Which of the following helps minimize water hammer, helps drains condensate, and minimizes temperature swings?
- 1. Inverted Bucket Steam Trap
- 2. Vacuum Breaker
- 3. Fluid Air Coil
- 4. Mechanical Condensate Pump
- 5. Pilot Operated Regulating Valve
And the answer is…
2. Vacuum Breaker
A Vacuum Breaker is a simple, reliable device that allows air to enter a steam piping system when a vacuum is induced. When a steam system shuts down, the remaining steam condenses into water, which takes up a much smaller volume than the original steam. This creates a vacuum, which can lead to water hammer and tube damage if not relieved of in a timely way.
Check out this video which shows the proper use of a vacuum breaker in a steam system.
Here are our top 4 reasons for including a vacuum breaker in your system:
- It helps allow for complete condensate drainage under all operating conditions: on/off or modulating applications.
- It helps minimize water hammer.
- It helps minimize temperature swings and uneven temperatures.
- It helps minimize product waste.
All heat transfer components, whether shell-and-tube exchanger, plate-and-frame exchanger, air heating coil or any other device, require vacuum breakers. As the video shows, because the condensate piping after our coil is clear glass, you can watch condensate backing up into the coil without a vacuum breaker. Once the vacuum breaker is allowed to operate, the coil can remain free of condensate under all operating conditions, which eliminates many issues that can shorten equipment service life and/or cause operation problems.
The footage for that video was taken in our Steam Training Room located in Minnetonka, Minnesota, where we have regular training classes. We utilize a steam boiler, glass piping, and functional glass-bodied steam traps to describe and demonstrate a variety of steam basics and advanced concepts in the 4 main areas of a steam system: Generation, Distribution, Utilization, and Condensate Return.
Contact us for more information on the proper use of vacuum breakers or sign up for our Steam Energy Conservation seminars to learn more.