Steam Traps 101: Why Your Steam System Needs One

All steam systems need suitable steam traps to discharge condensate and to ensure that the system is functioning efficiently. They are one of the most important components in your steam system, but what makes them so useful?

This article will explain everything you need to know about steam traps. Keep reading to learn more.

What Are Steam Traps?

A steam trap can distinguish between steam and condensate and acts as an automatic valve in steam systems. They will therefore be able to hold back the steam while discharging condensate.

Why Do Steam Systems Need Steam Traps?

Steam traps are necessary for separating the steam from the condensate. This is important because if the condensate is not removed immediately once they form, they can prevent the entire system from operating productively. In other words, the heat transfer will be slowed down and the process will take longer to accomplish.

At the same time, having condensate in your steam system can end up damaging the pipe and the fitting because of corrosion or water hammer.

Steam traps are also important for removing air and other non-condensable gases from the steam system to prevent corrosion or slower heat transfers.

Types of Steam Traps

There are different types of steam traps, which will use different methods to fulfill the same function. These are some of the common variations of steam traps.

Thermostatic Steam Trap

The thermostatic steam trap operates by responding to changes in temperature. The temperature of saturated steam will depend on its pressure. The steam ends up giving out heat, which will produce condensate at that temperature.

The condensate is at a lower temperature than the steam. If the steam trap detects a lower temperature, the port is open. If the temperature is above a certain range, the port will be closed.

In this way, the steam trap will be able to distinguish between steam and condensate and discharge the condensate.

Mechanical Steam Trap

The mechanical steam trap operates by responding to differences in density. The condensate is denser, so when the steam trap detects this, a ball will rise and open a valve. This valve will then pass the condensate.

The steam trap can also use an inverted bucket, which will float when steam reaches the trap and makes sure the valve is shut.

Thermodynamic Steam Trap

The thermodynamic steam trap relies on changes in fluid dynamics. They are the most widely used version of steam traps because they are small and usually quite resistant to corrosion.

What to Know About Steam Traps

Overall, steam traps are instrumental in ensuring that your steam systems function well and can last for a long period of time.

Their main function is to separate and discharge the condensate from the steam. This ensures that your steam system and pipes will work efficiently and not face corrosion.

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