Pacor Blog

How to Calculate Heat Loss for Steam Pipes

Posted on Thursday May 15, 2014

Many industrial facilities have steam pipes throughout their infrastructure and suffer significant and, thus expensive, heat loss. Calculating heat loss is an important step in capturing the possible energy cost savings for industrial facilities. The necessary information can be gathered by a thorough facility inspection.

Inspect the facility and map out the heating system notes by the hottest pipes. Locate and designate the high-pressure, medium pressure and low pressure steam lines along with the condensate return. Look for any steam piping, valves or components not insulated or have a touch temperature of higher than 140F. Once the survey is complete, document the information based on the following criteria:

  • Location- building or room number.
  • Quantity- length of pipe or number of valves, traps, strainers, etc.
  • Component Type- pipe, valve, strainers, traps, reducing, etc.
  • Flange Class- 125lb, 250lb, etc.
  • PSI or Temperature- the steam pressure or temperature of each component
  • Operating Hours- the number of hours each component operates per year

Knowing the temperature and component size facilitates the calculation the BTU Loss per hour for un-insulated and insulated components. Understanding the MMBTU cost for fuel will allow calculation of the heat loss in dollars along with an expected ROI for using removable insulation covers.

Once those calculations are made, a solution can be identified. Removable Insulation covers mitigate heat loss from your steam pipe valves, but, since they can be removed, offer a level of maintenance flexibility other forms of insulation do not. They can be made custom to fit whatever sizes are required.