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  • What Do Kitchen Grease Traps And Interceptors Do? | Roto-Rooter

    Grease traps are vital for any restaurantModern plumbing ideas and techniques can be traced back hundreds of years to various civilizations.

    An early idea that is still widely used today is the use of grease traps and interceptors. These pieces of equipment are instrumental in helping to protect sewer systems from backing up and causing serious plumbing issues.

    What are grease traps?

    Grease traps are plumbing devices whose purpose is to collect grease and other solids before they enter wastewater systems. A large buildup of thick substances, like fats and oils, are known to cause sewer backups.

    Where are interceptors used?

    Kitchen grease traps are basically mainly used in restaurants and other places where there's a lot of cooking.

    Restaurants and food service kitchens are usually responsible for producing the highest amounts of grease. These establishments have to take into account the many sources grease can come from. Cooking appliances are major producers of grease, but so too are dishwashing areas.

    Interestingly, it's not uncommon for municipalities in the U.S. to require kitchens and food service areas to install and maintain grease interceptors. To ensure these plumbing devices are working at optimal levels. Restaurant management staff and municipalities should routinely inspect these systems.

    Types of grease traps

    There are three different types of grease traps.

    The most common interceptor is known as a passive grease trap. These are plumbing devices found under sinks with three compartments. While passive interceptors are the most common, most residential households do not have grease traps because they simply don't produce enough kitchen grease to need one. Instead, grease traps are common at restaurants.

    Grease recovery devices are the second subset. Essentially, a GRD will remove grease automatically once it's trapped. Grease can then be collected and recycled with waste vegetable oil collected from a deep fryer.

    An in-ground grease trap is the last type, and second most commonly used in restaurants. According to the Webstaurant Store, these devices not only capture grease, but also oil, sediment and lint, among other solids.

    In-ground interceptors are typically constructed out of steel or fiberglass and large enough to handle the needs of large restaurants and even hospitals or school cafeterias. In most instances, larger grease interceptors usually need to abide by certain health and safety codes.

    Help with the interceptor

    Due to the importance of grease traps, it's important for grease traps to be regularly maintained. If restaurants or other commercial services need help with cleaning or liquid waste pumping, they should contact Roto-Rooter for professional help.


  • Commercial Sewer Cleaning is Just the Beginning | Roto-Rooter

    When you own a business, for better or worse, it can become like a second home. That's why it makes sense to take maintenance and repairs just as seriously at your workplace as you do at home. Roto-Rooter is trusted around the nation for its full spectrum of commercial plumbing services for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Whether it's a routine drain cleaning or a plumbing emergency, the experts at Roto-Rooter are on call to help.

    Drain servicesEvery business needs a reliable plumbing professional to diagnose issues.

    Keeping drains clean and clear is vital for a number of industries. Roto-Rooter offers commercial sewer cleaning and a host of other services for businesses, including:

    No matter what the issue may be, your local plumbing professionals will have the best tools for the job. To diagnose major issues deep within drains, Roto-Rooter technicians utilize high-tech camera systems to spot blockages several feet beneath the surface. Once they've spotted the problem, they can then use high-pressure water jetting to penetrate through thick grease, sludge or roots that may be disrupting water flow. All of this is done non-invasively and without major disruption to business operations.

    Water damage restoration and cleanup

    When a flood or sewer backup strikes, it can spell disaster for any building. Just a couple inches of water can cause serious damage and potentially harmful health hazards.

    Water restoration experts at Roto-Rooter are capable of not only cleaning up after these accidents, but making sure they don't happen again. In the event of a broken pipe or sewer backup, certified restoration professionals can perform a range of cleanup services to remove dangerous wastewater, bacteria and odors.

    Once things are looking like new again, it's vital that steps are taken to prevent the same issue in the future. Restoration experts can then search for hidden water leaks and repair them accordingly. This includes basic pipes and plumbing, as well as sewers, drains, slab pipes or plumbing hidden behind walls. Using the best tools of the trade, it's possible to get a business up and running quickly while being assured that everything is safe.

    No matter what your business needs, Roto-Rooter can provide it. Call your local Roto-Rooter commercial plumbing professionals to learn more.


  • 5 Important Questions to Ask a Commercial Plumbing Contractor

    Commercial teamCommercial plumbing can differ significantly from residential plumbing. Your business has to run efficiently to make a profit, and depending on the type of business you have, a plumbing or drain problem can affect the bottom line. It could be a minor nuisance that closes your bathrooms for an hour or two or it could be catastrophic plumbing failure that brings your business to a standstill.

    You don't want to make costly mistakes when it comes to your commercial plumbing. Hiring a licensed plumber with commercial plumbing experience isn’t as simple as it should be, and there are several things that you don't want to go wrong during the process. In order to ensure that your commercial plumbing needs are met and the best possible services rendered, you'll have to shop around before making your decision.

    Here are five questions you need to ask before securing the services of a commercial plumbing contractor:

    1. Is the plumber licensed, experienced and insured?

    Licensed plumbers will be more likely to have the knowledge necessary to ensure any work you have done follows all plumbing and building codes; liability insurance will protect both parties in the unlikely event of a costly mistake. Both are critical when it comes to hiring a commercial plumbing contractor. Remember, commercial plumber should be experienced with plumbing repairs and maintenance for businesses of all types. Think of the many types of businesses that rely on plumbers. Everything from a gas station to a restaurant to a manufacturing plant needs working plumbing so the commercial plumber you hire should have experience fixing the plumbing in your specific type of business.

    2. Does the plumbing company charge for estimates?

    Before the plumber comes out to your business, make sure you know whether or not you'll be charged for the inspection. It depends on the plumbing company whether or not this fee will be assessed. Sometimes these fees are call “trip charges.” That’s just the cost for the plumber to stop by and make an assessment of your problem before any real work begins.

    3. Are rates hourly or does the plumber charge a flat rate fee?

    In order to avoid unnecessary overages, check to make sure the number the plumber quotes you is either all-inclusive of the labor and parts necessary or if you will be charged by the hour. You don't want to get nickel-and-dimed by the company for unknown charges. It pays to know exactly what they're charging you for and how they're levying those charges.

    4. How long has the plumbing company been in business?

    Commercial plumbers that have been around for a while will be more likely to have favorable reviews from the community. In addition, an older, better established company is more likely to have experienced plumbers with proven track records for good quality work. Established companies are also more likely to provide 24-hour emergency service. Remember, your business may be at a standstill until the plumber can fix the problem.

    5. What is the warranty policy?

    It's important for plumbers to guarantee their labor when they are rendering services to your business. Be sure to learn what the protocol is for claiming a warranty before you sign on the dotted line. Most often the plumbing fixtures are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty but you should be concerned about how long the plumber will guarantee his work (labor).

    When you partner with Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service, you will get upfront answers to these questions. Additionally, Roto-Rooter has locations from coast-to-coast in every population center over 25,000 people. That’s important if your business has multiple locations across state or across the country. Get in touch with your local commercial plumbing expert at Roto-Rooter today for more information.


  • Shape Up for the Season with These Seven Tips | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Fall is coming—and while it’s not as ominous as winter, even slight dips in temperature can throw your commercial building’s systems out of whack. Here are seven tips to make sure your building is prepared for the new season.

    1. Fall is the best time to prepare your landscaping for spring. Inspect dead trees and shrubs that may need replacement and take care of any mulching and weeding before winter comes. Clean out your roof drains and inspect any skylights for damage.

    1. If the age of your HVAC system is nearing the double digits, you should consider replacing them before the temperatures drop. Many older gas furnaces only work at 50% efficiency while new furnaces have ratings of 92%–98% efficiency. If you don’t need a replacement, it’s still important to check the furnace for cracks and have it professionally cleaned.

    1. Open the supply registers on lower levels of your building and close ones on the upper levels. This can help your commercial system heat quickly and efficiently when the time comes.

    1. Cooler seasons can take a big toll on your sewers and septic system. The beginning of fall is the best time to conduct routine maintenance and check for any damage. This is also a great time to drain your septic tank if you have one. Roto-Rooter is always available for any of your plumbing needs or questions; just call 1-800-GET-ROTO.

    1. While frost might not seem like an issue just yet, it can surprise us when we least expect it. Keep your eye on the forecast for unseasonably low temperatures. If you see a dip into colder weather, detach your hoses from the outside taps. If you have an underground sprinkler system, drain and turn off those pipes as well.

    1. For many regions, the new season can bring a lot of rainfall. Evaluate your storm pipes, catch basins and discharge pipes for deterioration or blocks. Repair any damages and remove any plants that may be impeding the system.

    1. Ensure that your hot water tank is working properly by checking the bottom of the pan for excess water. If the tank is leaking or if you find water at the bottom, you should call the professionals at Roto-Rooter immediately to fix the problem.


  • 10 Traits of a Terrific Landlord | Roto-Rooter Blog

    Managing property isn’t as easy as you’d think—there are a lot of things even the best landlords forget. Keep your business running smoothly by keeping these ten tips in mind.

    1. The Golden Rule

    We’ll start with the basics: treat tenants how you’d want to be treated—with the utmost respect. Whether it’s a rent delay or consistent complaints, responding with respect can be a challenge. A great way to deal with repetitive requests is to learn what makes your tenants tick and work proactively to solve those problems. Communicate clearly and empathetically with everyone to work through each problem.

    2. Keep your promises

    If you say it’ll be fixed on Tuesday, fix it on Tuesday. This means properly resourcing. Make sure you have a trustworthy resource that will fix it right the first time. Roto-Rooter is always available 24/7 for plumbing, water excavation and maintenance. Simply call 1-800-GET-ROTO.

    3. Be picky

    It’s easy to accept prospective tenants because you need the income, but some tenants turn out to be terrible. If one person presents a plethora of issues or demands early, it could be a sign of an unruly resident. Review your rent procedures and background-checking services and reference the latest guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    4. Make it pretty

    You can keep your property in tip-top shape by keeping up with ongoing problems and working to prevent new ones. Swift repairs and preventative maintenance by qualified professionals like Roto-Rooter can save you a lot of money in the long run.

    5. It’s all business

    Make sure you are running your property like a business. Using a move-in/move-out report will minimize problems before they happen. Include your house rules as part of the leasing process and be clear about your expectations.

    6. Prepare your personnel

    When onboarding a new employee, an orientation booklet and training can be imperative to getting the right result. Ideally, you should incorporate this into the interview process. One of the most common complaints in apartment management is often directed toward one specific employee.

    7. Work the floor

    If you can’t work the floor, you can’t manage the floor. Staying present on the premises and being involved in day-to-day activities can go a long way in understanding your property. Speak regularly with employees, contractors and tenants to stay aware of everything.

    8. Write it down

    Make sure to get everything in writing. A written lease or a month-to-month rental agreement will record important matters, including tenant complaints and repairs as well as the notices you’ll need to give to enter a tenant’s apartment.

    9. Safety first

    Make sure your property is secure. There are a few things you can do to deter criminals from picking on your property. Some easy steps include ensuring ample amounts of lighting as well as maintaining a trimmed landscape.

    10. Be transparent

    If there are environmental hazards such as lead or mold on the property, make sure to tell your tenants. Landlords are liable for many tenant health issues, especially those resulting from exposure to toxins. Your residents will appreciate your honesty.


  • Common Office Plumbing Issues in St. Paul | Roto-Rooter

    BathroomIt doesn't matter if your place of business has 10 employees or 100, plumbing issues will be inevitable. However, you can take conscious steps to ensure these problems don't get serious. Here are some of the most common plumbing issues for your St. Paul, Minnesota, office and how to fix them:

    A clogged toilet

    You probably have experienced a clogged toilet at home before. At an office, more people are using the toilets and urinals, so a backup may occur on a regular basis. In public places, people are a lot more likely to flush items they shouldn't causing the fixtures to back up. If this happens often in your office, be sure to put up a sign on the doors noting not to. In addition, place waste baskets in between all the stalls so the ladies can easily pitch these things in the trash.

    Water that's too hot or cold

    Have you ever tried to wash your hands in the office's kitchen only to be met with freezing water from the faucet? If this is a common occurrence, your building's central water heater might not be working properly. Sometimes this can be fixed by simply resetting the heather, but in other cases it requires the work from a professional plumber.

    The same goes for water pressure. If you notice the faucet isn't spewing out water at its normal rate, it can be because your aerator is blocked or the fixture needs to be replaced completely. If your faucet pressure is lower than usual, don't ignore the problem - get it looked at.

    Bad odor

    No one expects plumbing fixtures to smell like roses, but if you notice something particularly odorous, it could be a part of a larger issue. Many smells can be a telltale sign there's water leakage. If you sniff something off, call your local St. Paul Roto-Rooter plumber to take a look.

    A green solution

    There are plenty of ways to make your office's plumbing more environmentally friendly. Your building can install high-efficiency toilets. These are fixtures that use less water - some only 1.1 gallons per flush. Dual-flush toilets, which are fixtures that separate liquid and solid waste, are also popular in buildings. Replacing your old toilets is an essential step in making your building more green and saving money.


  • Grease Trap Cleaning Services | Roto-Rooter

    If you're in the restaurant business, chances are you know what a grease trap is. But other commercial industries also make use of grease traps, perhaps just not as frequently. A grease trap is a plumbing device that intercepts most solids and greases before they enter your sewage system lines. But like all plumbing parts, grease traps require regular maintenance 

    Why do you need regular grease trap service? 

    Grease can build up quickly in your pipes and cause a backup – something you absolutely do not want, especially during a busy mealtime. Not having preventive grease trap service could cost you a lot in lost income if you are unable to serve customers due to a plumbing backup. Restaurants are especially at a risk for backups if they run food down the garbage disposal, as food particles can fill up the grease trap and create a sewer line clog. 

    What does grease trap service involve? 

    Essentially, grease trap service means a professional plumber completely drains, scrapes, and removes additional solids and greases from the trap. At Roto-Rooter, we ensure all odor is eliminated and all hardened grease is totally gone. We then dispose of grease trap waste at licensed processing facilities, which means we protect the environment from any related health or safety risks.  

    How often should grease trap service be scheduled? 

    It's suggested that your staff do a cursory cleaning of the grease trap every week to reduce maintenance costs and lower the risk of a backup. However, some city or state regulations require that restaurants do a full cleaning at least once a month.  

    What are some grease trap best practices? 

    Here are three basic tips for using your grease trap properly: 

    • Don't pour grease down your sinks or toilets. It will harden and stick to your pipes. In addition, food particles will stick to the grease and together they'll create clogs.  

    • Recycle waste cooking oil. If you're wondering what to do with the grease you'd normally pour down the sink, simply recycle it. It can be turned into biofuel and used to heat and generate power for your business – saving you money and being kind to the environment at the same time. 

    • Avoid or limit garbage disposal usage. Food particles can fill up your grease trap, so the less you put down your sink, the slower it fills up – and the less often you need maintenance. 


  • Three Signs It's Time to Update Your Lavatory Faucets

    When it comes to remodeling, the choice to update your facility's lavatory faucets is a no brainer. There are so many types of lavatory faucets to consider, with a variety of styles from vintage to modern, as well as several finishes to choose from. In addition, you can find faucets that are motion-activated, bacteria-killing, and much more. But what if it's not in your budget to remodel, or it's simply not time for a total makeover? How do you know when it's time to update your lavatory faucets? Here are three signs to help you make your decision:

    • You've noticed restricted water flow. It probably doesn't come as a surprise that sediment can build up on a faucet and cause water to come out much slower or at odd angles. Fortunately, there are many cleaning solutions for such sediment. But did you also know that sediment can build up inside the faucet? Rust can also accumulate, and faucet leaks can occur, restricting the flow and making your lavatory faucets far less effective. If you're seeing this happen with your faucets, it's time for a replacement.

    • Your company is moving toward more environmentally friendly initiatives. If you're trying to be more eco-conscious about the choices your company makes as a whole, then think about replacing your lavatory faucets with low-flow alternatives. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, WaterSense-labeled faucets that use no more than 1.5 gallons per minute can decrease the water flow from a single sink by 30% as compared with conventional faucets that have a flow of 2.2 gallons per minute.

    • You want more bang for your buck. In addition to conserving water through the use of WaterSense lavatory faucets, you'll likely save money on your monthly utility bill. If your facility has multiple lavatory faucets, the savings will be multiplied. The best part is that these types of faucets often do not cost much more than conventional ones, so you're not spending the life of the faucet trying to recoup what you spent on it, as is the case with many green products.

    If you recognize any of these signs at your own facilities, it's time to consider updating your lavatory faucets. While you're at it, think about replacing your toilets (or toilet parts) and showerheads with low-flow options too.


  • Four Trends in Commercial Faucets in 2015 | Roto-Rooter

    When it comes to bathroom fixtures in your commercial building, there's a fine balance you hope to strike—that between what is affordable and what is quality. In particular, when customers and employees will be using the sink at your facility or store, it's important to have commercial faucets that are attractive and convenient. It's also nice if these commercial faucets promote a better bottom line. Check out the following four trends in commercial faucets to get the latest scoop on which trends to track and follow:

    • Highly efficient. It may come as no surprise that people in general tend to be wasteful when it comes to water. It's vital that we conserve our water as much as possible through initiatives that encourage fixing leaky faucets and other sustainability measures. One of these measures is to purchase Watersense commercial faucets for all of your facility's sinks. These low-flow alternatives will use less water and help your business become more environmentally friendly.

    • Bacteria-killing. Certain commercial buildings, especially hospitals and doctors' offices, could benefit from following this trend. Antimicrobial copper-alloy touch surfaces on commercial faucets can help to kill bacteria and reduce infection—always a helpful thing when multiple people will be using your sinks throughout the day.

    • Motion-activated. While this is nothing terribly new, more industrial buildings are being fitted with commercial faucets activated by motion. This is not only more sanitary—since people don't have to touch the same faucet thousands of others have touched—but it uses less water than conventional faucets because the water isn't left running when hands are not actually being washed.

    • Ceramic disc faucets. These commercial faucets use two fire-hardened discs that move in such a way as to create a water seal. This means valves have to be replaced less often because they're more durable and impervious to mineral buildups and line debris.

    If you're looking to upgrade or replace your commercial faucets, follow these trends to find the faucet that offers the eco-friendly, functional features that fit your facility the best. Start shopping today!


  • Waste Cooking Oil Recycling Ideas & Uses | Roto-Rooter

    Have you ever heard the phrase, "Waste not, want not"? Whether you're a business owner or a homeowner, everyone is looking for ways to save money – and oftentimes, that means finding creative uses for common items. Did you know that waste cooking oil doesn't have to be thrown out once it's used? Instead of allowing it to rot your compost heap or clog kitchen garbage disposals when you dispose of it, try recycling waste cooking oil. Here are a few uses for it: 

    • Soap. Once used vegetable oil is filtered and cleaned of solids, you can use it to make wonderful soap – a commodity we all have need of every day! 

    • Emergency lamps. While flashlights work great during a power outage, lamps are better for prolonged outages. Use filtered waste cooking oil in your oil lamps during emergencies. 

    • Ant poison. Many have found used cooking oil to be an effective way to dispose of pests like ants.  

    • Animal feed. While it has traditionally been used in feed for farm animals, many people also pour waste cooking oil over their pets' food to add extra flavoring. 

    • Dust suppression. If you're looking for a way to keep dust at bay – during construction or drilling projects, for example – give waste cooking oil a try. 

    • Biofuels. Many restaurants are converting their waste cooking oils into biofuels, which in turn helps generate power and heat. According to The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), vegetable oil burns more cleanly than does fossil fuel. In addition, it does not have an adverse impact on the environment 

    • Diesel fuel. With proper conversion techniques, waste cooking oil can be transformed into a diesel fuel that's perfect for older vehicles and tractors.  

    Before using your waste cooking oil for any other purpose, be sure to do your research. In some cases, the oil should not have been heated over a certain heat. Don't forget you can also often reuse your oil to cook or fry your food, so long as it's not burnt.  

    Whatever you do, don't dispose of your waste cooking oil down the drain, as this can jam your garbage disposal and clog your pipes. This is especially important to remember during the holidays, when most people use the kitchen a lot and have a lot of waste cooking oil they need to dispose of. So put on your thinking cap and consider ways to save your waste cooking oil for other purposes – and save yourself some money.


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