Commercial Plumbing Installation: Piping Principles FAQ

Commercial Plumbing Installation

Piping Principles – FAQ; Part 1

We get asked a lot of questions around the topic of commercial plumbing installation, and have put together this article to address the top questions posed. Following are answers to many frequently asked questions about the principles of piping.

  • When installing steam traps, what is the ideal distance between the heat exchanger and the trap outlet?
    • 12-36 inches (0.3-0.9 m).
  • After commercial plumbing installation and piping has been completed in a new steam system or branch, what should be done next?
    • Blow down the system.
  • Should a check valve be provided to allow automatic drainage of a portion of the steam system when pressure has been turned off?
    • No.
  • During commercial plumbing installation, when should an automatic drain valve be used in conjunction with steam traps?
    • When the traps may be subjected to freezing conditions.
  • Will reduced differential pressure reduce trap capacity?
    • Yes, it will.
  • How much will 1 PSI (0.68 bar) of positive differential pressure lift condensate?
    • 2 feet (0.6 m).
  • What do I need to consider for an outdoor commercial plumbing installation?
    • Keep three things in mind: Do not oversize a steam trap; keep discharge lines as short as possible; and insulate all supply, discharge and return lines.
  • Two identical steam coils are in parallel in an air handler. Under those circumstances, can one trap serve both coils?
    • No
  • Should trap by-passes be a part of every trap installation during commercial plumbing installations?
    • Not necessarily.
  • Is it always best to oversize steam traps, just to be sure?
    • No.
  • Unions usually make it easy to replace a trap quickly. But when does a union slow down the replacement?
    • When it is installed in-line and the piping is well anchored.
  • What is “syphon drainage?”
    • Syphon drainage refers to commercial plumbing installation of a trap above the device being drained.
  • Safety drain traps are often used when condensate must be lifted to an overhead return. Since they are connected in parallel, it stands to reason that the same pressures reach the primary trap and the safety drain trap. Why doesn’t the safety drain discharge at the same time as the primary trap?
    • Because the safety drain discharge is installed above the primary trap during commercial plumbing installation.
  • A large heat exchanger is operated with a modulated steam pressure. Maximum steam pressure is 30 psig (2 bar). The condensate return line is located 12 feet (3.7 m) overhead. What trap is recommended?
    • A pumping trap plus F&T in series.
  • Is installing freeze-proof all-stainless traps a valid method to protect outdoor traps from freezing?
    • No.

Commercial Plumbing Installation Information

For more commercial plumbing installation and piping principles tips, watch for part 2 of this article. Check out the rest of the articles on this site for even more professional and commercial plumbing information!

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