We receive many calls with these common denominators -

1. Steam leaks are a problem

2. Control valves fail

3. Pump seals leak well before their time

4. Water hammer is a problem

5. Red brown rust is common

6. Slugs of condensate in my equipment


The common denominator is the missing drip trap. Anytime that steam flow is stopped, condensate will form. Hot condensate and carbon dioxide react which forms carbonic acid. Carbonic acid is responsible for these problems. Drip traps should be installed -

1. Ahead of all valves

2. Every 200' on horizontal steam mains

3. At the low point on all elevation changes

4. At the end of all steam mains

5. At any point where steam flow is stopped

By following these simple points, entrained condensate is removed and your symptoms will disappear. Three basic trap choices are possible; disc, bucket, or float and thermostatic.

Disc traps are blast traps (either open or closed). Traps cover pressure ranges 400 to 600 psig and can be mounted in any position. Disc traps are poor venters of air and somewhat size sensitive with traps oversized not providing full service life. Prices range from about $ 200 to $ 300 for a 1/2" trap.

Bucket traps are also blast traps and operate to 250 psig in cast iron models. Bucket traps tend to better resist dirt and scale in steam systems since the valve seat is mounted on the upper portion of the trap. Bucket traps are poor venters of air and also sensitive to sizing. Prices range from $ 125 to $ 250 for a 1/2" trap.

Float and thermostatic traps are fully modulating and offer continuous discharge. All traps include a built in air vent to eliminate all non-condensables. F&T traps are an excellent choice when all factors are considered when making a trap selection. Prices for a 1/2" trap range from $ 150 to $ 300.

We carry all major brands of steam traps and will always make a suggestion based on the best trap for your application. A properly selected and applied steam trap should provide 5-10 years of trouble free service.

Got a steam system question? Call for expert prompt advice.