Here’s a Quick Overview of the Types of Steam Traps You Need to Be Considering

Millions of businesses around the world depend on steam to power their daily operations, and failing to procure the right types of steam traps could drastically reduce your efficiency. There are tons of different steam traps to choose from, and you need to be educated on the different types of steam traps to enhance productivity.

Regardless of what steam products you end up with, you need to invest in regular steam trap testing and maintenance. In steam systems that have not been maintained for three to five years, about 15-30% of the installed steam traps will likely fail. Also, in systems with a regularly scheduled maintenance program, leaking traps account for less than 5% of the trap population. By investing in the right types of steam traps and ensuring they’re maintained properly, you’ll quickly learn that a quality steam trap is the best investment you could ever make.

  • Thermostatic traps
     Thermostatic valves operate through thermal expansion and contraction. They respond to the surrounding temperature and react accordingly to power your operations. Within the category of thermostatic traps are liquid expansion traps, balanced pressure thermostatic traps, and several other variations. Each one does a specific job, and you need to find the right one for your production levels.
  • Thermodynamic traps
    These traps operate much differently than thermostatic traps in that flash steam passes through the trap, which creates the power you need to get things done. Thermodynamic traps are preferred by many businesses because they’re extremely durable and simple to operate. There is a good chance that thermodynamic traps will be best suited to your needs.
  • Know your brands
     There are many types of steam traps that you’ll be choosing from, and the brands that manufacture them are also quite extensive. From Danfoss valves to Spence valves and Spirax Sarco steam traps, a steam trap professional can give you the pros and cons of each brand to help you make an educated decision.

Old, inefficient steam traps produce $8,000 in steam waste annually, and you need to stay on top of your steam trap’s maintenance once you find the right one for your business. Check out all the types of steam traps and talk to an expert to find one that’s perfect for you.

3 Things You Need to Know About Steam Traps

Steam products can be very difficult to work with, as many of them are complex. Each part must be working at top capacity for the entire unit to run efficiently, and many people simply don’t take enough time or put enough effort in to ensure that the system is running efficiently. With just a few tweaks on how you use steam trap parts, you can make everything run together more efficiently, thus helping your business overall. Read on for a few things you need to know.

Maintenance is Necessary
Maintenance, for any type of machine or mechanism, is absolutely necessary. While this may seem obvious, many people will continue to run something half broken until it completely stops working. Not only is this dangerous, especially in the case of steam trap valves, but it will also cost you money in the long run. Fixing small issues over time rather than one big fix or replacement benefits your entire company. Plus, an efficient, quality system can reduce steam losses to less than 1%! In addition, a regular maintenance program ensures that leaking traps are less than 5% of the trap population.

Regular Testing Benefits
Steam trap testing is another big thing that can add life to steam trap parts. Systems that go unmaintained for three to five years run the risk of having 15% to 30% of steam traps failing. Regular testing allows you to see what is going wrong and where, so that you can address the issue before it moves to other parts.

Go For Durability From the Start
Of course, to avoid a lot of maintenance throughout the life of your system, it is beneficial to shop for durability from the very beginning. This way, you can do less maintenance without having to worry about the system, because it will be able to handle more.

Did you know these facts about steam vents and traps? Will you be putting more of these things into practice within your business?

Are Your Radiator Valves Working as Well as They Should Be?

radiator valvesSteam traps are an integral part of your industrial operations, and you should be focusing on the different components of your traps to make sure they’re working as well as they should be. A faulty steam trap could be costing you thousands of dollars, and bad radiator valves could be the culprit.

Old, inefficient steam traps could waste about $8,000 a year, and finding quality radiator valves could put that money back into your pocket. It’s an essential investment for any company that depends on their steam traps on a daily basis. Here’s a few tips on radiator valves, and how to get the most out of your investment:

Invest in regular maintenance. Bringing in the pros to do some steam trap testing could nip your problems in the bud, which will save you tons of money over time. In fact, systems with regularly scheduled maintenance programs account for less than 5% of the leaking trap population. Also, quality maintenance programs can reduce steam loss to a paltry 1%, which adds up to thousands of dollars over the long run. A professional can suggest ways to improve your radiator valves, or simply recommend a complete replacement to avoid future leaks and losses.

Which valve should I get? There are three great radiator valves to consider when looking to switch or find new valves. Solenoid valves are some of the easiest to install in an existing system, and you won’t need to stop or drain it for installation. Spirax Sarco products are known for being some of the best in the business, providing quality radiator valves and other components. Finally, Spence valves have one of the best reputations in the industry, and the company has been around for over 100 years. A great tip is to invest in thermostatic valves, which automatically control water temperature in cooling systems, saving you tons of time and effort.

Find a great warranty. Despite your best efforts, things do sometimes go awry in steam traps, and it’s important to be protected in case problems arise. Standard Industry steam traps come with a one year warranty and typically last three to seven years depending on service, environment, usage, and other factors. You cannot afford to be left in the dark when it comes to your steam traps, and shutting down operations for even a day can put a huge dent in your weekly and monthly goals.

Investing in the right type of steam traps and radiator valves while protecting yourself with maintenance and warranties is a crucial factor in keep your systems running correctly. Find a pro who offers all of these great products and see what solutions will work best for your system.

3 Quick Tips for Better Steam Trap Maintenance

Let’s face it: If you aren’t an expert on steam traps and other steam products, knowing how to conduct steam trap testing in order to keep your system working properly can seem pretty complicated. That being said, steam trap maintenance is incredibly important and just a little bit of maintenance work can go a long way in terms of energy efficiency and cost-savings. In fact, an old steam trap system that isn’t working efficiently can waste enough energy to cost you around $8,000 per year. If a system goes without any maintenance for three years, around 15% of the steam traps in the system stop working; after five years, that percentage jumps to 30%.

So, with that in mind, here are a few of the simplest — but most effective — ways to keep steam trap parts working properly:

  1. Remember that preventative measures are always more efficient and more affordable than reactive measures.
     The key pillar of steam trap maintenance is to catch possible problems before they happen, so it’s imperative to repair or replace individual parts as often as needed, even if it feels like a waste of money at the time. Low-pressure steam trap systems (below 30 psig) should be inspected at least once a year, while high-pressure systems (150 psig and above) should be inspected anywhere between once a week to once a month.
  2. Look at the steam
    This sounds simple, but it’s actually one of the best ways to determine if your system is working properly. you simply have to look at the steam coming out: “flash steam” is a lazy, pillowy type of steam that systems emit when they’re working properly, while “live steam” is a bit more sporadic and is a sign that the system has failed. If you have a relatively small steam trap system, this method of performance analysis may suffice for intermittent inspections, which you can do by yourself and without any equipment. More sophisticated systems will benefit from performance stations that also evaluate the sound and temperature of the system, which both require some extra equipment.
  3. Keep in mind that your system is unique
    There are many different types of steam traps, but the environment in which the system is placed can also have a big effect on how well it’s working. For example, if you’re located in an area where the seasons change dramatically in temperature and humidity, your system losses will fluctuate and may require extra attention during certain times

Of course, the most important thing when it comes to steam trap maintenance is to make sure that safety is your first priority! Some of the more advanced maintenance and testing methods may call for a certified professional, so don’t feel like you have to do everything on your own.

5 Ways to Increase the Efficiency of Your Steam Radiators This Winter

spirax steam trapRadiators have been used for heating ever since they were invented by Franz San Galli, a Prussian-born Russian businessman, in 1855. They’re still in use today because they’re a relatively cost-effective way of heating homes and larger commercial spaces. But with winter coming up, you may want to take a second look at your home’s radiator system to see if you can squeeze a little more efficiency out of it and save a little money. Best practices vary a bit depending on if you have a hot water or steam system; here are five important things to keep in mind for steam radiators, in particular:

1. Be Patient When Heating
Radiators work by circulating steam through pipes to your radiator units. When the steam reaches a radiator, it releases its heat onto the fins of the radiator, which in turn heat the room. These fins hold heat even after steam is no longer circulating, which means the temperature in your house can continue to rise even after the system is shut off. So set your thermostat just a little lower than you usually would, and wait a while before deciding if your room is still too chilly.

2. Encourage Good Air Flow
Although radiators get their name because they use radiant heating, they also rely on convection. What does that mean? Essentially, the temperature difference creates an air current that pulls in cool air for heating. For that reason, it’s important to make sure the space around your radiators is clear so air can circulate. If you’ve enclosed your radiator, make sure the enclosure includes a grate or screen that doesn’t impede air flow.

3. Replace Old Steam Traps
Steam traps on radiators are a major factor when it comes to preventing steam loss. There are several types of steam traps, but all serve to let air and condensation escape from a system while maintaining steam pressure. They do wear out, so it’s important to regularly replace them. In an ideally maintained system, leaking traps will account for less than 5% of the total number of traps. How long should they last? That depends on how much your system gets used, but standard industry steam traps come with a year-long warranty and typically last between three and seven years. There are numerous brands available. Spirax steam traps, for example, are known for being particularly high in quality; although you may not need Spirax steam traps for an average home system, you should know that generic parts may not last as long.

4. Install Thermostatic Valves
Old radiator systems may provide no way for you to control heat in individual rooms, leading to uneven heating. You can retrofit your system with thermostatic radiator valves, which self-regulate the amount of steam entering a radiator by sensing the surrounding air temperature.

5. Invest in a New Boiler
A boiler is an essential part of a steam radiator system, since it’s what turns cold water into steam (it takes 970 BTU, or 1,023,404 joules, of energy to convert each pound of water into steam at the same temperature). Many new boilers are simply far more efficient in that process than ones that are decades old.

Are you looking for radiator valves or top-of-the-line Spirax steam traps? Let us know!

The Ins and Outs of Steam Traps

spirax steam trapSteam traps are devices that control the discharge of condensate and noncondensable gases with minimal loss of live steam. Steam traps are used in many machines that use steam to power themselves. They are also used for machines that generate heat for several different applications. Why are they needed? Though the process is somewhat complicated, it can be summarized like this:

Steam is used by machines to generate heat. Steaming is the preferred method of transferring heat. When steam condenses into water, it lets out latent heat; that is, energy that does not change the temperature of the substance (in this case, water). In contrast, with sensible heat the energy discharged when hot liquid water or oil condenses into a cooler liquid. Because latent heat is much more powerful than sensible heat, many heating mechanisms rely on latent heat to keep a steady temperature. Mechanisms using sensible heat (i.e. hot liquid water or oil) would lose a lot of energy.

Steam trap valves, therefore, are used to regulate the condensation of a machine. Their purpose is to ensure that the pipes only have condensable gases, lose as little live steam as possible, and eject condensate (such as warm or cool liquid water) as soon as it’s formed. Leftover condensate can slow down the heating given that it conducts less heat than live steam.

Companies that rely on heating machines depend on these traps in order to generate the most heat. Of the different kinds of steam products out there, Spirax steam traps make for great steam vents and steam regulators. They have a proven track record of reliability and efficiency. It is recommended that steam systems with high pressure (i.e. 150 psig and above) need to be inspected at least once a month. Steam systems with low pressure (below 30 psig) need to be checked at least once a year. Quality equipment like Spirax steam traps can reduce the loss of steam in heating equipment to less than 1%!

Why Steam Power Is Still Relevant in 2015

steam productsWhen you think of steam products or steam power, you probably think first of the steam locomotive, or of the steam-powered factories of the Industrial Revolution. What you might not know is that steam still has a major role to play today, both in heating applications (radiators) and industrial ones. Here are three reasons steam power is still relevant, and is likely to stay relevant for a long time to come:

  1. Steam Power Is Effective
    There’s a reason steam powered the Industrial Revolution and yet remains in use today; it’s actually a very sensible power source. Because steam is compressible, it can be used to store large quantities of energy; and because liquid has a small volume, it’s easy to transport. Plus, the properties of water are well known, making calculations regarding steam systems relatively simple. That’s why, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than 87% of U.S. electricity (as of 2011), was generated by steam or hybrid systems. Take a look at steam pressure tables and you’ll see the potential.
  2. Steam Power Is Efficient
    Steam-powered systems can also be very efficient. Most include condensers that allow water to be re-used. In fact, efficiency problems in steam systems are almost always due to maintenance issues of steam products, rather than being inherent to the medium. New, quality equipment can keep steam losses below 1%. But when a system isn’t regularly assessed to make sure that any steam regulators and stream trap valves are working, efficiency can drop drastically. A space heating system with a central boiler, for example, will lose approximately 20% of its steam via leaking steam traps if they have not been replaced (in systems that have not received maintenance in the past three to five years, between 15% and 30% of the steam traps installed may have failed). So if you’re seeing low efficiency in a system, that’s probably something that can be fixed with simple replacement steam trap parts.
  3. Steam Power Is Sustainable
    Another positive feature of steam power is that it can be sustainable, depending on the energy source used to heat it. If steam is heated with an energy source that can be renewed without depleting resources, that reduces overall dependence on fossil fuels, and that reduces air and water contamination, it is generally considered sustainable. Sustainable steam power is currently being worked on in the automobile industry, shipping industry, manufacturing industry, and housing industry, among others.

Do you have any questions about steam systems and steam products, whether that’s regarding steam traps on radiators or larger steam-powered applications? Join the discussion in the comments.

Bad Steam Traps May Be Killing Your Home’s System

thermostatic valvesCall the plumber! These are never words you want to be calling out in a panic. But faulty steam vents and bad thermostatic valves can easily lead to these words being uttered at the wrong time. Steam trap testing ensures that your steam traps, including those with thermostatic valves, are working properly and in turn, save you lots of money that could be lost to costly repairs or inefficient systems.

There are various steam trap parts that are integral to your home’s hot water system. Ensuring that the equipment and components in your home are high quality can help to reduce steam losses toless than 1%. Conducting a steam trap survey can determine the quality of your system. This involves checking the steam vents, whether they are thermostatic valves or thermodynamic valves, steam valves and other steam trap parts to ensure the system’s health.

If the system is in poor condition, as much as 20% of steam can be lost as it leaves the central boiler plant and moves through the heating system. A proactive assessment program can help ensure that you don’t lose all that steam. Leaky thermostatic valves can malfunction dangerously, but the loss of steam from inefficient thermostatic valves and other steam traps can also produce as much as $8,000 in steam waste every year!

How would you know if your steam trap maintenance is up to par? It’s not as if every normal homeowner knows their way around thermostatic valves. As a rule of thumb, if it has been three to five years since the last known servicing to your steam system was performed, that is an indication that the system should be checked, as typically 15-30% of systems installed that long ago have already failed.

Answering Your Top FAQs on Steam Traps

f you deal with steam systems in any capacity — whether that’s in radiators or steam-powered industrial mechanisms — then you will almost certainly need to know something about steam traps and steam trap parts. But the problem is that much of the information on steam products is highly technical and difficult to understand if you don’t already have a background in this area of industrial engineering. To help you get started, here are five of the most frequently asked questions regarding steam traps, all answered in plain language.

    1. What Is a Steam Trap, Exactly? 
      Steam traps can be thought of as a combination of a vent and a valve. They perform three important functions: maintaining steam where you want it, draining condensate and removing non-condensables from the system.


    1. Why Are There So Many Steam Trap Types? 
      Over the past century, more than 1,400 steam trap designs have been manufactured. But actually, all fall into one of three categories: thermostatic steam traps, mechanical steam traps and thermal dynamic steam traps. These types are separated by how the valve is operated.


    1. What’s the Big Deal With Inspections? 
      Standard guidelines for inspections have to do with the amount of pressure in a system; high-pressure steam systems (150 pounds per square inch and above) should be inspected every week or every month, whereas low-pressure steam systems (below 30 pounds per square inch) need to be inspected once a year or so. These inspections have to do with safety, which is why they should never be skipped. There are other reasons to make sure your steam traps are in good condition and operating efficiently, too: Old, inefficient steam traps can lead to $8,000 worth of waste every single year.


    1. Are Some Steam Traps Better Than Others? 
      Yes, some brands are better respected than others by people who work in the industry. If you’re looking for the highest quality, then Spirax Sarco steam traps and Armstrong steam traps are a good place to start.


    1. How Should I Choose a Supplier?
      In addition to choosing the right steam traps and steam trap parts, you’ll need to find a supplier for those products. In fact, choosing the right supplier can help you with that process; if you’re relatively new to this world, choosing a supplier that offers a fair amount of guidance and some education (in the form of customer support, infographics, blogs, etc.) is a good idea. You should also investigate a company’s reputation and ask for some references before placing any orders.


What other questions or comments do you have regarding steam traps or steam trap parts? Share your feedback below.

Steam Trap Maintenance and Testing Procedures

If you have Mepco Steam Traps that fail or leak, it can become extremely expensive in terms of energy loss, safety and quality of products produced. There are a number of variances when it comes to how a particular steam trap works, for example, a thermostatic or float trap, versus an inverted bucket trap. In most cases the easiest way to find these differences and determine the actual operating conditions of your steam trap where online is with the use of an Ultrasonic tool.

Steam Trap Leak Detection: How Ultrasonic Detection Methods Work

Steam traps are defined as an “on-off” or hold-discharge hold type or a continuous flow, also called modulating continuous. The ultrasonic methods of leak detection are able to inspect a number of different steam trap types, in all different types of work environments.

The person operating the ultrasonic inspection equipment can choose from the basic point-and-shoot method to a sophisticated digital instrument with an on-board and no contact type of infrared thermometer, data logging features and comprehensive sound analysis. Ultrasonic systems offer a unique type of frequency turning that enables the users to tune into the steam trap and then identifies any blowing or leaking traps.

Method of Leak Detection

The methods of inspection will vary depending on the type of steam trap in use. This means that the main thing you need to know is the specific details of your entire system. For example, you will need to know how your steam trap performs in specific conditions, such as a light load versus a heavy load. If you want to successfully determine the condition of your trap, such as blockage or leaking, you will adjust the frequency tuning of the equipment you are handling.

While there are a number of different types of steam trap inspection, ultrasonic equipment is considered to be a positive type of test since the operator will be able to identify the intensity differentials and the sound quality instantly in order to determine the operating condition in an accurate manner.

Locating any leaks or blockages that may be present in your steam trap is essential and having the right tools to do this is crucial. It is a good idea to inspect your steam trap system on a regular basis in order to locate a potential issue early on. This will help to prevent serious, and costly issues down the road.