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A correctly selected and sized steam trap reduces process time and simultaneously saves energy.

Steam traps are devices that trap steam and allow condensate to be removed from the system. Different steam traps operate on different mechanisms. Though a steam trap, because of its inherent nature will trap steam, some designs are more effective and efficient for an application.

Selecting the right size of steam trap is as important as selecting the right type. The size of the trap decides the quantity of condensate that can be discharged in unit time. Sizing depends on factors such as condensate load, differential pressure and temperature.

Given below is a guide for trap selection for major applications.



Application Requirement from trap for the application Suitable trap Remarks
Steam Mains Drain
1. Should be Economical
2. Discharge pattern: Not of significance
3. Ability to handle low condensate loads
4. Robustness
Thermodynamic trap Ensures effective condensate discharge, with compact & robust design.
Process Equipments
1. Discharge pattern: Continuous
2. Ability to handle high condensate loads
Single orifice  float trap Continuous discharge of condensate at steam temperature ensures rapid warm up in process & saves energy.
Jacketing and Tracing
1. Should be economical
2. Discharge pattern: Not of significance
3. Sub cooling advantageous
Balanced pressure traps Sub cools condensate before discharge, giving additional heat to application thus saving energy.
Non critical heating applications with existing risk of water hammer.
Eg:
Tanks with bottom coil heaters with top entry & exit for steam and condensate respectively.
1. Robustness
 bucket trap Effective, but inefficient from energy perspective and has problems with air venting.


Case example:
At a chemical plant in Gujarat, replacing thermodynamic traps with correctly sized Float traps reduced process time from 7 hrs to 5 hrs and steam consumption by 8%. Just shows what right trap selection can do for the plant.