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Steam Trap Maintenance

Are Steam Trap Failures Costing You Thousands?

Steam traps are designed to prevent the loss of the BTU power in heat distribution lines. With a 5% annual failure rate, they must be checked on a regular basis. A malfunctioning steam trap will allow steam to escape into the condensate system or drain line. If you have not maintained your steam traps for 3-4 years, you probably have a 20% chance that you are losing thousands in energy loss and not even know it.

steam trap leaks

Two of the most common causes of trap failure are oversizing and dirt. Oversizing causes traps to work too hard. Dirt build-up, which is normal, can cause plugging or prevent a valve from closing. Here are some general indications of steam trap failure:

  • abnormally warm boiler room
  • condensate received venting steam
  • condensate pump water seal failing prematurely
  • overheating or underheating in conditioned space
  • boiler operating pressure difficult to maintain
  • vacuum in return lines difficult to maintain
  • water hammer in steam and condensate lines
  • steam in condensate return lines
  • higher than normal energy bill
  • inlet and outlest lines to trap nearly the same temperature

If you have reason to suspect that your steam traps might be failing, the next step is to test. You can do this by installing a test valve downstream, by using sound equipment to listen to the action of the trap, or by measuring the temperature differential on the inlet and outlet of the trap.

Case Study: Configured Heat Exchanger System

Webinar: Steam Trap Application and Maintenance

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