Steam traps are commonly one of those things, which people don’t often think about. Different types of steam traps require different types of maintenance to ensure that they are working properly. Not maintaining different types of steam traps results in lost and wasted energy and extra money and extra man-hours to replace the damaged parts. Steam traps all contain certain impurities, which include metal particles, which have detached from the pipe walls, mud sent into steam trap from boiler carry-over and by products from either construction or repair. These impurities prevent different types of steam traps from operating efficiently. Regular maintenance helps with these impurities and keeps your steam trap operating efficiently for years to come.
Evaluate your steam trap from time to time to inspect for possible minor problems before they become major problems. There are many things to look for; however some things can be tricky. Simply inspecting your steam trap is not a good indicator of possible problems. You must inspect your steam trap from the get go and continue to routinely inspect it for signs of new problems which were not present before. An increase in the size of the plume can be a visual indication of improper function, but only if you notice the plume is different from before. Closed systems make it impossible to check this and draw any conclusions. For these systems, you should routinely inspect pressure. Any sudden increase or decrease in this pressure could be a significant sign that there are possible leaks. Temperature readouts are another indicator. Routine inspections give you a general idea of proper temperature. A sudden decrease in this temperature could be a sign of a clog.
Special tools are available to detect leaks in different types of steam traps. These tools are used to detect ultrasounds, which are generated when there is a leak in the trap. A very specific whistling noise in generated when a leak forms in a steam trap. This tool then picks up these whistling noises, since the ear cannot hear these noises. Always test for leaks when the outside noise level is low to prevent getting a bad diagnosis.
Steam traps which are in proper working order, perform their job well without wasted resources. Older steam traps that don’t function properly produce large amounts of waste. An old inefficient steam trap can produce close to $8,000 of waste per year. Properly inspect your steam traps to ensure they are functioning properly and not wasting precious money. Steam traps with pressure above 150 psig should receive weekly or monthly inspections while steam traps with lower pressure, below 30 psig, only need to be inspected once per year. Inspect and maintain your steam trap to ensure it is working properly and to diagnose small problems before they turn into major problems.