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Failing to maintain the steam traps in your building can cost thousands of dollars per year.

A variety of industries use steam traps to ensure more efficient heating and mechanical power. However, if these traps are not maintained to be at the right temperature, they are less effective.

Many ensure this doesn’t happen through insulation, but if you insulate the wrong type of steam trap, it can damage your steam system.

Here’s a quick guide on which steam traps can be insulated, so you can save more with your steam system.

Why Insulate Steam Traps?

If a steam trap gets too cold, the valve may open even if there is little to no condensate present. When it opens too often, it causes the system to lose steam and become less efficient.

Insulating a stream trap can help ensure it does not get too cold. One common insulation method is a steam trap blanket, which you can learn more about here.

Unfortunately, not all steam traps can use insulation. Some steam traps will not be as effective and may even get damaged with insulation.

Steam Traps that Can Be Insulated

Float traps are the only type of trap that can be insulated without restriction. These traps have valves that open and close solely based on changes in their water level.

Bucket traps, on the other hand, are limited to light insulation. Though the buoyancy of the bucket opens and closes the valve, it still partially relies on steam condensing inside the trap. If the bucket trap is heavily insulated, this will impact its operation and how well it functions.

Steam Traps that Cannot Be Insulated

Insulation decreases the effectiveness of thermostatic and thermodynamic traps and can damage these types of traps.

The valves of thermostatic traps only open when they cool down, and insulation discourages this from happening. This causes the valve to take longer to open, and the condensate inside pools from lack of proper discharge.

While thermodynamic traps operate on the pressure of flash steam instead of on temperature, insulating this type of trap will lead to similar results.

Insulating a thermodynamic trap can increase the rate of flash steam and prevent the valve from opening an adequate amount. Condensate may then start to pool in the trap.

A build-up of condensate increases how fast the trap corrodes and can also put extra stress on the system through the water hammer effect, increasing the risk of system damage or malfunction.

Using Steam Trap Insulation

Insulation can save you money and improve the efficiency of your steam traps, but it is important to make sure the type of trap you are using is safe to insulate. Insulating the wrong type of trap can impair the entire steam system and even damage it.

When insulating your steam trap, make sure to use thermal blanket insulation that is removable and reusable for when a trap needs testing and maintenance.

If you found this article informative, be sure to check out our technology section for more quality posts.

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