Condensate hampers heat transfer. Steam traps drain condensate and trap steam, ensuring higher heat transfer rates and hence fuel savings.
As steam loses heat, it turns back into water. Steam inevitably begins to do this as soon as it leaves the boiler. The water formed, known as condensate, does not transmit heat effectively and hence needs to be removed from the steam system.
A steam trap is used to release condensate from the pipe work / equipment preventing condensate accumulation in heating equipment while simultaneously preventing steam from escaping from the system. This delivers higher heat transfer rates and thus less steam consumption, resulting in fuel savings.
The graph below represents the temperature gradient across a steam pipe carrying steam at 3 bar (g). In this case 12.50C is lost due to a 1 mm condensate film.
Effective drainage of condensate minimizes this temperature drop leading to effective heat transfer and reduced fuel consumption.