Restaurants – Cause Of Drain Problems

Paul Rowe

Why Do The Drains In My Restaurant Overflow?

People who own and manage restaurants have to deal with sewer drain blockages on a regular basis. This article is designed to help these people understand the dynamics of how grease affects the drainage system and how grease can quickly become a problem.

Restaurant owners and managers in San Francisco call us every day with drain problems.

In general the problem will be, all the floor drains in the kitchen and or the bar are starting to overflow. In short time the kitchen and bar staff is wading through inches of water. They will also find the drains in the bathrooms are also overflowing. The toilets have been shut down and if not addressed quickly, the restaurant will have to close its doors until fixed. On many occasions they tell us that they just had the drains snaked by a plumber only days or weeks before. That’s when we send one of our experienced plumbers to access the drain clog problem and look for the solution.

So, here is what causes drain problems in a restaurant.

Grease can build up quickly in a restaurant sewer drainRestaurants drains build up a lot of grease, this grease sticks to the sides of the pipes like glue and it builds up looking almost like white concrete on the sides of the pipe. Restaurants are constantly cleaning their dishes, in the hot water the grease is in it’s liquid form. When it is discharged into the sewer, the grease travels along the pipes in the warm water from the dish washing machine or sink. As the water travels through the pipes the water cools, the grease touches the side of the sewer pipe it cools, solidifies and sticks to the inside of the pipe.

Okay now you may think to yourself well, it must take a lot of grease for there be a problem. And my answer is yes it does take a lot of grease, but imagine a restaurant that has medium to high production is pumping grease down the drain for more that 8 hours every day.

How long does it take grease to build up inside the sewer drain?

In all of my 20 plus years of cleaning drain in restaurants I have noticed a normal restaurant that is open six days a week, the basic type like an Italian, Chinese, Pizza, Hamburger or regular American restaurant will build up enough grease in the drain within 3 to 4 months to create a sewer line blockage.

Over the course of 4 months the grease will build up enough to where if the pipe was 4″ internally which is the size of most sewer drains, it will be reduced in some areas to only an inch or two. All it takes is a build up of toilet paper, or a foreign object to get caught on the grease and there you have it, a sewer drain blockage.

So what is the solution? How should a restaurant deal with this situation so that the grease does not become a problem?

The solution to solve drain problems is proper drain cleaning using an industrial Hydro-Jet drain cleaning machine which uses high pressure water to, if done correctly, to scour the inside of the sewer pipes and completely remove the grease from the internal walls of the pipe.