Sagging of steam lines due to failure of supports leads to condensate accumulation, causing leaks.
During normal operation the steam main faces thermal and mechanical stresses. If not accounted for during the design stage, these stresses could lead to sagging of the steam lines due to failure of supports.
Sagging in steam lines leads to accumulation of condensate at the point of sag. If condensate is allowed to accumulate the overall effective cross sectional area of the pipe also reduces. This causes steam velocity to increase above the recommended limits. The mixture of steam and condensate at high velocities is damaging as it leads to erosion and water hammer.
Water hammer is the phenomenon caused by slugs of condensate colliding at high velocity into pipework fittings, and equipment. The resulting erosion and corrosion of the pipework and equipment create leaks in the steam system.
Addressing these leaks will automatically lead to reduced steam consumption and thus a lower fuel bill.
Either additional supports should be provided at the point of sag or, if that is not possible, a steam trap should be installed to drain the accumulated condensate.