Steam Traps

Valves that discharge condensed steam, air, or other incondensable gases, as soon as they form, without letting live steam escape are known as steam traps. They are used to retain steam and to make sure that steam is not wasted. Steam is a necessity in industry, used commonly for heating or as a driving force for mechanical power. Most steam traps are automatic, thus opening and closing automatically.

Condensate cannot perform the same functions as steam, since heating processes are steam-based and transfer concealed heat to a given product. Heating efficiency suffers if condensate is not removed as quickly as possible, which is why the steam trap is so useful.

It’s important that the characteristics of steam traps match up with those of their application, since conditions can vary depending on the workplace. Steam traps may be subjected to such conditions, like operating pressure or heat load, and could succumb to overheating or water hammer. The most commonly used steam traps are the ones that rely on differences in temperature or specific pressures or gravities. High quality steam traps from Detroit Nipple Works are broken down into three categories: Mechanical, thermostatic, and thermodynamic. These are the specific types of steam traps:

  • Float and Thermostatic Traps – These come equipped with a stainless steel thermostatic air vent, which is sealed, and a ball float made out stainless steel.  
  • Inverted Bucket Traps – One of the few steam traps that need to be operated manually at the time of start-up. This creates the water seal around the inverted bucket and lets the trap function.
  • Open Float and Thermostatic Traps – Provide continuous air venting and condensate draining through an open float.
  • Thermodynamic Traps – Traps stay closed until flash steam condensation is formed, which allows system pressure to raise the disc from off of the seat of the valve.
  • Thermostatic Radiator Traps – Temperature respondent; opens or closes depending on temperature.

Most operating steam traps are of the thermostatic or mechanical variety. Steam traps are most efficient when they are sized for the specific application they are used on. It is generally a good idea to oversize them because they will still discharge condensate when closed. But beware, as some oversized steam traps tend to waste energy or wear down rapidly.

If you’re not quite sure which type of steam trap is right for you, contact Detroit Nipple Works. We’ll be happy to lend a helping hand!