Inspection methods will vary on the type of steam system and traps you may have. There are four common types of steam traps:
- Inverted Bucket
- Float and Thermostatic
- Thermostatic or Bimetallic
- Thermodynamic or Disk
They operate based on either changes in density, temperature or velocity.
While testing methods vary depending on the type of trap, this testing method will work well for most scenarios. What you’re listening for on your traps will vary. Which is why it is important to know your system and the kinds of traps you have.
First, get a feel for the way your steam system and traps sound. Touch the contact sensor to the housing of the trap. Listen to the trap collect and purge the steam as impurities are cycled out. Take recordings with your ultrasound device during both purging and collection phases. Then, measure upstream and downstream temperature as this is another good indicator of how well your traps are running.
With ultrasound and temperature measurement you can determine if traps are stuck open or closed, plugged or stuck or working perfectly fine within one cycle.