Steam Traps Maintenance Tips to Improve Boiler Efficiency

Two technicians servicing boiler looking at steam traps

Steam Traps Maintenance Tips to Improve Boiler Efficiency

Steam traps are small boiler accessories that play a major role in performance output. Although steam traps are integral parts in a boiler system, they’re often overlooked during daily boiler maintenance. In order for boilers to consistently produce the desired energy levels, steam traps must be properly maintained. 

There are several reasons why businesses have to rely on effective steam traps. First, they filter out air and condensate without allowing steam to escape. They minimize steam loss by reducing the chance of blockages from forming in the internal lining of the pipes. Second, boiler steam traps also prevent the steam from returning to the boiler where it may cause physical damage. In order to make sure your steam traps are functioning properly, you need to invest in a routine boiler steam trap survey. Why is this important? 

How do Boiler Steam Traps Work?

The primary goal of steam traps is to separate steam from air and condensate. There are multiple types of steam traps including inverted bucket steam traps, mechanical traps, thermostatic traps, and thermodynamic traps. They all have slightly different mechanisms, but ultimately achieve the same end goal. 

For example, mechanical traps function based on density changes. Steam has a different density from water and air, allowing the steam crab to effectively separate the entities. Thermodynamic traps use fluid dynamics to separate steam from the air. If you are looking for a new steam trap, work with our McKenna Boiler technicians who present the benefits and drawbacks of each option in order to find the best one for your business. We offer free steam trap surveys and would be happy to assist you. 

What Happens if Your Boiler Steam Trap Isn’t Working Properly?

If your steam trap is not working properly, there are a variety of issues that could develop. For example, the old water might not be able to escape. This can impact the efficiency and productivity of your pipes and pumps. Any type of leakage will result in your boiler exerting more energy in order to produce the same level of latent heat. Boiler steam traps greatly impact the efficiency of your entire boiler. Furthermore, you’ll quickly be operating at a loss if the steam trap isn’t repaired soon. If the utility bills are increasing every month, this is a strong indicator that the steam trap is not doing its job. In order to detect problems early on, schedule routine steam trap surveys with these money and time-saving techniques. 

Why Schedule a Steam Trap Survey?

As a boiler owner, you can audit your steam traps regularly through a steam trap survey. A steam trap survey provides you with insight into the condition of your boiler. By scheduling a routine steam trap survey, you can make sure that your boiler is operating efficiently, helping you save money. In addition, you may be able to detect issues with your steam traps before they get out of hand. This can help you avoid costly repairs. Finally, you can also extend the longevity of your boiler. The two common methods to test your steam trap are:

  • Visual Observation – Depending on the location of the steam trap, you should be able to see if steam is escaping from the pipes. If you suspect that there’s a leak, a boiler technician will continue the visual inspection by using a stethoscope and thermography to gain clarity on the inner piping conditions.
  • Temperature Differentials – This method is recommended for smaller boiler systems. A properly working steam trap should have a 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit difference between the inlet and outlet. The reason why this method doesn’t work with larger plants is because it’s difficult to distinguish between steam leaks and regular condensate discharge. For bigger scale boilers, we recommend seeking boiler repair services who can provide immediate support and relief. 

McKenna Boiler Offers a Free Steam Trap Survey

If you are looking for someone who can help you get the most out of your steam trap, we are here to help you. McKenna Boiler prides ourselves in consistently delivering turn-key boiler solutions for over 100 years. To ensure the efficiency of your steam trap, one of our skilled technicians will measure the temperature on either side to confirm that it is working properly. He or she will also use the latest equipment to measure the performance of each individual trap, including the line pressures. Then, we will let you know if anything has to happen to improve your steam trap. Contact us today to learn more about these services and more!

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