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ESL-IE-82-04-119

STEAM TRAP APPLICATION

John J. Murphy

Yarway Corporation

Houston, Texas

The effective application of steam traps en


compasses three primary areas which are the selec
tion and sizing, the installation, and the monitor
ing of the steam trapping system. Proper applica
tion of steam traps will improve production rates,
product quality, and reduce energy and maintenance
costs.

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION OF APPLICATIONS


TASK
Typical Names
of Equipment

PRODUCTION
I-Steam heats a liquid indirctly
(e.g. Shell & Tube, Kettle)
2-Steam heats a gas indirectly
(e.g. Air Heater, Dryer~
3-Steam heats a solid or slurry
indirectly.
(e.g. Cylinder dryer,Platen)
4-Steam heats a solid directly
(e.g. - Autoclave)

Steam Pres
sures at trap
inlet

Generally variable or fluctuating


due to varying product through-put,
control valve action, intermittent
or batch processes. Some seasonal
changes.
Pressures are medium, with h~gh
pressure occasionally encoun~ered.

Condensate
Loads

Generally variable with widel changes


due to nature of process (st1rt-up)
batch, intermittent) changes in
through-put. Loads are medium to
high, with very high loads occasion
ally encountered and can arrive in
slugs.
Generally require condensate! to
be discharged at small amount of
subcooling (at trap inlet) t9
minimize threats to equipment and
maximize heat transfer for pro
duction.
Important due to generally l~rge
volumes, drainage and process
variations. Separate vent n~eded
occasionally.
Usually by gravity - sometimes
syphon or lift.

The steam trap is a "self actuating auto


matic drain valve" that must perform the following
functions:
(A)

Remove air and condensate

(B)

Respond to load and pressure changes.

(C)

Close prior to "seeing" live steam or


limit the flow of steam.

For these reasons,application of steam traps


deserves the same attention as is given to any
other critical control device.
This paper will deal with defining the type of
service, outlining system parameters, steam trap
sizing, proper installation, and system monitoring
techniques.
Since there is no Universal Steam Trap, the initial
step is to define the type of service. This is
necessary to select the type of steam trap that
best matches the needs of the application. The two
broad application categories are Production/ or
Process and Protection. These can be further sub
divided as follows:
1.

Discharge of
air and non
condensible
Igases.
Condensate
arrives at
['rap
Ambient tem
perature con
ditions

Production/or Process
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)

2.

Discharge at
or below
saturation
temperature

Steam
Steam
Steam
ly
Steam

heating a liquid,indirectly
heating a gas, indirectly
heating a solid or slurry,indirect
heating a solid, directly

Protection
(a)
(b)

Frequently indoors and high am


bients can be encountered. For
outdoor installations concern is
for freezing.

Steam line drip


Steam Tracing

Process lines

Winterization

Instrumentation

The following table summarizes the application


characteristics.

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Proceedings from the Fourth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 4-7, 1982

,;
ESL-IE-82-04-119

TASK
Typical Names
of Equipment

Steam pressures at
trap inlet

Condensate
Loads

Discharge at
or below
saturation
temperature

PROTECTION

The users steam and condensate system characteris


tics and other requirements can affect steam trap
function and selection. Of particular importance
are seven key variables.

l-3team line drip, turbine


drain, control valves.
2-Steam tracing
a-Process lines
b-Winterization
c-Instrumentation

1.

Maximum system pressure and temperature may


be experienced only occasionally; however, these
must be defined to assure that the trap "pressure
rating" and materials of construction are suitable
for the application. The operational pressure (in
let and/or differential) determine the trap flow
rate as well as function. From a functional
aspect, operating pressure may prevent the trap
from opening or closing. Therefore, the design,
normal, maximum and minimum pressure must be de
fined. If the pressure is constantly fluctuating,
its effects on trap reliability require consi
deration.

Generally constant with slight


variation due to seasonal
changes.
Steam Line Drip - Low to high
pressure common. Very high
pressure occasionally en
countered. Some Superheat
encountered.
Steam Tracing - Medium pres
sures with high pressure en
countered occasionally.
Superheat is rare.

Operating temperatures are those the trap


experiences when the equipment involved is in its
normal running mode, and will not exceed the
saturation temperature when the trap is operating
properly.

Generally constant with seasonal changes and occasional


start-up an exception.
Steam Line Drip, low load,
most common. Medium loads
encountered at start-up or
with carry-over.
Superheat - essentially no
load.
Steam Tracing - Low load most
conunon. 20 lb/h r (10 Kg/hr)
typical.

2.

Seldom an issue due to somewhat continuous operation and


infrequent start-ups.

Condensate
arrives at trap

Usually by gravity.

Ambient temperature
conditions

Steam line drip - outdoor


freezing.
Steam tracing - usually out
door freezing.

System Condensate Requirements

Condensate loads can be constant, variable,


fluctuating, arrive in slugs, and change due to
ambient conditions. The extreme condition is the
start-up load which is generally a large value
when compared to the running and minimum loads.
Many times the start-up load is over estimated
and then a safety factor applied. This results
in an oversized steam trap for the running load
and unsatisfactory trap performance. In applica
tions where the condensate load fluctuates the
steam trap characteristic which is defined as
"response" becomes an important factor in trap
selection.

Steam line drip - require discharge at small amount of subcooling to prevent damage to
pipe line, turbine or control
valve. Drip leg a major
variable.
Steam Tracing - Process lines
generally require small subcooling. Winterization and
instrumentation lines can
occasionally tolerate more
subcooling.

Discharge of
air and non
condensible
gases

System Pressure and Temperature Conditions

3.

Condensate Drainage

"Drainage" type is determined by the piping


configuration between the steam user and trap
inlet. Most applications are of the gravity
drainage type. To facilitate proper trap opera
tion and system protection, certain guidelines
should be followed.
Some equipment designs require syphon and/or
lift drainage. Special piping techniques are
required and steam trap selection becomes more
critical.

627

Proceedings from the Fourth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 4-7, 1982

ESL-IE-82-04-119

Process Equipment

Provide vacuum breaker


and Yarway Aldrain valves
as needed for freeze pro ~
tection.
f

Collecting leg, same size as equip


ment connection but not less than
1" NPT.
Install a Yarway Process Trap below
equipment to be drained. Install a
strainer with a blow down valve. Use
full ported stop valves, (gate or ball).

T j::::::!] [l:=::::::t

Slope

-------.

To Return

....n-------::t -------.

Vacuum Breaker

Piping to and from trap not less


than trap pipe size.

GRAVITY TYPE DRAINAGE

Trap
Station

TL
Lift Fitting

On jacketed or rotating equipment,


consider a separate air vent.

On lift or syphon drainage. locate pro


cess trap at lowest possible point.

,L 1FT / SYPHON

4.

TYPE

DRAINAGE

5.

Ambient Conditions

Outdoor equipment in cold climates consti


tute a freezing hazard. The steam supply,
the steam using equipment, steam trap station
components and condensate return system should
be designed with this in mind.
Indoor applica
tions where excessive heat is encountered.
(e.g. - dry cans, dry kilns, inside dryer/
heater rooms, etc.) may alter the response and
operation of some steam trap types.

On submerged heating surfaces with


lift to the trap, slope the coil and use
a lift fitting.

Air and Other Non-Condensibles Venting!


Requirements

The venting of air and other non-condensibles


for both start-up and running conditions should be
investigated. Batch processes or other applica
tions requiring steam only intermittently
are subject to becoming air bound. This condi
tion increases start-up time because heat t~ans
fer is drastically reduced and accelerates ~orro
sion.
Steam traps selected for this type of ser
vice must have "good" air handling character
istics (trap in fully open position when col
air - non condensibles are present) and/or
auxiliary air vents installed.

628

Proceedings from the Fourth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 4-7, 1982

ESL-IE-82-04-119

STEAM TRAP COMPARISON CHART

6.

System SHOCK, Vibration and Water Hammer


Considerations

Trap Selection Criteria

The source is normally cold water


remaining in the system and coming in con
tact with live steam. Sudden changes in velo
city can also be a factor, and the situation is
most damaging when large volumes of water exist.
These disturbances can occur in steam and/or
condensate return piping. Although generally
of short duration,the forces developed can be
very damaging to steam trap internals. Parts
such as bellows, ball floats, etc. are particu
larly susceptible to failure from this phenom
enon. Any steam-condensate system can exper
ience these conditions; however, storage tank
heating systems with the coils installed in a
horizontal position on the tank bottom are
prime candidates for water hammer problems.

Steam Line Drip


Steam Tracing Process Lines

Type of

Application

Steam Tracing Winterization Lines


Steam Tracing Instrument Lines

I Other Light Loads


Operating Pressure. Inlet. Mln.lMax. psig
Operating Pressure. Outlet. Mln.lMax. psig
Discharge 10 Sewer or Vented Receiver

General
Conditions

Discharge to Pressurized Return

End Connection. Size. In. (See Note 1)

End Connection. Type, Thread (See Note 1)

End Connection. Type. Socket Welding (See Note 1)

7.

Design PressurelTemperature. Rating. ANSI Class

Dirt and Corrosion Problems

Operating Temperature F

Like any critical control device the


steam trap should be protected from dirt and
scale if optimum operation and adequate service
life are to be attained. Strainers should be
equipped with blowdown valves to provide an
effective and efficient method of periodically
cleaning the strainer screen. No steam trap
is immune to dirt.

Design
CondItions

Operating Back Pressure Ratio. 0/0. Min IMax.


Operating Differential Pressure. psi, Min./Max

Condensate Load, Ib/hr (Withoul Safety Factor)


Rain

Ambient

Conditions

Freezing

Ambient above 90F (32 2C)


Installation
ReqUIrements

Corrosion of heat exchange surfaces (foul


ing) eventually produces significant changes
in the steam pressure at the trap inlet.

Trap Station Piping-Honzontal


Trap Station Plping-Verlical
Discharges Near Steam Temperature

Discharges Slightly Subcool, 1O-40F (6-22C) Below Saturation

The Trap Selection Scoresheet that follows


can be used to establish the key trap selec
tion criteria in a logical manner.

Discharges More Than 40F (22C) Below Saturation


Discharges Intermiltenl (Off-On)
Discharges Continuous. Modulating
Integral Strainer

Trap

Discharge

Characteristics
and
Required

Features

Integral Blow-Off Valve


Renewable In Line

Resists Shock. Vibration, Water Hammer

Vents Air and Non-Condensibtes


Can Drain PiPing If Pressure Is Turned Off

Insulation ReqUired for Trap Freeze Protection


Trap Normalfy Falls Open

Trap Normally Fails Closed

NOTES: 1. Piping Recommendations


A-Steam Line Drip
To 300 psi, ~" or 3/4" NPT
300-600 psi, 3/4" NPT
Over 600 psi, 1" socket welding
B-Steam Tracing
Process Lines - ~" or 3/4" NPT
Winterization Lines, ~" NPT
Instrumentation Lines, 1/4" or
3/8" NPT

,',

j.

629
Proceedings from the Fourth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 4-7, 1982

1:

ESL-IE-82-04-119

Steam tracer condensate loads generally range


from 5 lbs/hr to 50 lbs/hr. If heat transfer
cements are used, the manufacturer's heat transfer
data should be consulted before sizing trap~.
Recommended tracer lengths vary from 25 feet
to 400 feet based on the condensate load and
steam pressure involved. Lengths of tracer$
should be limited to minimize pressure drop~
maintain uniform temperatures, and assure dtain
age. The table below can serve as a designl
guideline:
Maximum Tracer Lengths
Feet

Steam trap sizing requires calculating or


estimating condensate loads. The common error
of sizing a trap based on pipe size must be
avoided. Sizing ,by pipe size only,frequently
results in an oversized steam trap with undesir
able performance. Since the "size" of a steam
trap is its ability to discharge condensate
at or near steam temperature, multiplying the
calculated condensate load by the appropriate
Safety Load Factor (SLF) yields the required
steam trap flow rate.
In determining condensate loads,consideration
must be given to start-up loads, heat-up rate,
air handling, ranges in pressure and variations
in condensate loads. It is not always possible
to calculate these conditions. Therefore, a
Safety Load Factor (SLF) is used. The SLF is
rarely needed for steam tracing. For steam
line drip service, an SLF is used for start up
conditions.

Steam Load
O.D. of
Tracer Tub- lb/hr/lOO Ft
ing - in. of Tubing

1/2

The SLF is based on experience and design


of steam using equipment. Pressure variations
at the trap inlet and outlet, condensate collect
ing leg design, environment, condensate load
variations, and air handling capacity require
the consideration of an appropriate SLF.

10

120

200

400

20

85

130

260

40

55

80

160

10

300

500

500

20

300

320

500

40

120

200

420

10

500

500

500

20

500

500

500

40

500

500

500

The protection application (steam line drip


and steam tracing) are normally light conden
sate load applications, and a trap with 300
lbslhr capacity at 100 psi will be sufficient.
Steam line drip condensate loads can be estimated
by using the following formulas:
(A)

Steam Pressure psi


150-200
15-30 30-50

3/4

Warming Load

C = (L) (W) (C p )(T2 - Tl)

1-1/8

hfg
(B)

Time for Warm-up


t

(Temp. Rise)

Use of 1/4 in. and 3/8 in. O.D.tubingis


usually restricted to very short lengths, or for
protection of instruments.

F/hr
(C)

Condensate Rate
CR = C

Process trap sizing is critical to sadisfac


tory performance and service life. Three ~teps
must be taken to insure proper sizing.

(D)

Running Load
CL - (U)(L)(A) (T

(1)
(2)
(3)

- T ) F
a

hfg
NOTE: Legend of sYmbols is provided at the end
of this paper.

Categorize the type of equipment.


Calculate or estimate condensate !load
Apply the proper Safety Load Factor
(SLF)

The following tables may be used as guides to


develop the sizing criteria noted above.

For warming loads a Safety Load Factor (SLF)


of 1.5 is adequate. For running loads most
steam traps have ample flow rates to accommodate
the condensate load produced. The exception
would be drip traps at the end of a steam line.

630

Proceedings from the Fourth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 4-7, 1982

ESL-IE-82-04-119

EQUIPMENT CATEGORIES
Type of
Heating Equipment

Approximate Steam Flows, lb/hr

Typical Examples
of Equipment Being
Heated

Steam Pres
sure in Pipe
(psi)

Category 1:
Submerged surfaces e.g., batch
Steam Heats a
still, evaporator,fuel heater,
Liquid,Indirectly shell & tube heater, tank coil,
vat water heater.

10
20

Jacketed vessel, e.g., pan,


kettle concentrator
Lift or syphon drainage, e.g. ,
tilting kettle, sulfur pit,
submerged pip'e or embossed coil,
shipboard tank
Category 2:
Steam Heats Air
Indirectly

Natural Circulation, e.g. , Dry


air - convector, pipe coil
radiator. Moist Air - blanket
dryer, dry kiln, drying room.
Forced circulation, e.g., air
blast heating coil, dry kiln,
air dryer, pipe coil, process
air heater, unit heater

Category 3:
Steam Heats a
Solid or Slurry
Indirectly

50

165
330

240
480

600
1200

1000
2000

100

285
570

420
840

1050
2100

1800
3600

150

410
820

600
1200

1550
3100

2600
5200

200

520
1040

800
1600

2000
4000

3400
6800

300

750
1500

1200
2400

3000
6000

5000
10000

Gravity draine~, e.g. , chesttype ironer, belt press,


chamber dryer, hot plate,platen

Approximate Steam Flows, lb/hr

Syphon drained, e.g. , cylinder


ironer, cylinder dryer, drum
drver dry can naoer machine
Category 4:
Steam Heats a
Solid Directly

~team Pres!sure in Pipe


I(osi)

Gravity drained, e.g. , autoclave, reaction chamber retort,


sterilizer

Estimate of Condensate Load


CL, lb/hr
CL = (Water gpm) X(Temperature
---2--
Rise, F)
CL=

CL =

(Petroleum
gpm)X(T empera t u r e
4
,
Rise F)
(Air cfm)
900

X (Temperature
Rise F)

CL = (5) (Surface Area ft 2 )


Surface Area = Total External
Area of Equipment, Top,
Bottom, Sides, Upper &
Lower Halves
CL = Estimate based on Steam
Pipe Size'& Pressure
CL = Estimate based on Steam
Pipe Size & Pressure

Typical Steam Flow Rates for Various


Pipe Sizes (in) +
6"
3"
4"
8"

10

900
1800

1500
3000

3500
7000

6200
12400

20

1200
2400

2200
4400

4800
96000

8500
17000

50

2200
4400

3800
7600

8500
17000

15500
31000

100

4000
8000

7000
14000

15000
30000

27000
54000

150

5500
11000

9500
19000

22000
44000

38000
76000

200

7600
15200

12000
24000

28000
56000

50000
100000

300

11000
22000

18500
37700

42000
84000

Condensate Load Estimating Table


Equipment
Category

Typical Steam Flow Rates for Variou!


Pipe Sizes (in.) +

3/4"
1"
2"
l~"
70
100
260
420
140
200
520
840
90
140
340
600
l8p
280
680
1200

82000
164000

+Approximate steam flows, lbs/hr. The smaller values


are for velocities of 5000 fpm usually found in
doors or heating systems. The larger values are
for velocities of 10,000 fpm usually found outdoors
and on larger equipment.

631
Proceedings from the Fourth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 4-7, 1982

ESL-IE-82-04-119

the risks of steam blowing through the trap. If


subcooled traps are used, it prevents stea~ tem
perature condensate from entering the trap ,and pro
ducing undesirable response.

SAFETY LOAD FACTOR SELECTION TABLE


Equipment
Category

Safety Load Factor (SLF)


Drainage
Gravity
Syphon or
Lift

Ambient Air Constant


2
33F & Higher
Below 33F
3

If the equipment requires lift or syption


drainage, the condensate must be forced up~ard
before reaching the trap. The upward motiqn
causes the pressure on the hot condensate Go
decrease and this can promote the formatio~ of
"flash" or steam bubbles in the condensate.1 The
situation is worsened with syphon drainage Ibe
cause the condensate moves through a steam space
and is re-heated. Whenever lift or syphon idrainage
exists, the condensate reaches a high point and
the trap should be installed as far below ~his
point as possible, preferably below the po~nt where
the lifting or syphoning starts. This all~ws
the vapor bubbles to condense and helps as~ure
that only condensate reaches the trap.
I

Steam Pressure(psi)
Constant Variable
2
3

Equipment
Platen

Drainage
Gravity

Rotating
Dryer

Syphon

Warm Up
Normal
Fast

SLF
---3-'-'

Variable
3
4

SLF
3
5

Condensate drainage from the trap is ~qually


important, and allowance must be made to a~sure
the discharge piping does not freeze. If ~he
trap discharges into piping, the piping must be
adequate to handle the trap's maximum disc~arge
rate including an allowance for flash vapo~ (two
phase flow). It is important to consider ~hat
the trap discharge rate is usually much greater
than the actual condensate load.

Steam trap installation is basically just an


extension of good piping practices; however, the
following items must be taken into consideration
if the steam trapping system is to perform effec
tively.
(1)

(2)
Selection of Piping Components I
Pressure drops in piping components a~fect
steam and condensate flow. Since condensa~e
can exist at steam temperature (saturation)1 even
minimal pressure drops can initiate flashi~g
and result in two-phase flow. To minimize !this
occurrence, stop valves should be of the g~te or
ball type and of a size equal to the pipe. ! Check
valves installed downstream of the trap to pre
vent backflow into the using equipment must, be
line size and of a low pressure drop design.
Check valve service downstream of a steam trap
can be severe; so the check valve manufactu~er
should be consulted for recommendations.

Piping Practices

The steam using equipment is designed for "dry"


steam; therefore the supply piping should be taken
from the top of the distribution header. If the
supply line has low points, stop valves,control
valves, etc. that could collect pockets of conden
sate, drip traps should be installed.
The steam using equipment manufacturer has in
stalled a discharge connection of the appropriate
size. This connection is frequently the same size
as the steam supply connection or one pipe size
smaller. The size is selected to allow the conden
sate and entrapped vapor bubbles to drain from the
equipment by gravity. For some types of equipment
the outlet connection size should be maintained
downward for 3 feet or more to provide adequate
storage volume. This volume is needed for those
applications where pressures can drop suddenly and
the environment is freezing. The volume of the
collecting leg should be equal to the condensed
volume of the steam in the using equipment. The
equipment should be installed so that the conden
sate can flow to the hot well, or collecting leg.
Providing "good" drainage reduces the rate of
corrosion and eliminates water hammer damage on
start-up.
If freeze-up occurs, the steam
coils or tubes are less likely to be damaged.

The use of air vents and/or vacuum brelakers


should be considered on an application by a~pli
cation basis. Key factors to be reviewed i~clude
equipment operation (continuous or intermitltent),
equipment steam space volume (air and otherl
non-condensible venting needs), start-up ti~e re
equirements, ambient conditions, type of st~am
trap selected (free draining, etc.) and conden
sate return piping configuration.
Dirt and sediment are normal products pf
steam and condensate systems. Since the tr~p
is generally installed at the system piping low
point, strainers in steam lines remote from the
trap do not provide the required protection.
Install a strainer at the trap inlet to ins~re
proper operation and long service life.
'

At the end of the collecting leg, piping


should be the same pipe size (or larger than) the
steam trap connection. The piping must be sloped
to the trap. This is to ensure that condensate
reaches the trap. This assists the trap in res
ponding to the presence of condensate. In addition,
it helps maintain a water (liquid) seal to minimize

On the closed return condensate system~, test


tees should be installed downstream of the ~rap.
This will reduce the time required for trap check
ing and improve accuracy. The test tee and re
lated stop valve should be equal to the steam
trap pipe size where practical.

632
Proceedings from the Fourth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 4-7, 1982

ESL-IE-82-04-119

Steam trap checking requires a thorough


understanding of checking methods, operational
characteristics of all ~ypes of steam traps
including their normal discharge characteristics
and failure mode, and system parameters (pressure
temperature). The three charts that follow are
designed to provide insight into steam trap check
ing and trouble shooting.

Chart 3 - Focuses on the checking methods and


their advantages and limitations. The customer
should select more than one method and decide
which methods are the most applicable to that
particular plant.
Note the emphasis on the following:
1.

2.

Chart 1 - Focuses on trouble shooting the "trap


ping system". While indications of trap "fail
ure" or "malfunction" are identified, trouble
shooting the system for "trapping" problems is
often more important. Don't reinstall the pro
blem.

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Chart 2 - Focuses on the steam trap itself and


identifies the most common sources of problems
within the steam trap. Some external or system
problems are identified with the hope that
further checking will be performed. Corrective
action is also shown.

Understand normal trap characteristics.


Understand advantages and limitations of
various checking methods.
Use more than one checking method.
Understand flash condensate.
Condensate makes more noise than steam.
Trouble shoot the system.
Review trap selection, sizing and install
ation.

633
Proceedings from the Fourth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 4-7, 1982

ESL-IE-82-04-119

CHART I
INDICATIONS OF ACCEPTABLE
OPERATION
SIGHT-Flash Condensate
-Intermittent Discharge
Most thermodynamic, in
verted bucket & proper
ly sized bellows thermo
static
-Continuous Discharge
F & T, some thermo
static on light load.
Some thermodynamic
en
U
types with control flow
H
-Some
traps produce no
E-t
en
H
flash
p:::
~

~SOUND-Intermittent or contin

~
~
U

p..

E-t
~

E-t

uous sound-as above


with sight
-Condensate has rough
or gravel sound.
-Condensate sound level
greater than steam
-Can feel vibration

~ [EMPERATURE
~
-Surface pyrometer may
indicate fluctuation
due to expected in
termittent discharge.

-Blow down strainer,


-Look for other leaks

5 ~e~7;~~rP~;i;~h~d~~:cer
~
~
~

b
~

l/month most process


l/week critical process
and air heaters in winter
Daily-very critical process and
very cold exposure
Blow down strainers each time
steam trap is checked.

OPEN

INDICATIONS OF TRAP FAILURE


CLOSED,OR BACKING CONDENSATE

SIGHT-Continuous Discharge
of Steam, Blue-White,
-No sign of liquid
condensate.
-No intermittent discharge
SOUND-Continuous
-Whistle like noise
TEMPERATURE
-High inlet(pyrometer does
not indicate cycling)
-Return line indicates ex
cessive pressure via high
temperature.
Review trap sizing & selection.
Oversized traps frequently wear
faster than expected,producing
leaks and defective linkage
function.
Most traps seldom fail full
open, Failure toward open posi
tion is usually gradual unless
water seal is lost or linkages
suddenly fail.

-Check for leaking or


open bypasses
-Check down stream
valve & check valve
open? OK?
-Examine trap for dirt
preventing valve closure.
-Blow down strainer to
remove condensate, ob
serve if trap closes.

-Repair trap
-Add strainer with bov
-Repair/replace leaking
stop valves
-Review trap selection, &
sizing

SIGHT - No Discharge
.
- Some discharge, but
flow rate is low, or
continuous and lit~le
flash.
i
SOUND - No flow or low gravel
like noise level I
TEMPERATURE
- Inlet temperature
more than 15% less'
than steam tempera]
ture
i
i

Review trap sizing. - Trap!


may be backing condensate i
due to changes in operating
pressure or process requir~
ments. Traps backing cond~nsate
frequently produce corrosibn and
corrosion products then prpduce
fouled heat exchange surface and
clogged screens.

-Drain strainer to s~e if


condensate is backipg up and
discharge is high v~locity.
-Blow down strainer, screen
may be clogged
-Steam supply on andi
correct pressure an~ temp?
-Put pressure gage a1l: strainer
blow down and test tee valve
to verify operating: pres
sures.
-Examine trap for di~t and
plugging
I
-Trap air bound?
I

-Select properly siz~d


trap
-Replace screen if clogged
-Repair trap
-Add strainer & bov
-Repair/replace defective
stop and check valves.

634
Proceedings from the Fourth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 4-7, 1982

ESL-IE-82-04-119

CHART 2
Type of
Trap

INDICATIONS OF
NORMAL OPERATION

OPEN

CAUSES FOR INDICATIONS OF MALFUNCTION


CLOSED

Any type 'Should observe relatively


of Trap
high trap inlet temperature,
but not superheat
'Should observe flash on dis
charge to atmosphere & see
normal characteristic dis
charge. Should hear normal,
characteristic operation.

'Excessive valve seat wear


'Dirt on trap seat
'Open bypass constantly blowing
'Overload trap-discharging
continuously.

Temperature control valve


throttled insufficient steam
pressure.
. Overloaded trap, backing up
cold condensate
'Clogged strainer
'Closed stop valve upstream
'Closed return line stop valve
or check valve.

Float or 'Normal discharge-continuous


Float & but on light loads may be
Thermo
intermittent.
static
'Should see flash
'Should hear continuous dis
charge

'Should observe relatively


high inlet temperature

'Thermal element leaking


'Mechanism worn, broken or held
open due to dirt/or oxides
'Leaking internal seals or gaskets
'See above - Any type of Trap

'Thermal element failed closed


'Float collapsed, main valve
failed closed
Excessive pressure difference
across seat

'Worn oversized
'See above - Any type of Trap

Thermo
static

'Thermal element failure(Some


types).
'Excessive back pressure (some
types)
Improper adjustment or setting
'Worn valve or seat
Leaking gaskets
'See above - Any type of Trap

. Thermal element failed closed


'Excessive back pressure (some
types)
. See above-Any type of Trap

'Loss of prime(low load, fluctuat~


ing pressure differences)
. Worn mechanism, valve or seat
'Le aking internal seals/ gaskets
.Bee above - Any type of Trap

'D1rt-plugged vent
'Excessive differential pressure
'Worn, oversized seat
'Body filled with dirt
'Air bound
'See above - Any type of Trap

Worn seat, disc, or bonnet


'Leaking internal seals/gaskets
'Excessive back pressure
'See above - Any type of Trap

. Installed backward
'Air bound
'See above - Any type of Trap

'Worn internals
'Excessive back pressure
'Condensate load too small
'See above - Any type of Trap

'Excessive wear on lst orifice


. Excessive dirt on 2nd orifice
'See above - Any type of Trap

'Normal discharge-intermit
tent or continuous depending on load pressure, or
type .
Should see flash unless ad
justed for subcooled opera
tion
'Should hear continuous or
modulating flow
'Should observe temperature
near rated discharge tem
perature.

Inverted 'Normal discharge-intermit


Bucket
tent, can be continuous
under some conditions of
pressure and load
'Should see flash
'Should hear intermit
tent discharge-possibly
rattle of bucket, or
bubbling of vent flow.
'Should observe relative
ly high inlet tempera
ture

u
H

~><

Cl
0

Disc . Normal discharge intermit


tent
. Should see flash
'Should hear intermittent
discharge possibly clicking of disc on seat
Should observe relatively
high inlet temperatures

~
~

;t:
E-<

Im
'Normal discharge-intermit
pulse tent with continuous flow
Con
between discharges.
,Should see flash steam-con
trol
Flow
tinuous and intermittent
Should hear continuous &
intermittent flow
'Should read relatively high
inlet temp.

635

Proceedings from the Fourth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 4-7, 1982

ESL-IE-82-04-119

CHART 3
\

SIGHT
-Can view discharge
-No special tools
-Can be used for both open &

closed discharge_ Need test


tee & extra valves for closed
returns_

SOUND (AUDIBLE ,AMPLIFIED ,ULTRASONIC)


Audible
-Can use in open or closed dis
charges
-Can hear flaws and/or trap
valve & seat
-Tools low cost, no calibration
Ultrasonic
-Similar to first two items
above
-Can hear small flow rates
-Insensitive to ambient or background noise (see limitations)

TEMfERATURE

-Can be used in open qr


closed return

-Some devices can ind~cate


off-on action of traps
-Indicates cold or fa~led
closed traps
-Indicates unusual or iunex
pected temperature a~ trap
inlet or outlet
i
-Can be used 'to detec~ un
usual conditf0Us, e_~_
clogged screens, open by
passes around failed ~losed
traps_
1

en
Z

~'
H

-Does not quantify leak


-Need to understand trap operation
-Need to understand flash

-Discharge to atmosphere not


the same as discharge into
closed return
-Possible hazard when used with
high capacity traps or on
high pressures
-Continuous (unexpected) dis
charge can be due to overloaded
trap or load from re turn system
-Test tee & stop valves must be
trap line size
-Added cost of test tee,valves
nipples, etc_
-Acceptable operating frequency
is judgemental
-Emphasis on steam loss may
allow traps failing or failed
closed to be undetected

Audible
-Does not quantify leak
-Need to understand trap opera
tion
-Continuous flow noise may in
dicate overloaded trap
-Difficult to differentiate be
tween steam and condensate
flow
-Operating frequency judge
mental
-Background or ambient noise
confusing
-Small leaks undetected
-Electrical safety-some
devices
Ultrasonic
-Same as first five items above
-Does not distinguish between
steam and condensate flow
-Not always insensitive to back
ground or ambient noise
-Noise in electrical system if
volume too high
-Head set quality important
-Location of probe on trap,
contact force, pressure drop
in trap, wall thickness of
trap and orifice size influ
ence results observed
-Expensive & requires calibra
tion
-Electrical safety-some
devices

-Does not quantify le~ks


-Need to understand t~ap opera
tion

-Need to have an idea ~f ex


pected temperatures I
-Cycling control val~s in
fluence results
-Cost of devices ranger' from
very small to very hi h
-Clean surfaces needed for
contact
-Does not always detec~ failed
open trap, especiallyl if
condensate & steam arf being
discharged simultaneorsly
-Some devices need cal~bration
-Infra red devices nee~ calibration, consideratiop of
target size and emiss~vity
of target

636

Proceedings from the Fourth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 4-7, 1982

ESL-IE-82-04-119

Legend of Symbols
C

= Quantity

CR

of condensate, lb

CL

Condensate Rate lb/hr

=
=

W = Weight of pipe, lb/ft


Cp
hfg

Specific heat, Btu/ lb


(0.12 for steel)
Latent heat of steam at final
pressure, Btu/lb

Condensate load, lb/hr


Heat transfer coefficient Btu/hr/sq
ft/oF temp. difference. (A value of
U = 3 is frequently used.)

External area of pipe, sq. ft/ft

Length of pipe, ft

T
p

Pipe temp. , of

L - Length of pipe, ft

Ta

Ambient temp. , of

hfg

= latent

Insulation factor, equal to 1 minus


efficiency

=Initial pipe temp. ,oF

Final pipe temp., of


(Saturation for final pressure)

heat of steam at operating


pressure, Btu/lb

,r

Time for warm-up, hr

':~

~,

637
Proceedings from the Fourth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 4-7, 1982