AugerPros Plumbing Blog

Common Restaurant Plumbing Problems

Try to prevent these common restaurant plumbing problems

Plumbing issues can cause restaurant owners major costs and huge headaches. The most prevalent reason for plumbing problems in restaurants is caused by clogged pipes, which make the plumbing back up, overflow, and not drain properly. This can all be prevented by properly training the staff where they should put leftover food and other materials instead of dumping everything down the drains. Our professional plumbers get called out to restaurants every day as a result of this.

Here are a few areas that you can focus your attention on as a restaurant owner to help prevent plumbing nightmares that will halt your business in its tracks:

Get a Grip On Restaurant Plumbing Problems Before They Escalate:

When was the last time you had a commercial plumbing risk assessment? If you don’t recall, the best method of prevention is to have one performed. The assessment should look at all plumbing issues that could lead to a catastrophe, including:

  • Aging water heater
  • Grease management (faulty and/or neglected grease traps)
  • Old, corroded pipes or improperly sized pipes
  • Broken or Leaky Faucets
  • Backed up toilets and sinks
  • Proper backflow inhibitor

While some of these checks you can do on your own, it’s best to have a professional restaurant plumber perform the inspection to be sure everything is in working order. They can also explain good “kitchen maintenance” to make keeping up with plumbing equipment easier.

Keep Bar Drains Clean:

If there is a bar in your restaurant-often times bartenders push leftover lime wedges, cherry stems, orange peels, and other cocktail-making materials down the drain. Bar staff needs to be trained to throw these items in the garbage instead to keep the bar’s plumbing pipes from backing up. If you’ve warned them many times and they can’t break the bad habit- install removable wire mesh so that they’ll have to pick them out and put them where they belong. Problem Solved!

Defective Gas Lines:

If you own a restaurant- more than likely you use gas stoves and gas ovens for cooking. It is imperative to make sure that your gas supply lines are regularly maintained. Auger Pros Plumbing installs and maintains gas lines. Call us for regular checkups and maintenance of your gas lines.

Gas leaks are a very dangerous plumbing concern in restaurants. It is not only detrimental to the environment but can also cause everything to go up in flames in an unexpected fire. The fire from gas leaks can blow up your entire building, harming, even fatally, employees and guests and having your business investment, quite literally up in smoke.

Properly Clean Your Fryers:

The fryers used in your kitchen can be the root of a very dangerous issue. These need to be properly pulled out, drained, and cleaned on a daily basis. However, when the employees pull these fryers out from the wall, occasionally the gas lines attached to them can begin to loosen. If the gas lines become unattached and begin to leak gas into the air, it can become a very volatile and dangerous situation. Gas combined with all the fire and sparks that happen in the kitchen, is a hazardous issue you want to avoid at all costs.

The employees responsible for cleaning the fryers need to be taught the proper way to handle the machines. They also need to be highly trained in the dangers associated with the gas lines becoming loose. Cleaning your grease traps and lines is also a requirement mandated by both the National Fire Protection Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Restroom Maintenance:

Your restaurant bathrooms get used nonstop, making the loo a top cause of restaurant plumbing problems. And it can’t be denied that customers might treat your little boys and girls’ room a little worse than they would in their own home! I have been flabbergasted at how disgusting some retail bathrooms can be. Things they’d never dream of putting down their toilet at home often get tossed in public restroom toilets. There are a few ways to prevent this:

  • Only allow customers/employees in your bathrooms to avoid unnecessary traffic.
  • Install hand dryers so that paper towels can’t be tossed into the toilet.
  • Make sure there are plenty of conveniently located sanitary disposal receptacles for feminine hygiene products so that they don’t get flushed.
  • Use drain covers for the urinals.
  • Have employees in charge of checking the state of the bathroom once every hour so if there’s an issue, it can be taken care of before it becomes an even larger problem. Have them write their name and time on a sheet by the door. Toilets can clog quickly and the problem can get worse in no time, so being watchful will ensure that the bathroom plumbing runs smoothly.

Despite the preventive measures, if a backed-up toilet is a frequently experienced plumbing concern in your restaurant, seek assistance from a professional.

Maintain Your Dishwashing Station:

The dishwashing station is where most restaurant plumbing issues occur. Frequently the staff does not properly clean the plates of leftover food, napkins, and straws, before handing them to the dishwasher. The dishwasher then sprays the plates off into the sink and all of the food and other material slips down the drain causing it to backup. A colossal clog in the making!

The best way to prevent this is to train the servers to dispose of leftover items in the garbage properly. As a backup, a simple way to keep this from happening is by using wire mesh. As mentioned above- the wire mesh can solve a lot of heartache down the road if used regularly.

Floor Drain:

A clear and clean floor is important for your staff’s safety and when the health inspector comes to visit. Oftentimes, the cleaning crew will spray down the floor and then squeegee all the water into the drain. This is perfectly fine, but they may also be throwing plastic silverware, straws, napkins, and more into the drain as well. As you would with the kitchen sink, install a mesh strainer or drain lock to prevent these items from entering your restaurant plumbing system.

Do Your Grease Lines Need To Be Cleaned?

Grease buildup in pipes is a particular challenge for restaurants that use a lot of grease during their cooking process and who also have busy traffic throughout the day. Depending on those factors in addition to the frequency of maintaining their drains, the likelihood of a backup due to grease is common. If you’ve noticed slow drainage in your floor drains, sink drains, and even dishwasher drain this can be a sign before a backup occurs. Back-ups are the number one sign that there has been a failure of some kind in your piping system. With the right maintenance and planning, back-ups like these can be prevented.

How To Unclog Grease In Kitchen Pipes?

The process of unclogging or servicing a routine cleaning of grease removal from your kitchen’s pipes is through “hydro jetting.” Jetting is similar to a car wash wand for your drains except with special heads that are specifically designed for cleaning the inside of pipes. For the best results to unclog or plan for a routine cleaning, call a hydro jetting plumber who will coordinate the cleaning of the kitchen drain lines with your existing grease trap pumping company.  Once the grease trap is pumped and clean, the hydro Jetter specialist jets the kitchen grease lines and evacuates the waste back into the grease trap.  The pumping company then simply cleans the waste from the trap and your restaurant grease system is fully cleaned.

Whatever your commercial restaurant pipe repair or plumbing needs are, Auger Pros Plumbing & Drain makes it our goal to provide you with long-lasting results. This includes most commercial plumbing tasks you can think of, such as:

  • Removing severe drain pipe clogging
  • Fixing restaurant plumbing fixtures 
  • Property-wide drain cleaning via hydro-jetting
  • Fully replacing collapsed pipe segments
  • Non-intrusive sewer video inspection

If a restaurant plumbing problem emergency happens, Give us a call so we can get your business running again smoothly in no time. One final tip? Create a plumbing emergency guidelines sheet for your staff. This way, they know what to do when there’s a problem, and who to call. Just make sure that number is (214) 206-6580 – you can count on Auger Pros Plumbing & Drain for all your restaurant plumbing needs!