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Selection, Sizing, and Testing of Stream Traps in Commercial Buildings
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For maximum effectiveness in steam systems, steam traps should have operating characteristics which closely match the requirements of the applications for which they are used. A trap which holds back condensate until it is subcooled and some of the sensible heat has been utilized is unsuitable where the need is to get maximum output from an exchanger by discharging condensate as soon as it forms. Equally, a trap discharging condensate at steam temperature can exacerbate flash steam problems in cases where surplus heat exchange area exists and a subcooling trap might be more suitable. In all cases, undersized traps simply cannot drain condensate from the steam equipment at the required rate, while oversized traps which cost more will usually wear faster and begin leaking expensive steam. This emphasizes the need for carefully selecting trap sizes that are properly engineered for maximum system efficiency. And, of course, the ability of a trap to cope with varying loads and to discharge noncondensible gases is often important. The recommended procedure is to first select the trap type which has performance capabilities that satisfy specific application needs, and then to choose a size which handles the condensate load without any unnecessary excess capacity. The Selection Guide, Table 1, is not comprehensive but helps in many applications where no unusual operating conditions or severe corrosion problems exist. Choosing the correct trap size then implies estimating the steam consumption rate, which of course equals the condensate load. Sometimes the load has already been measured, or the rated output of the steam equipment is known or can be obtained from the original manufacturer. In other cases, an estimate must be made and a Table o f Load Formulas will help although it, too, cannot be comprehensive. After making the best possible estimate of the load, a safety factor is applied. This allows for any inaccuracies in the estimating, for increased condensation rates at start-up, and for lower than anticipated pressure differentials across the trap.
Armer, A.; Risko, J. R. (1984). Selection, Sizing, and Testing of Stream Traps in Commercial Buildings. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from