If your business relies on steam-powered equipment then you have a steam piping system, and these piping systems require careful care and maintenance to ensure they remain safe. Steam-piping systems are made up of a network of pipes and valves that carry pressurized steam from the boiler to the working component, like a radiator or a steam engine. 

Many older buildings in places like New York City still use steam heating, and these buildings rely on a steam piping system to keep occupants warm during the colder winter months. A big part of maintaining a steam-piping system is making sure it’s safe, reducing the chances that a potentially hazardous accident may occur. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of a steam-piping system, as well as some important information you should know when working with these systems. If you have any questions please contact our team. 

Steam Piping Ratings of Boiler Systems

In order for a steam piping system to be categorized as high-pressure, it must exceed 15 pounds per square in gauge, or PSIG. Each state has its own regulations related to pressure categorization, and you check the regulations for your state by checking the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ website at www.asme.org

If your system is classified as a high-pressure system there are certain precautions you must take, because the risks involved are greater. We never recommend inspecting or repairing a steam piping system by yourself, especially if it’s a high-pressure system. Please call A trusted HVAC technician at Tri-Tech if you suspect something is wrong. 

Some Piping Basics

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all pipe when it comes to steam piping systems. The pipes that make up these systems come in a variety of different sizes, thicknesses, and diameters. Your building will require specific types of pipes – you can’t simply choose any pipes – and if you learn that your current steam-piping system needs replacing, please consult with a professional to ensure you select the best pipes for your purposes. 

The water droplets and condensation that comes from the steam passing through the pipes on a continuous basis can sometimes cause erosion, so it’s important to invest in high-quality pipes with the appropriate thickness to handle your heating needs. A large New York City apartment complex, for example, with a steam piping system that delivers heat to hundreds of apartments on a daily basis, can easily break down if the pipes are insufficient and low-quality. 

Fastener Issues, When a Bolt is Not Just a Bolt

Fasteners have a standard marking system, and when you look at a bolt head, you’ll be able to see a marking that indicates its rating or grade. Do not be tempted to cut corners with fasteners – a cheap fastener might not hold and can cause an explosion, which could cost someone their life or cause serious injuries. Your fasteners should be rated at least Grade 8.

The other components of your steam piping system, like threaded rods and studs, should also have markings that indicate their quality and strength. You cannot just pick a pack of threaded bolts and studs off the shelf for use in your steam piping system. Instead, ask your HVAC technician which grade and type of material you need and spend the necessary money to get the highest quality components. 

Energy-Efficient Steam Heating Controls

Arguably, the best way to ensure the safety of your steam piping system is to have heating controls in place that allow you to monitor your system in real-time and make adjustments if necessary through your smartphone, tablet or computer. Having 24-7 remote access to your steam piping system will ensure you catch any small safety issues before they become large and costly repairs. A small building heating control, like the Genesis Heat-Timer, features self-learning algorithms that reduce boiler operations for minimum fuel usage, which can also help your building save more money on energy costs. Most importantly, this control has a “Boiler Feed Monitor” which tracks the make-up water for the boiler, which can more immediately detect a potential leak within the steam piping system. 

Ensure Steam Piping System Safety with Tri-Tech in NJ 

Although steam piping systems are made of seemingly indestructible steel, the individual components must meet extremely high specifications and requirements, and getting it wrong can have disastrous consequences.

For more information on how to ensure your steam piping system is safe, or if you have any other HVAC questions, please contact Tri-Tech Energy today. Our HVAC team in New Jersey can carefully inspect and repair your steam piping system as needed. They could also provide recommendations on internet boiler controls that will optimize your building for safety, and provide savings on energy operations and costs. To learn more about us, please visit our website at: https://www.tritechenergy.com/