If you hire entry-level servers and cooks for your kitchen, you should go over how to properly dispose of cooking oil and grease. If employees just pour fat, oil, and grease (FOGs) down the drain, then they can wreak havoc on your restaurant’s plumbing system.
Why Can’t You Pour FOG Cooking Products Down the Drain?
At first, it may seem like no big deal. If these products are still warm and poured down the drain with warm water, they may be in a thin liquid form. However, once FOGs settle in your pipes, they become cold. When exposed to cold temperatures, FOGs will congeal and solidify.
If you try to overcompensate and use hot water to push the FOGs down the drain, this is also bad — the hot water can melt the grease and let it go further down the drain before it solidifies.
When FOGs break down, they separate into glycerol and fatty acids. The fatty acids can bind to calcium found in sewer lines. This can cause backups since the combination of calcium and fatty acids can create large soap-like globs.
Why Are Restaurant Drains Especially Important to Keep Clean?
Your restaurant will likely use more FOGs than the average homeowner since you cook all day, so, you need to follow proper protocols and keep them clean.
Restaurant drains that aren’t kept clean can:
- Raise maintenance costs since equipment may break down due to backups in drain lines
- Raise the risk of kitchen fires since grease is highly flammable
- Cause health code violations since restaurants are required to have clean grease traps
- Cause your employees and customers to become sick because clogged drains can emit odors and fumes and cause contaminated water
Don’t let these issues happen to your drains.
How Can You Avoid Clogged Drains?
Even if a lot of FOGs haven’t been used, have your employees wipe down pots, pans, and plates (once they’ve cooled) with a paper towel. Once wiped down, the dishware should go in the sink.
Have your employees chill any FOGs after cooking so that they solidify. Once they are hard, your employees can put them in a disposable container and throw them away.
If you want your restaurant to be more eco-friendly, find a recycling center that takes cooking oils. Some FOGs are reusable for heating oils and renewable fuels.
Check your state and city laws for recycling usage within the restaurant. You could be allowed to refrigerate fats to reuse later for sautéing. Some restaurants are able to filter and reuse large amounts of frying oil.
How Can You Clean FOG Clogs?
If your drains have backed up from FOGs, don’t wait — you want to keep your restaurant safe for both employees and customers.
You may be tempted to use an over-the-counter cleaner to clear FOGs, but that’s not a good idea. A lot of cleaners use caustic chemicals that will not only eat through cooking debris, but through pipes as well. Chemical drain cleaners can damage iron, PVC, steel, and copper pipes and cause your restaurant equipment to wear out.
Instead, contact a professional for FOG-related plumbing issues. Professional plumbers can use hydro-jetting to remove grease and sludge from your pipes. Hydro-jetting is simply the process of using high-pressured water flow to loosen debris.
Before they start, the technicians will conduct a video inspection to see exactly where the FOGs have built up and where they need to focus. Besides hydro-jetting, the technicians can also use Bio-Clean. Bio-Clean is a chemical product that is safe for your pipes. It contains enzymes that will only eat away at FOGs.
Contact us at Two Men And A Snake today to keep your restaurant’s plumbing in good shape.