Why a Steam Trap Survey?

CBLE Steam Boiler Installation

How your Facility Performance can Benefit from a Steam Trap Survey?

We at Thermal Tech have been in the boiler business since 1984 selling and servicing boilers and related equipment in Central Florida.  When dealing with steam, we have to look beyond the boiler for inefficiencies and a large contributor to that is steam traps. For that, we offer Steam Trap Surveys. 

A Steam Trap Survey is a review of your facilities’ steam system to identify oversized, misapplied, failing or leaky steam traps. First, we’ll explain the basics of what is involved and why your facility would benefit from one. Identifying these traps will not only substantially cut energy waste, and fuel dollars spent, but will also optimize your plant’s performance, improve system reliability, reduce maintenance costs and increase uptime, all while also positively impacting the environment!

Remember a trap is put in the system to do three things: 

  1. Trap steam
  2. Remove condensate
  3. Remove air

There are basically four (4) types most commonly used, and they are Thermodynamic (TD), Balanced Pressure Thermostatic, Float & Thermostatic, and Inverted Bucket Traps. All of these traps have some limitations based on system conditions rendering one better applied in some applications versus another.

Here is why a Trap Survey and dutiful action will accomplish the benefits cited above.

Cut Energy Cost:

Replacing a failed trap(s) that is leaking or blowing through wastes the latent and sensible energy that went into the pound of water to make a pound of steam. This means many additional fuel dollars need to be spent to make up for this needless loss. Consider an amount of steam leaking through an orifice as small as a 1/8″ orifice, over the course of a year, when accounting for a 24/7 operation, the amount of wasted steam is HUGE relative to the amount of energy that can be saved once the leak or trap is fixed or replaced. The payback of the recovered steam can quickly justify the cost of repairs. 

Optimizing Plant Performance:

There are several things the system expert looks for which will impact plant performance, but the main things are proper drip leg location and size and system stall; condensate backing up into the heat exchange device slowing the process time or destroying the product. Improper drip leg location and size can lead to inadequate condensate removal because of piping exit deficit or loss of required trap pressure differential. And, besides drip leg location and size, system stall can also be caused from improper trap selection or trap fouling from dirt or corrosion. 

Improve System Reliability:

As stated above, traps are in the system to trap steam, remove condensate and assist in removing air. When condensate is not consistently removed from the system piping, carbon dioxide dissolves in the water forming carbonic acid (H2CO3) which will attack the carbon steel in the piping system causing numerous leaks. Its aggressiveness is further enhanced with any oxygen in the system which is why it’s very important to have air vents in the system augmenting the trap(s). The expert will be looking for these too.  

Reduce Maintenance Costs:

When condensate is not properly removed from the steam supply lines its volume decreases the inside pipe volume, increasing the velocity within the pipe which increases piping erosion, vibration and resultant noise. It can also cause very dangerous water hammer which may not only weaken and break piping joints but also gravely injure or kill plant personnel. These issues (if occurring) need to be recognized and addressed immediately.

Positively Impacting the Environment:

As mentioned above, dutiful trap monitoring and assuring proper trap operation will reduce energy costs substantially. In many cases, it’s upwards of 20-30%! This not only means lowering operational costs, but also lowering emissions to the atmosphere because you’re burning less fuel. A win-win situation!

Increased Uptime:

By optimizing plant performance and improving system reliability it stands to reason the boiler(s) will be staying online for as long as needed; delivering the steam they were purchased to deliver. From a productivity perspective, these dollars drop right to the bottom line.

Our Trap Survey includes the following:

  1. A complete list of the traps employed and their respective location.
  2. Testing of the traps using the latest testing equipment for assured accuracy.
  3. A report on the findings and recommended changes if any.
  4. A proposal covering the Audit plus labor & material to cover any changes.

Conserving Energy while improving Safety, Reliability, and the Environment are the staples of a well-run boiler operation. 

Call or message us to schedule a Steam Trap Survey.