Why Do Steam Traps Fail?

You know how important steam is in many heating processes, but have you ever thought about what happens to steam once it has been used? If you know the answer already, then you know how important steam traps are. Steam traps are like automatic valves that filter out used steam. The difference between used steam and unused steam is latent heat, which is the energy that created the steam in the first place. Steam condenses and becomes a condensate when it loses its latent heat. That condensate gets in the way and must be removed quickly because of the repercussions it can have on an operation’s efficiency. Steam traps need to be able to get rid of non-condensable gasses as well. The tricky thing about this process is that steam traps cannot leak any steam.

Steam traps aren’t perfect, either. Sometimes they malfunction. Why does this happen?

Here at Coastal Technical Sales, we know the importance of a good steam trap. So we thought it might be a good idea to share some common causes of steam trap failure.

  1. Dirt can come from many things, from corrosion to water minerals, and is the culprit in many, many steam trap malfunctions.
  2. Pressure surges can be caused by many things, like incorrect piping and sudden steam valve openings.
  3. Open traps can be quite costly in terms of wasted steam.
  4. Closed traps prevent condensate from draining.

There can be significant negative consequences in the event of a steam trap failure. Steam trap failures waste energy, raise safety concerns and, of course, create the costs associated with replacements, as well as the repairs for any other damages. If you are having trouble with your steam trap, you should consider reaching out to someone like Coastal Technical Sales to discuss replacing it.