Q: When I drive up to my plant in the
mornings I see lots of steam blowing out of the return tank exhaust. This seems
like a lot of steam being wasted and it’s sure to be costing me money. Is there
some way I can capture all this steam and recycle it?
already have a steam recycling system in place. Your steam traps are designed
to draw in condensation and steam from equipment, condense the steam back into
hot water, and discharge all of this condensation to your return tank. Once
in the return tank, the water is pumped back into the boiler. Since the water
is already hot the boiler doesn't need to work as hard to reheat it to the
In this case, there is a large amount of steam blowing out
of the exhaust we would recommend checking to see if one or several of the
steam traps are malfunctioning. There should be a difference of at least 75 degrees F
(23.8 degrees C) from the inlet and discharge line of the trap.
Steam traps can be checked by several different
methods. Wax crayons, heat sensitive paper, and laser testers can all be used.
Wax crayons are one of the most common. Simply wipe the crayon across the inlet
side of the trap. The wax should melt. Wipe the crayon again on the outlet
side. Here it should not melt since the outlet side should be at least
75 degrees F (23.8 degrees C) cooler. If the wax melts on the outlet side you have steam leaking through
the trap. It should be repaired or replaced.
With laser testers, simply aim and pull the trigger
for a digital temperature reading. Repeat this process for each and every steam
trap. And most of all, don't forget to check the trap on the main steam header.
This trap is quite often the culprit.
DLI Silver, Gold, and Premier members may
access more information on this topic in the following bulletins
available in DLI's Encyclopedia of Drycleaning Online:
- Technical Operating Information (TOI) 709: Eight Simple Energy Savers