A Vacuum Breaker is a simple, reliable device that allows air to enter a steam piping system when a vacuum is induced. Here are the 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.
So where do you install a Vacuum Breaker in your steam system?
It is generally recommended that all heat transfer devices have a vacuum breaker installed at points designated by the heat transfer manufacturer. The normal locations are after the control valve, usually on the top portion of the heat transfer device, and always above the steam trap inlet (see illustrations).
All heat transfer components, whether shell-and-tube exchanger, plate-and-frame exchanger, air heating coil or any other device, require vacuum breakers. Click here to see a demonstration video of a typical steam air heating coil with modulating pressure in our Steam Training Room. 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.