The Case for Steam Trap Surveys and Trap Management Programs

Improve Steam System Efficiency, Improve Safety, Lower Carbon Emissions, and Conserve Energy

A reliable, accurate assessment of your steam trap population is important. A proactive trap management program has many benefits including keeping trap failure rates low, maximizing safety, improving system efficiency, improving steam quality, reducing energy use, and improving environmental compliance.

Failure to inspect your steam traps can lead to serious problems and safety risks. Precise, reliable checks help prevent serious problems such as water hammer, unscheduled downtime, production stoppages, frozen lines, increased energy usage, and excess fuel consumption.

Steam Trap Survey Case Study*

A major university is now realizing its energy management goals and improving the efficiency of its steam utility system by initiating and implementing a steam trap management program. The university's heating plant consists of three natural gas boilers that distribute steam to the entire campus through an underground tunnel system.

With the stated goal of making enhancements to their steam system, the university's facilities management group participated in a two-day steam seminar. The seminar provided a full understanding of the technology and methodology, leading to a decision to implement a full campus steam trap survey.

By utilizing state-of-the-art steam trap monitoring tools, the survey was completed after one year. All survey logs and data was collected, and the analysis reports were generated. A trap failure rate of about 15%, which corresponded to over $220,000 in yearly losses, was discovered. Over the course of the next 2 years, more surveys were conducted resulting in a continuing lower trap failure rates, lower carbon emissions, and the savings of an additional $120,000 in energy costs through replacing defective steam traps.

The university scored a huge success in savings, lower carbon emissions, and labor costs. As this trend continues in a downward direction, calculations and reports derived from the yearly surveys are a strong foundation for directors and managers to validate funding to drive the steam trap management program forward.

Components of a Steam Trap Management Program

  • Done by trained survey technicians.
  • Traps located and identified, tagged with SS tag #, and data logged with up to 27 fields of useful data per trap.
  • Executive summary and failed trap report with steam & dollar losses, detailed log sheets, and recommendations provided.
  • Monitoring options presented for critical service applications.
  • Steam flow measurement design discussed.
  • Heat recovery potential discussed.
  • Continued training options available through hands-on, live, steam lab.

Benefits of Steam Trap Management Program

  • Reduce steam & condensate losses.
  • Reduce loss of boiler chemicals.
  • Improve heat transfer performance.
  • Prevent coil and heat exchanger damage.
  • Minimize water hammer hazards.
For more information about steam trap surveys and steam trap management programs, contact Mead O'Brien. Call them at  (800) 892-2769 or visit their web site at

* Case study courtesy of Armstrong International

Honoring Those Who Served

Veterans Day is not just another holiday. It honors those Americans who fought for our freedom. By celebrating our Veterans, we continue to tell the story of how this country became the most powerful on Earth - through bravery, honor, truth, and determination.

Our Veterans are our neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers. They took an oath to defend the United States and our Constitution, from all enemies, foreign and domestic. We must never forget their bravery, service, and sacrifice.

Mead O'Brien thanks our Veterans for serving our country and protecting our freedom.