A steam trap is a type of automatic valve that filters out condensate from steam and non-condensable gases such as air without letting steam escape. They are an essential part of steam heating systems, which use latent heat for heat transfer to a product. Most steam traps will also pass non-condensable gases while remaining tight to live steam. Un-drained condensate at PRV stations will back up into the steam line and will cause steam cutting on the surface seating of the heads and seats of the reducing trap valves. Steam traps are also used in conjunction with steam to water heat exchangers. There are Mechanical steam traps, thermodynamic steam traps, and thermostatic traps. Manley’s Boiler will help you navigate these many different types of steam traps.
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Types of Steam Traps
The main types of mechanical steam traps are inverted bucket traps, ball float traps, thermodynamic, and thermostatic steam traps.
Inverted Bucket Steam Trap
The most common and reliable mechanical traps is the inverted bucket steam trap. Its basic design made of cast iron utilizes a unique leverage system that multiplies force to open the valve against high pressure. The inverted bucket trap body is made of only two moving parts, so that there are no fixed points or linkage, reducing the chances it will bind or clog. Their soft open and close functions minimize the wear of the trap, so that it conveserves energy even after being exposed to steam pressure and high temperatures for a long time period. The inverted bucket is reliable, efficient, and will save your facility money on energy costs.
The most common inverted bucket steam traps we encounter are the 800-813 Series, specifically the 811 Series from Armstrong. The inverted bucket trap is also available from different manufacturers including Hoffman, Spirax-Sarco, and Watson McDaniel.
Float Steam Traps
The ball float trap operates by sensing the density in steam and condensate. The trap continuously discharges condensate at steam temperature. It also has a large capacity for its small size and is resistant to water hammer.
Thermodynamic and Thermostatic Steam Traps
The thermodynamic traps are simple traps which operate by means of flash steam as it goes through the trap. They can operate across their working range without adjustment and are compact and lightweight. There are limited moving parts, so maintenance is easily carried out.
Thermostatic Steam Traps operate on steam’s temperature difference from cooled condensate and air. It can be used for venting air from a system. When temperature drops, the thermostatic air vent discharges air below the steam temperature.
Benefits of Properly Functioning Steam Traps
- Extend the life of your steam system
- Reduce maintenance costs
- Improve safety & reliability
- Decrease fuel consumption
Steam Audits are necessary in maximizing the lifetime of your boiler system, improving safety, and ensuring that your system is running as efficiently as possible. Steam trap audits should be completed annually and are recommended to be replaced every 5 years. Our expert technicians utilize a pyrometer and a stethoscope to assess the status of your existing steam traps. A summary report is provided to tell you whether a steam trap is good, repairable, or should be replaced.
Steam trap audits are vital in ensuring that your system is efficient and safe. The cost of an annual steam audit is quickly compensated with energy savings and rebates. This rapid ROI makes an annual audit the simple choice!
Caring for Steam Traps
Any type of steam trap over 5 years old should typically be replaced. If you have not maintained your steam traps for 3-4 years, you are probably losing thousands in energy loss and don’t even know it.
Steam/Air Trap Audits and Surveys: Conduct an annual steam trap survey, with a trained technician using a pyrometer.
Typical steam traps aren’t expensive compared to energy loss, so when in doubt… replace it.
Energy Savings – Rebates
New steam traps can save thousands of dollars from the losses of example common systems.
There are many incentives and rebate programs opportunities to upgrade the steam-systems to highly efficient systems through State and local Utility programs.
Commercial clients are eligible for energy rebates.
Manley’s Boiler will assist with any paperwork to help obtain the rebates.