SMI Completes RCx Bid Spec at VAMC

Steam Management Inc. (SMI) has completed a comprehensive analysis of the condensate return system at a VA Medical Center in Michigan. The objective of the analysis was to identify system deficiencies and develop scope opportunities to improve condensate return to the hospital energy center. The output was bid-ready scope documents, drawings, and equipment lists with associated cost and savings. Annual savings in excess of $200,000 have been estimated with under a 3-year return on investment.

The most common HVAC applications utilizing steam were air handlers, humidifiers, sterilizers, and heat exchangers. Flash tanks (FT) and condensate return tanks (CRT) collect and pump the condensate back to the energy center. SMI utilized ultrasound, thermal imaging, visual observations, and data analysis to review the existing steam supply, condensate return, and HVAC equipment load demands in operation within the system.

Opportunities identified and outlined in the report included: Steam traps operation, drip legs and piping deficiencies, condensate return and flash tank collection systems operation and design.

Analysis of the provided data showed a direct correlation of returned condensate vs. the heating load of the facility. As the heating demand of the facility increased, the amount of boiler makeup required (condensate losses) increased. This indicated the primary source of loss could be attributed to the HVAC equipment responsible for heating building space in the facility. The conclusion confirmed the high failure rate of steam traps found throughout the facility on air handlers, drip legs, and unit heaters.

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