during freezing weather. A l s o , traps serving critical process equipment
should be monitored frequently.
2 . 2 Safety Precautions.
The following personal safety precautions are
Steam lines, traps, and steam equipment are HOT. Follow all safety
rules for working where burns are potential.
Wear protective clothing and safety gear (hardhat, goggles, gloves)
Steam valves should be opened or closed only by authorized
Always wire valve closed and attach DO NOT OPEN tag before working
on or removing traps and strainers.
Always isolate the steam trap from steam supply and pressurized
r e t u r n live before opening the trap for inspection or repair.
Always isolate a strainer from pressurized system before opening.
Never touch a steam trap with bare hands.
For strainer blowdown, wear gloves and a face shield. Catch
discharge in a bucket.
2.3 Inspection Methods. The basic methods of inspecting traps are visual
observation, sound detection, and temperature measurements. Visual
observation is the easiest and least costly method of checking trap operating
condition, but none of the methods provide a cure-all for trap
t r o u b l e s h o o t i n g . Any one method can give misleading results under certain
The best inspection is obtained by using a combination of two
methods. A quarterly steam trap program report is required from the EFDs
based on their assessment and verification that a viable steam trap
maintenance program exist at the activity level. Procedures for the three
methods are covered in paragraphs 2.3.1 through 2.3.4. T h e application of
these methods in routine inspections and in troubleshooting traps that may be
failing is covered in paragraphs 2.4 through 2.4.3 and 2.7 through 2.7.3.
2 . 3 . 1 Visual Observation. Observing the discharge from a trap is the only
positive way of checking i t s operation. This can be accomplished simply by
having a atmospheric vent downstream of the steam trap. Refer to figure 3-7.
Flash steam is the lazy vapor formed when hot condensate comes in
contact with the atmosphere. Some of the condensate reevaporates
into a white cloud appearing as steam mixed with the discharging hot
Live steam is a higher temperature, h i g h e r velocity discharge than
flash steam and usually leaves the discharge pipe in a clear flow
before it condenses to a visible cloud of steam in the atmosphere.