Steam traps are an important part of most systems that rely on steam, whether that’s a radiator or a steam pressure-based industrial machine. They allow steam to remain in the system while letting condensate out, leading to greater efficiency and better performance. But how can you choose a steam trap? There are essentially five characteristics to keep in mind:
There are several types of steam traps, and they’re generally differentiated by what makes the valve open and close. Thermostatic valves, for instance, open and close based on temperature differences, while mechanical valves are typically opened and closed by a mechanically linked float. There are pros and cons to all that are too numerous to cover in this article, but you’ll want to make sure you do your research.
Trap body material should be based on the maximum operating pressure and temperature of the system in question. Cast iron, carbon steel and stainless steel are all popular choices.
You can’t just pick a steam trap based on the size of the existing pipe. Instead, you’ll need to make sure the trap is closely matched to the outlet side of the trap, the discharge piping.
There are three types of connections generally used for steam traps: threaded, flanged and socket welded. Each offers advantages. The first simply need to be screwed in, and are normally relatively inexpensive. Flanged connections make it easy to install a new trap when the old one wears out. And socket welded connections prevent as much steam as possible from escaping.
Not all steam traps are equally well made, and some brands stand apart in the industry. The professional line of Spirax Sarco steam traps (often abbreviated as Spirax steam traps) are often a go-to choice, especially for mission-critical systems. If you’re not sure whether you need something that heavy-duty or not, you can also look at the economy line of Spirax steam traps.
Got anything to add? Chime in using the comments.