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Steam Tracing Design

Steam Tracing Design Dear All,

It is well known that chemical process plants located in areas where ambient temperatures can fall well below freezing may require heat tracing of lines and equipment containing process fluids that can freeze or congeal and stop flowing thereby causing costly plant outages and economic losses. In certain cases, freezing of line contents and flow blockage (total or partial) can result in accidents, such as rupture and release of hazardous chemicals from piping or equipment, endangering human life and the surrounding environment.

Well designed heat tracing systems will ensure that the possibility of freezing and blockage is minimized or eliminated. Universally two methods of heat tracing are practiced, electric or steam tracing. In many chemical process plants you will find a combination of both electric and steam tracing depending on the tracing application. In general, both specific application and the economics of electric or steam tracing will govern the choice of heat tracing. The design engineer will have to study both the applicability and the CAPEX / OPEX to decide the type of heat tracing suitable for the given system.

Today's blog entry specifically deals with heat tracing of using steam. An excel workbook is attached addressing the following:

1. Steam Tracer Sizing Tables: Given the process piping size, the selected tracer material (copper or CS) and the temperature to be maintained in the pipe to prevent freezing, these tables provide the number of tracers, recommended tracer tubing / piping size and the recommended steam flow rates per 100 m of tracer length.

2. Tables for Maximum Tracer length between Traps: These tables provide the maximum length of tracer, at the end of which a steam trap is needed, given the steam flow rate per 100 m of tracer length, and the steam inlet pressure to the tracer.

3. Table for maximum steam flow rate for different steam pressure levels and corresponding steam header size, based on economic pipe sizes, and for steam tracing application.

I am hoping that this workbook for steam tracer sizing proves useful to engineers who wish to design steam tracing systems. I look forward to comments from the members of "Cheresources". That is all for today.


Attached File  Steam_Tracing_Design.xlsx (42.78KB)
downloads: 2141

Dec 06 2017 11:21 PM

Very good info ankur sir.........


Really helpful...

Thank you,Ankur. It's a great help. Do you something similar for electrical heat tracing calculation.

Kind regards,


Could you please reveal us source of information?




How did you calculate maximum steam flow rate through steam header in kg/hr.


Appreciate help. 



Jul 19 2021 08:37 AM

Really Helpful.

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