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The Benefits of Steam Tracing

Updated: Oct 22, 2018

The Benefits of Steam Tracing vs. Electric Tracing

Written by Horst Thieme, PE, James R. Risko and the Fluid Controls Institute Steam Trap Section


Many articles have been written concerning the advantages of steam over electricity (or vice versa) for tracing applications. A valid case can probably be made for either, depending on the method being promoted by the particular author. These promotional articles have generally been based on strictly economical considerations which represent only part of the story. This article is intended to provide insights into inherent practical advantages of steam which may have been overlooked in the past. Here are some points and simplified piping schematics to consider.


Trace Heating

Trace heating is a vital element in the reliable operation of pipe lines, storage and process vessels throughout the process industry. Anti-frost protection for water pipelines is needed both in the processing industries as well as in commercial and domestic buildings. Of equal importance is the tracing of process pipelines which carry liquids that can be pumped only at temperatures that are well above the freezing temperature of water. For example, many oil and fat lines have to be heat traced. In the chemical process industry a multitude of products such as asphalt and sulfur can only be moved through pipe lines at specific temperatures.


Which Tracing Method

The amount of heat energy required to maintain the desired temperatures may influence the type of tracing to be used. (The heat load calculation methods are beyond the scope of this discussion). The choice of tracing method will usually lie between steam, hot liquid or electrical tracing.


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2 Comments


parker.edward121
Sep 05, 2018

You can learn more about the benefits of steam tracing by reading the blog post written by James Risko who is a champion in describing the benefits of using the benefits of steam tracing Vs the electric tracing. The articles takes into consideration the economic considerations and describe the practice benefits of steam.

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witurver43
Jul 05, 2018

I have been searching for the best water heater I would really appreciate if anyone can help me in selecting a tankless heater.

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