The Hidden Cost of Leaking Steam Traps

Is your Steam System running the way you would want it to or are your Steam Traps failing to due to age or poor trap choice. These are the kind of questions that all businesses should be asking in the current climate. The problem with leaking Steam Traps is you can’t see the leaks, there could be Steam Traps leaking live steam back to your Hotwell and the vital energy that should condense within the process could be heating your condense return lines and or your Hotwell. For more information on all that you can do to prevent this please read on.

Monitoring your Steam Traps and positive planned maintenance of your steam system will ensure efficient heat transfer and process efficiency at a price your business can afford. To ignore these issues does and will result in higher energy costs and a reduction in profitability. We can offer evidence of this from the past from when we first became a TLV Distributor and more involved in process steam issues.

A local rubber processing business asked us to look at ways of reducing process steam costs and with this in mind we looked at their Steam Traps and found using what would definitely be considered an out of date device now the TLV Pen-check ultra sound leak detector, that many of the Steam Traps in the system were leaking. We brought this to the customer’s attention or I should say we brought this to the attention of the Engineering Department and provided them with a report that showed where each steam trap was located that required replacing. This was presented to the Accounts Director and his immediate reaction was to the cost of nearly £8000 to replace said items. We then provided them with the projected cost savings associated with replacing these Steam Traps and based on the information we presented the Accountant decided to do nothing. But the Engineer made a decision to go ahead with the work within his own maintenance budget which meant it took over 18 months to replace the leaking Steam Traps. In the year following the replacement of all the leaking traps the steam consumption based on an increase in production fell by over 18% which saved the business in question over £19,000.00. Had the work been done during a single shut down which was possible, this business would have saved a further £28,000.00

What the above tells you is energy efficiency and planned maintenance go hand in hand and even though there are many businesses taking this on board, it seems to me that there are just as many using the current recession as a justification for letting this slip. If you want to reduce energy costs then good practice with process steam should be at the fore front of your companies business and production plans. If it isn’t then please talk to your specialist steam supplier and if you haven’t got a steam specialist contact us at Besseges (Valves, Tubes & Fittings) Ltd and discuss any and all the issues you have.  For further information on process steam please read the relevant Blogs on this site.