A steam trap is a device used to discharge condensates and non-condensable gases with a negligible consumption or loss of live steam. Most steam traps are nothing more than automatic valves. They open, close or modulate automatically. The three important functions of steam traps are:
- Discharge condensate as soon as it is formed (unless it is desirable to use the sensible heat of the liquid condensate)
- Have a negligible steam consumption (i.e. being energy efficient)
- Have the capability of discharging air and other non-condensable gases.