The facility has approximately xxx steam traps. The purpose of a steam trap is to remove condensate from piping, radiators, heating coils and heat exchangers. When functioning properly the steam trap allows condensate to pass through the discharge orifice to the condensate system without permitting steam to pass. The discharge orifice is opened and closed by mechanical, thermostatic or thermodynamic action. Regardless of the method, each type of steam trap has a series of moving parts which are subject to wear, scale build up, or corrosion. Over time a steam trap may fail in the open or closed position.
A failed open steam trap will allow steam to pass into the condensate system. The live steam is lost outside through the condensate tank vent, which is a very significant and avoidable heat loss.
A steam trap failed closed will cause a build up of condensate back into the steam system. This can fill coils, radiators and heat exchangers and prevent them from functioning. Closed steam traps on piping systems can cause damaging water hammer.
We recommend instituting a regular steam trap inspection and repair program for the facility. The traps would be tested and inspected annually.
The most reliable method of inspection is with an ultrasonic leak detector. They allow the inspector to hear the operation of the trap to determine if it is leaking or plugged. During the initial inspection the traps will be tagged with unique identification numbers and entered into a database. The inspector will produce a report identifying the traps requiring repair or replacement.
Hire specialists to perform periodic steam trap inspections. Consider this approach if you cannot maintain a skilled in-house staff to do trap testing.
Issues and Concerns
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