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MSC Steam

You may have noticed some extra steam throughout the MSC.  That wasn't planned.  Some or all of the mechanical maintenance crew (Kim Moore, Rolan Gilpatrick, Ron Lancaster, Greg Williams and Travis Briggs) are working to correct this problem.  There are several possibilities with different solutions.


The background is we pump steam throughout the campus to provide heat.  In most buildings the steam passes across coils of water within a building, and that hot water is then pumped around the building to a unit within a classroom or office.  As it goes through the unit in the office or classroom, it cools enough to return to the heat source and continues to cycle.  At the same time, the steam heating the coil also cools and condenses, which then returns back to the central boiler in Facility Services.


Within that steam system are traps, to prevent steam from returning to the boiler.  We only want the condensed steam (water) to return.  If a trap goes bad, steam is able to return in the condensation line.  This may be further compounded as a problem if the condensation return has a leak in it as well.


Right now, the level of testing and checking suggests we have one or more bad steam traps in the building.


If they all check out, then it is possible we have a leak underground that is working its way back into the building.  If that is the case, then we have to dig up the steam line to find the problem.  That will require turning off steam to the campus, which means no heat for a while.  We feel we need warm days to do that kind of work.


So if you see the mechanical maintenance crew in the building, you know they are working on the steam problem in the building.  Not only does it not smell great, it also can cause excess heat (which makes people want to open windows - none of which is energy efficient) and moisture, which causes other kinds of damage.


If things go well, they'll get the problem isolated and resolved in short order with no digging involved.  Feel free to DISCUSS, e-mail or call if you have any questions or comments.


Note that in the photos, that is not just fog on the windows.  There is steam floating in the air in the Swarm Inn.


Jim M


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