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How are steam traps used in different applications?

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In steam installations, choosing the right type of steam trap can make all the difference in your pursuit of an efficient system that effortlessly drains excess condensate whilst also retaining precious steam. With that in mind, BM Engineering Supplies looks at common applications requiring steam traps and talks you through which traps would be optimal for the task. Steam traps are variously needed to drain condensate from steam piping, steam-using process equipment and tracer lines, which calls for slightly different steam trap varieties in each specific case.


Which applications require steam traps?

Drip Applications

Drip applications are the most common application for steam traps. This involves removing condensate formed in steam lines when the steam has lost its heat energy. In these cases, the resulting traps are known as 'drip traps,' which require minimal condensate capacities and don’t necessarily discharge large amounts of air.

Type: Thermodynamic traps are widely used in drip applications because thermostatic air vents in the piping system take care of removing air from the system. For steam systems up to 30 PSIG, Float and thermostatic (F&T) traps are recommended and for steam systems containing excessive scale and dirt, bucket traps are the most reliable option.


Valsteam ADCA Bucket Steam Trap
Caption: Valsteam ADCA Bucket Steam Trap


Process Applications

Process trap applications involve removing condensate and air from a specific heat transfer process (such as a radiator or heat exchanger). So-called process traps are therefore deployed in process applications that demand larger condensate handling and greater air discharge capabilities.

Type: The most widespread stream trap used for process applications are thermostatic traps and F&T traps because they both offer exceptionally good condensate and air handling capabilities.

Valsteam ADCA F&T Steam Trap
Caption: Valsteam ADCA F&T Steam Trap

Tracing Applications

Steam tracing uses steam to raise a product's temperature by using steam-filled tubing or jacketed pipes. For example, a high viscosity oil pipeline might be wrapped with steam tubing to lower the oil's viscosity and therefore aid its flow through the pipeline. A steam trap is installed on the end of the tubing to expel condensate.

Type: For tracing applications, the thermostatic steam traps are the number one choice because they are the most thermally efficient type and are therefore perfectly suited to these kinds of applications.

Caption: Valsteam ADCA Thermostatic Steam Trap


Caption: Valsteam ADCA Thermostatic Steam Trap

Valsteam ADCA's range of steam traps

BM Engineering Supplies (BME) is an official supplier of Valsteam ADCA's comprehensive range of steam traps, which come in various different materials – from DN15 to DN 150 – and are designed for pressure up to 80 bar and flow rates of over 100,000 Kgs/h.

Scott Miller, Sales Engineer at BM Engineering Supplies, said: “In any steam installation, choosing the right type of steam trap to suit your specific application is critical. The wrong product choice can lead to a great deal of extra cost at the hands of an inefficient system.

“That is why it is imperative to seek out professional guidance from qualified steam trap experts, like our team at BME, to ensure you fit the best possible steam trap for your particular needs,” he added.

Speak to one of BME's knowledgeable advisers about your steam trap requirements today by calling 0141 762 0657or email sales@bmengineering.co.uk. For more information please visit www.bmengineering.co.uk.

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