A steam trap primer: Quick FAQ with our experts


A close up of a steam trap.

Steam systems are used in many modern industrial processes. The most common applications include steam-heated processes in plants and factories including food processing, and steam-driven turbines in electric power plants. With such widespread use in industry, energy loss through leaking steam traps can be a common source of energy waste in industrial facilities.

Eliminating steam leaks by installing new steam traps can reduce both natural gas and water usage—which lowers energy bills and saves money. Energy Trust can provide rebates to qualified customers who replace leaking steam traps.

For more details on this rebate and to determine if your facility is eligible, visit energytrust.org/steamtraps

Ask an expert

Energy Trust steam trap specialist and energy expert Beth Glynn answers your frequently asked questions about this new rebate:

a brown haired woman with glasses smiling

Q:  How do I check to see if my steam traps are leaking?
A: You can test the trap using an ultrasonic meter. However, if the trap has failed badly enough, it may be verified visually. A failed trap will be “blowing” steam constantly. A leaking trap will continue to pass steam when it’s supposed to be closed. The observed volume can be an indication of how bad the leak is.

Q:  We take our boiler down for maintenance for a few days each year. Would that still qualify as year-round operation?
A:  Yes, Energy Trust assumes there will be maintenance downtime for your boiler. Maintaining a boiler and all process equipment is an important part of maximizing the energy efficiency of your facility.

Q:  Some, but not all, of the steam traps at our plant have failed, either open or closed. Can I replace all of them at once?
A:  Yes, replacing all of the steam traps at one time is the most efficient solution. During the replacement, customers typically discover that steam traps are failed open, failed closed or not entirely failed.

Q:  Is this rebate available for steam traps being installed in industrial facilities under construction?
A:  No, this rebate is only available for customers who replace an existing steam trap.

Q: Is this incentive available for steam traps installed in a steam boiler powered by propane, No. 2 oil or biomass?
A: No, the steam trap must be installed at an industrial facility using a natural gas-fired steam boiler, served by NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas or Avista.