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Comment PDF Operations & Maintenance

Waterhammer In Condensate Return Lines

By Wayne Kirsner Consultant |

There is a temptation that steam design engineers find difficult to resist — to put condensate from high-pressure (HP) steam mains directly into the low-pressure (LP), pumped condensate-return (CR) mains. After all, the CR main is so convenient — it is generally laid right next to the outgoing steam main in the same tunnel, trench or racks as the CR main returning to the steam plant. And, the good practice alternatives to dumping the condensate directly into the pumped CR (such as running a dedicated separate HP condensate-return pipe back to the steam plant; or if a user’s flash tank is not nearby, flashing the condensate in a small vented tank at each trap then pumping it back into the CR main), seem like swatting a fly with a sledge hammer. After all, we’re only talking about flow from a few steam traps discharging maybe 50 lb/h, which is less than one cubic foot of water per hour for each one. Admittedly, there are so-called work-arounds for this design problem that are less costly and complicated than the good practice alternatives, but I do not believe engineers have proof that they really work. The most popular of these alternatives, was the winner in a competition held years ago by a manufacturer’s…
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