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Steam Trap and Insulation Surveys

This week, our Fun Fact Friday post will focus on Steam Trap and Insulation Surveys. The purpose of these surveys is to determine where improvements need to be made to increase energy efficiency.

Large buildings transfer heat throughout the facility using a steam transport system. This steam can be used for any task that may require the use of heat, such as heating the building through radiators and making hot water. Steam is made by heating water to its boiling point. It is then transported from the boiler through pipes to other areas of the building. As the steam is transported through the pipes, some of it cools and condenses into water. Small devices that open when they sense water, called steam traps, are utilized to remove the condensate water from the pipes to keep the system running effectively.

Hundreds of steam traps could be present in a steam transport system for a large building. Occasionally, the steam traps malfunction and do not remove the condensate from the system. This occurs when the steam traps do not sense the return of steam and fail to close, losing the steam produced to the condensation collection system.

The same loss of energy can stem from poorly insulated piping. When a building has poorly insulated piping, it requires an increased production of steam to heat the building as compared to the amount of steam it would take if the pipes were properly insulated.

Both malfunctioning steam traps and poorly insulated piping cause the system to lose heat. This situation also leads to a loss of money. Energy is purchased and used to heat the boiler, which then produces steam to heat the building. When a building needs more heat, the boiler has to produce more steam, which means that it needs more energy to heat the water. This can become an issue in the colder months, when heat is necessary to keep other pipes from freezing. If the problem with either the steam traps or piping insulation can be identified and fixed, the facility can reduce its steam consumption, thus reducing overall energy costs.

Encorus Group offers inspection services for steam traps and piping insulation, as well as energy efficiency studies. Encorus recently performed steam trap and insulation surveys at the Buffalo and Batavia VA Medical Centers to determine the amount of steam which was being wasted, and then prepared an energy efficiency study to show how much money could be saved if the issues were corrected.

Are you in need of Steam Trap and Insulation Surveys? Contact Director of Mechanical Integrity Keith Taylor by phone at (716) 592-3980 ext 143, or via email at [email protected].

Tune in next Friday for more fun facts about Encorus Group’s wide variety of services!