Steam traps are an indisputably important part of a machine, helping production to run more efficiently by regulating released gasses as specified by the steam pressure table. As such, it is an important component to keep maintained, replacing with new steam trap parts when necessary. Knowing just how to keep a steam trap at its best can be a bit elusive, though the act of doing so isn’t hard when one knows what’s required. The following are some tips and ideas for successful and regular steam trap maintenance.
1) Preventing Leaks
An obviously important part of maintaining a healthy steam trap is to insure that it is trapping steam as it is supposed to do. Without active assessment programs practicing regular steam trap testing, as much as 20% of the steam leaving a boiler plant can be caused by leaking traps. Ideally, regular steam trap survey should keep less than 5% of steam trap population from leaking. Leaks can be prevented with regular check-ups and being mindful of the steam pressure table requirements.
2) Regular Overall Maintenance
Leaks are not the only factor worth keeping regulated. The steam trap and system as a whole needs to be tested and checked regularly to make sure it is still functioning as expected. Between 15 to 30% of steam traps can fail in a steam system that hasn’t been properly maintained, which is a lot more than necessary for a system to which the regular check ups have been made. As a general rule of thumb, steam systems with high pressure (150 psig or more) need to be expected more often, weekly to monthly, while lower pressure steam systems (30 psig and under) need only be inspected annually. Once again, checking the steam pressure table can insure things are running smoothly.
3) Keeping Parts up to Date
Keeping track of the age of old steam system parts and checking with a steam trap distributor can insure proper working, up-to-date parts and a properly running system. In fact, keeping quality equipment and regular maintenance checks in place and reduce steam losses to as little as 1%, while old, inefficient steam traps may cause as much as $8,000 in annual steam waste. The best one can do is be mindful of the age of their steam system parts, keep these parts regulated for any issues, and replace as needed or as often as time and money allows.
Keeping steam systems at their best need not be exercise in difficulty or futility if one knows the basics of proper maintenance.