What is a steam trap survey?

During winter, you see steam flowing out of your facility. You have steam traps all throughout your process. But how do you know if your steam traps are working properly? You have Apex perform an annual steam trap survey! But what is a steam trap survey and what information do you receive after one is performed? Let’s find out!

1:  What is a steam trap survey/audit?

A steam trap survey is where a third party comes into your facility to test your steam traps and see if they are functioning properly.  The test includes a thermal image picture of the steam trap. It also includes an audio test. The audio test involves listening to the cycling of the steam trap.  With these two pieces of information, your traps’ performances can be determined as either working properly or defective. 

2:  How long does a steam trap survey take? 

The actual testing of each trap is relatively quick.  Apex uses a thermal gun to take an image as quickly as a camera would.  The audio test typically takes 10-15 seconds. We listen to the trap to see if it is cycling properly. In a 8-hour work day, 100-150 traps can be tested. 

3:  How much does a steam trap survey cost?

We charge $2,300 per day worth of auditing.  This covers the expense of our team traveling to your facility and testing between 100-150 traps in that 8 hour day.  If you have less traps than what would cover in an 8-hour day, we charge between $21 – $25 per trap based on your location and the location of the traps. 

4:  What is steam trap tagging? 

Tagging involves hanging a physical metal tag with a tag number on the steam trap itself.  We typically tie the tag to a designated location within your facility so you can easily locate and find any defective traps.  

5:  What information is included in the steam trap survey?

The steam trap survey will note the make and model of the trap including the line size and orifice size. You will also receive the location of the trap and the type of equipment that it is being used on.  We also look at the piping of the trap to make sure it is installed correctly and will note that on the survey. Apex also determines if the type of steam trap being utilized is appropriate for the application.  Materials of construction are also noted. 

We also note the test results and confirm if the steam trap is working or failed.  If the trap fails, we use your energy cost to determine the total amount of lost steam and convert that to a annual dollar amount. This allows you to see exactly how much your plant is losing in wasted energy every year.  This report is also needed for submittal to your local utility provider if you are seeking rebates on the survey and the replacement equipment. 

6:  What sort of rebates exist for steam trap surveys and replacement hardware?

TD600S Non-Repairable with Strainer Steam Traps

In the State of MN, every other year your utility provider will offer a rebate of $15 per trap tested.  In addition to the trap survey rebate, the utility provider will also offer a 30% rebate on the traps that were deemed failed and need to be replaced.  Apex is a authorized partner with both Xcel Energy and Centerpoint Energy.  We commonly work with both utility companies to help our customers fill out the necessary forms so you can obtain your rebate money quickly. 

7:  I have failed traps, how do I get replacements and who installs them?

Apex carries the Watson McDaniel line of steam equipment.  Watson has a full line of steam traps and accessories. The Watson line of traps will cross over with all other brands and models.  Once your failed traps have been confirmed, we will cross over the failed traps to Watson traps and provide you with an estimate of the cost for replacement of all failed traps.  

Apex does not do the installation of the steam traps.  This can be done by your facility or we have several mechanical contractors that we could recommend to come into your facility and replace your steam traps. 

8:  What else comes with my steam trap survey/audit?

In addition to the report documenting all your steam traps and the cost of any failed units, we also provide the following information:

  • If you are currently following proper piping practices in your application.
  • Control valve and pressure reducing valve sizing to confirm you are using the best selection for your process.
  • If you are using the proper isolation valves, strainers, check valves, and blow down test ports in the piping before and after where the steam trap is installed.

Apex also has access to the latest in steam technology. We can discuss the usage of universal steam traps connections and universal steam traps.  These traps can be replaced in the field with two bolts in under 5 minutes.  They help avoid costly shutdowns and give you the option to purchase steam trap replacement parts from all of the major manufacturers.  Although expensive up front, these handy traps drive your total cost down significantly over time. 

9:  How do I schedule a steam trap survey?

You can call our office or any of our sales engineers to schedule a steam trap survey.  The best time to test steam traps is during the cooler months when all steam traps are being utilized.  T is a chance some of the traps will be inactive if you decide to perform a steam trap survey when it is warmer.  Schedule yours today by calling us at 763-777-9525 or by filling out the form below.

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