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Steam Tracing of Pipe Lines

Steam tracing of pipe lines can be done to maintain appropriate product temperatures.

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Number of steam tracers depends on the size of the pipe and the product temperature in the process line. The surrounding temperature and the insulation efficiency also have influence.

Since the heat moves up steam tracers must be stripped to the lower part of the process pipes. 1/2 inch (15 mm) tracing pipes is quite common.

For normal insulated pipes in normal surrounding conditions the table below can be used to appropriate the numbers of tracers.

Number of 1/2" (15 mm) Steam Tracers
Product Line Size
Frost protection, the temperature in the process lines are below
75oF (25oC)
Keeping process media fluid, temperatures below
150oF (65oC)
Keeping process media fluid, temperatures below
300oF (150oC)
1 1 1 1
1 1/2 1 1 2
2 1 1 2
3 1 1 3
4 1 2 3
6 2 2 3
8 2 2 3
12 2 3 6
16 2 3 8
20 2 3 10
  • 1 inch = 25.4 mm

Example - Steam Tracing of a Process Line

In a 4 inch transport system for vegetable oil with solidification temperature at 40 oC (104 oF), two 1/2 inches steam tracing pipes should be appropriate.

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  • Engineering ToolBox, (2003). Steam Tracing of Pipe Lines. [online] Available at: [Accessed Day Mo. Year].

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