How does a Proficient Technologies steam trap replacement device that is sized for an application’s operating load handle warm up loads?
Answer: Each application is evaluated on an individual basis. Proficient Technologies devices will not be recommended for all applications. Usually, “warm up loads” are associated with steam traps on distribution system drip legs. Depending on a number of variables, typically a Proficient Technologies device is sized for a drip leg with a safety factor of 4 – 8 i.e. about 12 – 25% loaded during normal operation. A data application sheet is produced using the Proficient Technologies sizing software providing an application’s details including anticipated warm up time.
What is the “turn down” capability of a Proficient Technologies steam trap replacement device?
Answer: The effects of two-phase flow allow the nozzle in a Proficient Technologies device to efficiently pass the liquid phase (condensate) while inhibiting the passage of the gaseous phase (steam) over a relatively wide range. The fact that the capacities for each phase are not linear (not a 1:1 ratio) is the result of two-phase flow. The following is the condensate capacity chart for the Proficient Technologies EBB2 nozzle at three different differential pressures. Note that the steam loss through the nozzle is minimal as long as the nozzle remains occupied by about 15% of condensate or more.
How can a Proficient Technologies device handle the variable condensate loads on equipment?
Answer: Each application is evaluated on an individual basis. Proficient Technologies devices will not be recommended for all applications. Much of the time, a piece of equipment utilizing steam, controls the output temperature of the heated medium by varying the steam pressure (via a control valve on the steam supply). Keep in mind, the condensate capacity of a nozzle is proportional to the differential pressure across it (the higher the differential pressure the more condensate a nozzle can pass). Steam utilizing equipment during minimal heating requirements, will require minimal steam, resulting in minimal steam pressure in the heat exchanger. The result is low steam usage, equating to a small condensate load, corresponding to a nozzle with a small capacity for condensate due to the low differential pressure across it. Alternatively, the same steam utilizing equipment during maximum heating requirement, will require maximum steam, resulting in maximum steam pressure in the heat exchanger. The result is higher steam usage, equating to a larger condensate load, corresponding to the same nozzle with a greater capacity for condensate due to the greater differential pressure across it.
How can replacing leaking steam traps save energy if the energy “lost” through the leaking steam traps returns to the boiler via the condensate return system?
Answer: The energy contained in saturated steam is the sum of its sensible and latent heat. Simply, sensible heat is the energy contained in saturated water at a given pressure. The latent heat is the additional energy that must be added to convert the saturated water into saturated steam (phase change). The latent heat is the energy that is released in a heat exchanger and used to heat the process. When the latent heat is released, the steam turns to condensate, at which point the steam trap should allow it to pass and travel back to the boiler. Leaking steam traps pass both condensate and steam prior to the steam condensing and releasing its latent heat to the process. 10 psig steam has a sensible heat value of ~207.4 Btu/lb and a latent value of ~952.8 Btu/lb (total heat value of ~1,160.2 Btu/lb). The fact that about 80% of the energy in saturated steam is latent heat is exactly why it is important to condense in the heat exchanger and pass this energy on to the process prior to passing through the steam trap. In most cases, a leaking steam trap will result in most of the energy in the steam being lost at vents (in an atmospheric return system) and/or line losses (convection and radiation). Keep in mind that if condensate arrives back at a boiler room at 180F, the energy remaining is only ~148 Btu/lb.
Will we need to blow down the strainers on the Proficient Technologies devices more frequently than those on other steam traps?
Answer: No. All Proficient Technologies devices come with integral strainers, with varying mesh sizes, to protect the nozzle from debris. Most of the debris should end up in the “mud leg” or “dirt leg” anyhow. You are probably aware of any spots in your system that seem to be a collection point for debris and need to be cleaned or blown down periodically. Historically, our customers have not needed to modify their strainer PM program after converting to Proficient Technologies devices.
How do I size/specify a Proficient Technologies steam trap replacement device for an application(s)?
Answer: The Proficient Technologies device must be sized for each application. This can be done several different ways. Application data sheets are available in the “Forms” section of our website. They can be filled out online and emailed or printed and faxed to us. We would be happy to take the information over the phone (843-681-5157) as well. For certain applications we can provide you with a sizing chart(s) so you can specify the appropriate model(s).
Will plugging be an issue, particularly in an old system?
Answer: No. Keep in mind that all steam traps, regardless of the type, have relatively small orifices. While ours are smaller, we also go to greater lengths to protect them i.e. our devices are all stainless steel construction with an integral stainless steel strainer located directly before the venturi nozzle. An adequate boiler water treatment program is recommended. A non-existent treatment program, or overzealous one resulting in high carry over rates or excessive use of steam main treatment chemicals, inevitably will lead to trap problems; regardless of the type of trap (other steam components would be adversely affected as well).