Keeping Your Steam Equipment in Good Shape With a Healthy Steam Trap

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A common issue with industrial washers and dryers and furnaces is malfunctioning that are steam powered is the steam trap that makes it work. The steam trap is responsible for filtering out condensation and gases (such as air), while maintaining the steam needed for the appliance to function. The manufacturers of Armstrong, Danfoss, and Spirax steam traps report that often times, misdiagnoses steam trap testing leads to problematic steam traps not being replaced, so it continues to make the appliance run poorly, or perfectly fine steam traps being replaced for no reason.

Even if the steam appliance still works, the energy lost through a malfunctioning steam trap can cost about $6,500 per year. If the steam trap is properly maintained and functions as it should, the unnecessary loss of steam will be less than 1%. The manufacturers of Armstrong and Spirax steam traps offered the following tips to keep you steam appliances functioning efficiently:

  • Keep Up With Routine Maintenance
    The schedule of routine maintenance required for your steam trap depends on the steam traps types and size of your appliance. Relatively low pressure steam systems with less than 30 psig only need to be checked once a year. If you have a steam system with pressure greater than 150 psig, you should perform maintenance monthly, or even weekly.

    The steam trap can be tested in-depth through sonar technology, temperature tools, and sound guages. However, these techniques require experienced technicians to be conducted properly. Otherwise, you can acquire a simple steam trap testing device that even novices will be able to use from your Armstrong ot Spirax steam trap provider, or whoever manufactured your part.

  • Replace Small Parts When Needed
    The external part of the steam trap is designed to last as long as the steam appliance lasts. However, the small, inner steam trap parts may need to be replaced from time to time to maintain proper functionality. If you have a balanced pressure steam trap, several parts of it are designed for convenient replacement, and it is recommended to switch them out every three years or so. If you have a thermodynamic trap, replacing the seating or disc faces might be in order, which is a fairly simple job unless it is a high pressure trap.

    You should always get the manufacturer’s guidance for proper techniques before replacing minor parts yourself. A reputable manufacturer will make literature, provide assistance, and have parts available to customers.

  • Replace the Entire Steam Trap if You Have To
    If the damage to the steam trap is too extensive to be repaired by just replacing smaller pieces, it might become necessary to do a full steam trap replacement in order to regain efficient operations of the equipment.

    If you have a swivel connector trap, you might be able to perform the replacement yourself. The swivel connector is only attached to the rest of the system with two bolts, making it easy to swap out. If you have a higher pressure steam system or a more complicated setup, it’s a good idea to call in a professional.

Do you have any questions about maintaining or repairing your steam trap? Please add them in the comment section below.

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