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Affiliated Steam devise

keith123 Member Posts: 103
Anyone have any thoughts on using a ultrasonic devise to troubleshoot residential radiator steam traps. Thinking about picking one up as opposed to using a thermal camera. Thank you


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    Tagging @Sailah as he may have some thoughts on this topic.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
    The device your talking about is an infer red temp scanner.

    This device is very helpful if you know the parameters you are looking for.

  • keith123
    keith123 Member Posts: 103
    From my amateur knowledge on testing them, I’d figure if I have the same temp on both sides, it could mean steam is passing. I am slightly skeptical of that though because of the thermal transfer that could be happening
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 854
    We have used temperature crayons, infrared temperature guns and recently a Flir brand thermal camera. All of them are helpful, but unfortunately none of these have been foolproof for testing steam traps.

    For example, lets say there are twelve F&T traps in a building and thirty thermostatic traps. We have the the task of testing each trap (forty two in total). I would guess we would be wrong about ten percent of the time, so roughly four traps would 'fool' us into thinking it was bad (or good) when the opposite is true. What I prefer to do is go to the building when it's almost empty (evening for a school for example) and test each trap with the thermal imaging gun AND listen closely. Between the image and the sound I think we are much more accurate, certainly not perfect. In my example, maybe we would miss one trap instead of four with this method.

    I have been told the only way to truly test a trap is to set up a trap testing apparatus. I can tell you that none of our customers would be willing to pay to have us pull every trap (one at a time) and bench test them.
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
    Using an infer red gun will help determine which traps are leaking, With that a stethiscope works.

    You will always know when a steam trap leaks with the infer red gun. At about 5 feet away from the trap if the pipe surface temp is the same its bingo time. If traps are good there will be a temperature differential of the surface temperature of the pipe.

    To double check a stethiscope is helpful. Put the stethiscope on the top of the trap and listen. Slight leak you will hear steam pass over the seat. Clicking noise is good that is the trap opening and closing, No clicking trap failed closed.

    Its how you sue the equipment and your ear and how you are attuned to the sounds in a steam system.

    Took me one heating season to be 95% right.

  • Trident56
    Trident56 Member Posts: 1
    Infrared Camera (Flir etc.) vs a Infrared Gun
    Ultrasonic Probe vs Stethoscope
    Test Valve on Trap Discharge vs Trap Testing Station

    If you want to reach accuracy of 90+ % when testing Steam Traps I strongly suggest using an Infrared Camera ($900) over a Infrared Gun ($59), An Ultrasonic Probe (Accutek VP 1000 or similar - $1,250 vs a Stethoscope ($20?) and if you really want to be super accurate install a test station down stream of a steam trap. Not for everyone - Live Steam Hurts.

    Hardest Traps to test: Multiple Faulty Steam Traps discharging into a common condensate line that are located close to a Pressure Reducing Valve.