Steam traps are used in steam transport systems that transfer heat through large buildings. Boiling water is used to create the steam, which is then transferred from the boiler to pipes that allow it to heat different parts of the building through radiators. 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.
Steam systems in larger buildings can contain hundreds of steam traps, which could malfunction and fail to remove condensate water from the pipes. This malfunction is caused by a problem with the sensor on the trap. The sensor does not detect when steam has returned, and does not close, leading the steam to be wasted in the condensation collection system and causing a loss of heat.
Both malfunctioning steam traps and poorly insulated piping cause the system to lose heat. This situation also leads to a loss of money. Natural gas is bought 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 natural gas to heat the water. Encorus Group’s Mechanical Integrity Group offers steam trap and insulation surveys to locate areas of heat loss, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings as well as energy efficiency studies to show how much money could be saved if the faulty steam traps and piping insulation were repaired based on the facility’s cost of producing steam. If you require a steam trap and insulation survey, contact Director of Mechanical Integrity Keith Taylor at (716) 592-3980 ext. 143, or [email protected].