Questions About SteamLoc® Orifice Traps


How do they handle modulating loads?

SteamLoc® Orifice traps work excellent on modulating loads. They are sized for the maximum design load – valve full open. As the valve pinches down – due to less demand – steam pressure drops. Less steam will pass into the coil but the coil surface area does not change. The steam will then condense at a greater rate than it is replaced. The steam takes up more volume at a lower pressure. This pressure drop will allow the SteamLoc® trap to function at a higher rate of efficiency.  If the valve closes all the way the steam will condense and a vacuum will form. The coils vacuum breaker will allow air in and condensate will flow by gravity.

Do they always blow steam because they are always open?

Each SteamLoc® trap is designed to completely remove condensate at every trap station. There is a minor bleed of steam. This bleed is so small that it is less than the bleed of a properly functioning mechanical trap.  

Don't they clog up all the time?

Typically no. But if a steam system is considered “dirty” it may be a legitimate concern in the lower areas of the system – (drip legs). The best case would be to clean the system by removing built up sediment in the mud-legs during installation. This would remove the problem of dirt and solve a customer’s problem.

If this cannot be done due to access or other reasons we would recommend the best mechanical trap available. Radiators inserts are safe from fouling due to their locations higher in the system and Heat Exchanger, Domestic Hot Water, Air Handler traps are not susceptible due to their larger orifice size. All SteamLoc® traps come with screens to protect the traps from debris.

How do they vent air and handle start-ups?

Physics tells us that air is heavier than steam under the same temperature and pressure.

During start-up the heavier air passes through the SteamLoc® traps which are located at low points in the system. This provides a more controlled warm up of steam mains.

Are they Difficult to maintain?

There are actually easier to maintain. A SteamLoc® trap cannot fail open. This eliminates the need to test all traps every year and change out the 5 to 10 percent that typically fail (ASHRAE) or change all the traps every 3 to 5 year as recommended by most mechanical trap manufacturers. If a trap fails closed it simply needs to be cleaned and put back in service.

Maintenance should be blowing down strainers in the distribution system a couple times a year to keep the system clean. That should be done with mechanical traps as well to  keep the clean from debris which can cause them to fail open.

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