January 15, 2018

Steam System Safety Valves

PROPER SIZING AND INSTALLATION FOR STEAM SYSTEM SAFETY VALVES Introduction to Safety Valves One of the most critical safety devices in a steam system is the safety valve. Figure 1 is an illustration of a typical safety valve, and Figure 2 shows a valve in context on a steam line. Safety valves protect personnel, equipment, and property from potentially dangerous high temperatures and forces caused by excessive steam pressure in the steam system. Steam safety valves are required by codes, insurance, and corporate mandates. Therefore, it is important to have the safety valve properly sized and installed to meet all code requirements. The code that establishes the requirements for steam safety valves is written by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). ASME, through its committees, has published and continues to update the Boiler and Pressure Vessel codes for safety valves. It is the responsibility of plant personnel—primarily the plant’s steam team—to know which codes apply to the different parts of the steam system. The proper selection, installation, and use of safety valves require a complete understanding of the ASME code and any additional requirements adopted by insurance companies or the local jurisdictional authority.

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