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Make Up Water/Carbonic Acid


I am involved with a church that has been operating thier heating system with leaking steam traps for quite a while.
As a contractor we certainly understand the unseen problems that this can cause to the system but the customer needs to have this put in plain laymans terms. Could someone respond with a simple explanation that I can pass on to our customer so they will have a better understanding of the problem.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and I look forward to your response.


Larry S. Baker


  • John S.
    John S. Member Posts: 260
    Leaking Traps

    Shouldn't cause a severe, continuous fresh make-up problem, however, it can provide for very uneven heating and high fuel bills.

    Here's a quote from this website that would apply nicely (you may want to contact the owner for use of the material as it is a direct quote):

    "If the steam traps on the radiators or at the ends of the main fail in the open position, steam will enter the return lines. Once there, it will equalize the pressures on the supply and return sides of the system. When that happens, the flow of steam stops. The people in the building have no heat. Someone raises the pressuretrol settings, and adjusts the thermostat to make the burner run longer. The higher pressure, and the longer steaming cycle, will overheat the radiators that were already getting steam. Those people will probably open their windows. The radiators that weren't heating before will get a bit hotter, but at what cost?
    When steam traps are not working, fuel bills soar. There is no substitute for steam trap maintenance in a steam heated building. Find the defective traps and repair or replace them.
    You can check thermostatic radiator traps with a thermometer. There should be at least a ten-degree temperature drop from one side to the other. Float & thermostatic and bucket traps have no temperature drop across them. Check these by opening the line downstream of the trap. You should see mostly condensate with some flash steam come from the trap. If you see live steam, repair or replace the trap. Before you replace a bucket trap, make sure it's primed with water. If a bucket trap loses its prime, it will blow live steam."

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