Steam Leaks


Steam is a high-value commodity; the higher the pressure, the higher value. Make every effort to repair steam leaks as soon as they occur.


In addition to costing energy, steam leaks waste boiler water and chemicals, and it can be dangerous to people and equipment.



Source: Armstrong International

NOTE: One pound of 100 psi steam contains about 1,200 BTUs. If the steam is produced at 85% efficiency, the input energy is 1,200 / 85% = 1,411 BTUs per pound. Therefore, 1,000 pounds of steam requires at least 1.4 million BTUs to produce it. (1,411 BTUs per pound x 1,000)

1 MCF of Natural Gas contains 1 million BTUs

Cost to produce 1,000 lbs of steam from natural gas = 1.4 x $ per MCF of Natural Gas

When natural gas costs $7.00 per MCF, 1,000 lbs of steam costs (1.4 x $7) = $9.80

Source: Text and calculations by Bob Fegan 3/2005; Steam Leak Graphic ORNL/TM-2001-263 p.6-2 as contained in DOE ITP Steam tip sheet DOE/GO-102002-1583 December 2002; Table CG-3 Steam Leak Costs – Armstrong International, “Steam – Basic Concepts” publication undated.