Steam Trap Management & steam/condensate

Starting a Steam Trap Maintenance Program might seem like a large undertaking for many facilities; however, the benefits far outweigh any costs and effort involved. Implementing a steam system maintenance program can save time, reduce costs, and improve operating efficiency and product.


With today’s energy costs and demand for production reliability, it is extremely important to have a pro-active steam trap station management program included with the overall steam system management program. A steam trap station failure rate must be below 3% annually. To achieve a reliable steam trap station system, root cause analysis has to be part of the program. We can no longer accept failures of more than 3% with steam trap station components. Today, plant operation mandates a steam trap station to be reliable for at least 6 years or longer.

Why steam trap station management instead of steam trap management? Steam traps are only one component in a proper steam trap station arrangement. Just reviewing the steam trap instead of the entire steam trap station can lead to an unsuccessful steam trap station management program. Poor steam trap station management is a major cause of energy dollar losses and significantly increases emissions in today’s steam system operation. A successful steam trap station management program can identify defective steam valves, steam traps, strainer failures, and blowdown valve failures. Additionally, with this documentation and knowledge, the amount of energy and emission impacts for each steam valve or steam trap failure can be calculated.

A steam trap station program will accomplish the following:

  • Reduce energy losses
  • Increase system reliability
  • Keep failure rates below 3% annually
  • Decrease combustion emissions
  • Decrease production downtime
  • Improve steam quality

How do we start with a survey and how does it works?

  1. Registration and inventarisation of steam traps

Carefully register the location of each steam trap, maybe with the help of existing data. We note all information, like brand, type, usage, etc. During the inventarisation, we already do part of the analysis.  We look for specific problems, like steam- and water shock, wrong dimensions of condensate systems andbadly designed pipe configurations, wrong type of steam trap, etc.. The first inspection is usually the most difficult and time consuming one. Condenspotten worden bij voorkeur aangeduid op een grondplan.

  1. Creating a database.

The registered information is kept in a database. A correct build-up of the measuring database is necessary for the execution of realiable measurements.

  1. Inspection of steam traps

steam2Next to being inspected as to being operational, also an inspection is needed of the leaks of flange connections, setup and the right application for this type of steam trap, mounting error, external steam leaks, opened bypass taps, etc.

Because of the many variables in a steam system, for example back pressure, a temperature measurement alone is not the most reliable indicator. A visual inspection of steam traps with atmospheric drainage is also not reliable because visible steam plumes can be created because of revaporiserend condensate, caused by the pressure difference over the steam trap. The most reliable measurement is the combined temperature/ultrasound measurement.


  1. Reporting

The after-inspection report is thé instrument for a proactive and cost-conscious policy. With a good report, the person responsible can make an action plan, based on facts.

Please feel free to ask for an example of a steam tap report, to see what it looks like. Call us on +32471743456, or send an email to: