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Proper Steam System Start-Up

March 27, 2020

Insuring Your Staff’s Safety

Many facilities have been shut down recently due to CoViD-19 requirements.  As always, proper start-up of your steam system is critical for the safety of your operations staff.  Water hammer created by not evacuating residual condensate can cause piping and equipment failure resulting in serious injury to your staff.  Needed piping and equipment repairs will delay bringing your facility back on line.  The extra effort and time to properly start up your system will more than offset the potential cost of injury and delays.

Equipment damage due to water hammerEquipment damage due to water hammer

Equipment damage due to water hammer

Facility managers should provide proper start-up procedures to their staff and hold them accountable for adhering to these procedures.   A checklist of items for start-up should include:

Ø  Replace any removed insulation

Ø  Open drip leg blowdown valves

Ø  Open strainer blowdown valves

Ø  Warm up to be slow and steady

Ø  Warm up valves to be used on any isolation valves larger than 3”

Ø  Close all blowdown valves

Ø  Confirm all steam traps are primed and in service

Ø  Once system is running, open test valves downstream of steam traps to insure evacuation of condensate

Ø  Check condensate transfer pumps throughout the system for proper condition and operation

Ø  Monitor expansion joints, listen for water hammer, evaluate steam quality

Ø  Collect completed checklist and file for record keeping

 All drip legs should be evaluated regularly once the steam system is operating. A steam trap management program should be in place to routinely test for proper operation of each trap.

Facility managers are responsible for the safe start-up of the steam system to protect their staff and company operations. 

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