but since he also needed some work done, I decided I would let him do that and I would work on his router and computer instead which is my area of expertise.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,540
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    trade

    In that case you are getting a bargain, because he will probably spend a lot more time on your job, than you will on his. I was the computer guru for a school, until last year, and built and maintained the 60 computer network.
  11. rwcarpenter

    rwcarpenter New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Well actually, I took an hour and 15 minutes, he took 45 minutes but he had a helper so I guess I was a little ahead since I did not have to pay anyone. We called it even and we were both happy, and so was my wife, so that is what matters :). I set up a wireless router last night, cleaned up the pc and did a few other little things...and since he didn't remember his ppp-oe password it slowed me down a bit since I prefer to bridge a dsl modem and do the ppp-oe in the router...well you know the drill.

    When I told him the line coming out of the grease pit was 8" pvc and he said that don't sound normal and to stop digging, that the out line normally is 3-4" maybe 6" at the most. He came out yesterday and looked and it did not head toward my septic tank, it headed toward the field line direction. He said well looks like they did not go into the septic tank but used its own field lines which is ok since its there, but kinda unusual...but bypassing it was not really an option as the field line would stop up eventually. So the new plan is that when I put in the new septic tank, we will get rid of the grease trap and then I can fill both in at the same time....so it works for me.

    The good news is pumping was not needed, he popped the top and the grease pit looked good (I did add some of the bio enzyme stuff a few months ago and it appeared to do a good job), only had about 1" grease on the top and the food particles in the bottom were not stopping up the baffle (my dishwasher goes to the septic tank via its own drain line). The real problem was between the vent pipe and the inlet somewhere as he snaked it through the roof vent got rid of lots of nasty chunks of stuff and slime in short order, then he cleaned the rest of the run from the kitchen sink.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,540
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    gt

    From your description, I am really not sure WHAT he did in those 45 minutes, since almost anything you describe might have taken almost that long just to diagnose it and get set up to do whatever needed to be done. You mean he was not one of those users who has his passwords etched into the bezel of the monitor?
  13. rwcarpenter

    rwcarpenter New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Well he was there before I got there, and already had the grease pit lid off, so it was more than 45 minutes come to think of it. So yea I guess I came out way ahead on that one ;). I revise it to say 45 minutes from when I got there.

    Yes, most of my clients do use the brand written on the front of the monitor as the password...:rolleyes:. Either he was more advanced than that or he bought a new monitor recently :D.
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