Steam trap application
Thermostatic steamtrap in good condition
This trap will operate in an “open-close” cycle. As steam enters, the thermostatic element expands and the trap will close. When the steam cools to condensate, the element will contract and open. The number of cycles and the time between cycles is dependent on the condensate load. It can discharge for long cycles or stay shut for a long time. Conversely it can also open and close rapidly.
Thermostatic steamtrap failed open
Should the thermostatic element fail, the trap can be stuck open. Acoustically the “open-close” pattern disappears and only a steady rushing sound of steam blowing through will be heard.
Thermodynamic steamtrap in good condition
A Thermodynamic or “Disc” trap will have an “open-close-open-close” cycle of anywhere from 4 to 10 times a minute. Play the sample on the right to hear and view this cycle.
Thermodynamic steamtrap failed leaking “motor boating effect”
In this sample the disc no longer shuts closed as it should. Instead it is leaking steam. This is heard as a chattering sound and can be observed in the time series view.
Thermodynamic steamtrap failed open
If the disc is stuck open it will waste steam. The “open-close” pattern will be replaced with a constant rushing sound of steam blowing through.
Live steam sound in a pipeline
Steam is the vapor phase of water and is identified acoustically as a constant rushing sound as you will hear in this sample.
Inverted bucket steamtrap in good condition
This trap will operate in an “open-close” cycle. The number of cycles and the time between cycles is dependent on the condensate load and the size of the trap. Here is a typical good trap operation.
Inverted bucket steamtrap failed open
When the bucket loses its’ prime it sinks and forces the discharge valve open. Acoustically the “open-close” pattern disappears and only a steady rushing sound of steam blowing through will be heard.
Float & Thermostatic steamtrap in good condition
A float and thermostatic trap has two elements: the ball float and the thermostatic bellows. Typically this trap will have a steady modulating flow. This is caused by changes in the motion of the float element as it adjusts to changes in the condensate level. Occasionally the thermostatic element will contract to discharge contaminants such as air.
Float & Thermostatic steamtrap failed open
When a float & thermostatic trap fails it can fail shut or open. If the ball float becomes damaged due to an event such as water hammer, the float will sink and shut the trap. In this instance there will be no sound and the trap will be cold. If the valve is stuck open then steam will rush through. This is an example of steam rushing through.