The Complete Steam Guide

Why is insulation important for steam lines and can poor insulation be a cause of water hammer?

A good Insulation system should be able to achieve surface temperature over insulated pipes at 10deg C above ambient temperature. Poor quality/health of the insulation will lead to excessive condensate formation due to higher radiation losses. The installed base of steam traps may not be able to handle this increased condensate load, leading to water hammer. It is good practice to carry out a periodic thermo-graphic evaluation of the insulation to curtail losses. The illustration below is an example of a typical thermo-graphic evaluation of the insulation carried out by a thermal imaging camera. It enables one to understand which sections of the insulation are damaged based on the temperature profile.