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MBAA TQ https://doi.org/10.1094/TQ-56-2-0426-01  |  VIEW ARTICLE
Common Steam System Design Mistakes

Ray Wohlfarth. Brewingwithsteam.com.

A steam system for a brewery is a sophisticated collection of equipment that includes a boiler, piping, condensate return system, and steam traps that will last decades when properly installed. All too often these systems are installed or serviced by a contractor unfamiliar with the unique properties of steam, and as a result, the system does not operate properly or efficiently. Steam systems are used in breweries because they provide better temperature control: faster heating due to the larger heating surface in a steam kettle or tun, and more uniform heating due to the steam itself. For the steam system to provide trouble-free operation for the brewery, it requires a two-pronged approach. First, the system has to be designed or installed by someone familiar with the dynamics of steam. Second, the system requires regular maintenance by someone skilled in steam system operation. The installation of the steam boiler and system requires the proper sizing and design of a piping system that meets the specifications of the boiler manufacturer. This article discusses proper steam piping, steam pressure control settings, pipe insulation, and how proper water treatment is crucial for a steam boiler. A steam system should provide several decades of trouble-free operation if it is installed and maintained correctly.