New steam traps reduce laundry’s energy bills

Thermal Energy, steam trap
Energy savings from installing new steam traps in the laundry of this hospital are expected to give a 2-year payback.

Installing new steam traps in the laundry of a hospital in West Sussex is expected to reduce energy costs by over £14 000 a year, with a payback of less than two years. There will also be substantial savings in maintenance costs and the cost of regularly replacing failed mechanical steam traps.

Thermal Energy’s GEM venturi orifice steam traps have been installed to replace existing steam traps at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester. It has 430 beds and provides a full range of general acute services — including maternity, outpatients, A&E and intensive care.

The recently redeveloped laundry services the whole hospital and has a throughput of around 70 000 pieces a week. Steam is the primary energy source for a wide range of equipment — including washers, ironers, collators and dryers.

Concerned that the mechanical steam traps were causing vapour losses through evaporation from the hot well as well as poor condensate return, Richard Harris, head of engineering and estates standards, investigated the GEM steam traps as a significant proportion of the laundry’s steam traps were failing. ‘As the GEM traps come with a 10-year guaranteed, we thought this might prove the solution,’ he said.

Investigation revealed that over a quarter of the mechanical traps had failed partially open, causing problems with the system — on which the energy savings indicated above were based.

Instead of using a valve to close off steam, GEM steam traps use a venturi orifice to drain condensate from the steam system. There are no moving parts, so minimal maintenance is required, and there is no need for spares, testing or monitoring equipment.

For more information on this story, click here: April 2012, 136
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