The whole point of a boiler system is to harness the power of the steam. A steam trap valve collects the steam while the cooler, denser concentrate collects in a different set of pipes. In most cases, this cooler water is immediately, and constantly, recirculated and reheated through the boiler system. Correctly sized, installed and maintained steam trap valves improve the efficiency of all kinds of boiler systems. One common use of the steam trap system that most people use every day is a car’s radiator valves.
The basic steam trap design has been around since the mid 1800s and has three basic functions:
- Get rid of condensate as quickly as possible
- Don’t waste any steam
- Discharge air and other noncondensible gases.?
For the most efficient use of steam it is important that boiler systems, steam traps and other components be properly maintained. In steam systems that have not been maintained for three to five years, for example, approximately 15% to 30% of the installed steam traps may have failed. However, in systems with regularly scheduled maintenance programs, leaking traps ideally account for less than 5% of the trap population. The highest quality equipment and programs can reduce steam to less than 1%. Adversely, inefficient and old steam traps produce $8,000 in steam waste annually.
It takes 970 BTU to convert a pound of water to steam at the same temperature and steam volume is 1,603 times greater than the volume of water from which it is created. As a result, inefficiency is costly, and the most productive and profitable industries using steam trap valves have a team of steam trap maintenance workers who not only understand the types of steam traps, but also have a knowledgeable relationship with a supplier that can provide replacement parts and answers to questions every hour of every day. Factory and industry sites work around the clock, and they need a supplier who can do the same.
Best practices include daily, weekly, or monthly maintenance plans, according to industry standards, for steam trap valves. In a world where every consumer and every business owner must make every dollar count, losing energy to inefficient steam products will not be tolerated.