Maintenance and Testing of Your Steam Traps

If you practice indiscriminate maintenance of your Nicholson Steam Traps it will cost you much more money. Your steam traps will be in one of three states:

1. In proper working condition.
2. Actively leaking steam.
3. Blocking the flow.

One of the major problems that has existed is accurately identifying faulty traps. A wrong diagnosis may allow a faulty trap to stay troublesome and a properly working trap to be replaced when it is not necessary. It is crucial that you have an accurate diagnosis of your steam trap issue for proper maintenance.

Historically speaking, the diagnostic methods that have been used included optical sight glasses, listening devices, ultrasonic techniques and temperature monitoring. All of these techniques can provide an indication of the flow, but may be inaccurate as the conditions of the system change. The noise level of the equipment will change with disturbance from any adjacent traps and the condensate load. Additionally, the interpretation of the signals will be difficult even for the most experienced operators.

Routine maintenance that you perform will be dependent on the type of trap as well as the application. For example, the balanced pressure steam trap, has a specific element that is designed for quick and efficient replacement. When these are changed on a regular basis, such as once every three years, may seem wasteful; however, this practice will reduce the need for trap checking and help to ensure a system that is trouble free with few losses due to defective traps.

A routine maintenance schedule that involves the cleaning and then re-using of the existing internals will leave you with a less-than-trustworthy steam trap. You will still have to check the unit from time to time, and it will be prone to wearing out. Any time routing maintenance is done, it should include the replacement of any broken or suspected parts if you want it to remain cost effective.

Keep in mind, the amount of maintenance your steam trap will need is highly dependent on the type of equipment you have and how often it is used. However, the fact is ensuring it is operating properly will keep your equipment running efficiently which can increase your productivity while lowering your overall costs. Keep this in mind when you are planning maintenance for your equipment, as the steam traps are not an element that need to be forgotten.

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