Inspect and Repair Steam Traps

Source: U.S. Department of Energy
In steam systems that have not been maintained for 3 to 5 years, between 15% to 30% of the installed steam traps may have failed—thus allowing live steam to escape into the condensate return system. In systems with a regularly scheduled maintenance program, leaking traps should account for less than 5% of the trap population. If your steam distribution system includes more than 500 traps, a steam trap survey will probably reveal significant steam losses. 


In a plant where the value of steam is $10.00 per thousand pounds ($10.00/1,000 lb), an inspection program indicates that a trap on a 150-pound-per-square-inch-gauge (psig) steam line is stuck open. The trap orifice is 1/8th inch in diameter. The table shows the estimated steam loss as 75.8 pounds per hour (lb/hr). After the failed trap is repaired, annual savings are: 

Annual Savings = 75.8 lb/hr x 8,760 hr/yr x $10.00/1,000 lb

= $6,640

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