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What You Need to Know About Steam Condensate

In our webinar, Steam Condensate, Important Things to Know, we provide an engaging, informative overview of steam condensate and its critical role in the industry today. The webinar includes a short history of steam condensate, some of the most common problems that arise when utilizing it, solutions to those problems, and a survey of its many modern applications. Below is just an overview of the webinar and we highly suggest watching it in its entirety.

What Is Steam Condensate?

Steam condensate is a liquid that forms when steam transitions from a vapor to a liquid (condensation). During heating processes, condensate forms when steam transfers part of its latent heat energy to the product or line being heated. The saturated steam used in heating applications gives up most of its total heat as latent heat. The rest of the heat in the steam is retained as sensible heat in the condensate.

Condensate Recovery

When condensate forms during heating, systems engage in condensate recovery to recycle this liquid and its sensible heat content, directing it to other processes. As a result of this reuse, facilities benefit from increased energy savings, in addition to reduced make-up water use and chemical treatment.

Specific benefits of steam condensate recovery include:

  • Cost savings: Many processes can make full use of condensate, making it a valuable resource whose recovery can save money over time.
  • Compliance with effluent restrictions: Some regions may not allow high-temperature effluent to be disposed of in the public sewer system due to potential system damage and environmental impact. In these cases, effluent requires additional cooling processes, which cost facilities more money. Repurposing condensate reduces high-temperature effluent discharge, helping facilities adhere to local restrictions and minimize additional costs.
  • Reduced water changes: Minimizing make-up water use means that facilities won’t incur additional spending for water.
  • Lower energy consumption in boilers: By transferring condensate to a boiler’s feedback and reducing the need for blowdowns, boilers retain more thermal energy.
  • Improved boiler output: When using cooler feedwater, boilers experience a reduced steaming rate, forcing the boiler to consume more energy to heat the water and less to create steam. However, using high-temperature condensate improves the efficiency and output of the boiler.

The History of Steam Condensate

The history section of our webinar discusses the origins of steam research, beginning with Thomas Savery, who invented the first steam engine in England at the end of the 17th century. He developed and patented it for use in pumping wells in 1698. Thomas Newcomen would later refine that invention in 1712, adding water tanks and pump rods so that deeper water mines could be accessed with steam power. In 1778, James Watt further built on these discoveries, employing a gearing system that allowed a steam engine to drive a flywheel to produce rotational power, spurring the development of the steam locomotive.

These inventions, all originating in England, would become the catalyst for the Industrial Revolution and shape the world as we know it today, with steam power playing an instrumental role in a wide range of industries—including mining, chemical processing, petroleum production, textiles, pulp and paper production, and, most importantly, power generation.

The Basics of Steam Condensate

The webinar then describes the basics of steam condensate, answering the question: Why steam? The main advantages of steam stem from its high efficiency and ease of transportation and control, which make it an ideal medium for heat transfer. Steam power is easy to create due to the abundance of water and wide range of heating options available; simply by managing the temperature and pressure of steam, it can be used for much of the work that powers the industrial world.

The three biggest users of steam power today are the power generation, pulp and paper manufacturing, and chemical processing industries; in these sectors, steam is used for all manner of jobs, including automation, dilution, fractionation, quenching, mechanical drive, and stripping.

Common Issues With Steam Condensate

There are some challenges involved in using steam condensate, however. For instance, it’s important to maintain high-quality steam to prevent a variety of pipe and valve issues, as low-quality steam can reduce heat-transfer efficiency by as much as 65%. Also, if CO2 combines with steam condensate, the formation of carbonic acid and CO2 gas may occur, which can cause rapid corrosion. Luckily, this can be managed through the use of steam traps, which keep water separated from the steam. Engineers and plant managers must also consider the line sizing of pipes to prevent condensate collection, as well as the location and configuration of equipment, the insulation methods used, and the types and quality of different valves used for different applications.

Steam Condensate Q&A

Below, we’ll delve into some of the most common questions we receive regarding steam condensate.

Q: Do you propose using traps for all piping loops with low points in offsite piping?

A: Yes. The condensate must be removed from the lines to prevent water hammer or corrosion of the piping itself.

Q: Can you share some guidelines for specifying cracking pressure? Is there a tool one can use?

A: It’s best to work directly with a manufacturer to pinpoint the best low cracking pressure options for your specific application. In-line (silent) check valves typically have a cracking pressure of approximately 0.5 psi. Depending on the condensate return piping layout, a standard cracking pressure (CP) valve may allow excess condensate to accumulate. In these scenarios, a lower CP is ideal; options will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. At DFT, we offer solutions that allow for a CP as low as 0.1 psi.

Q: Are there any formulas or tables available for steam pipe sizing?

A: We recommend the reference handbook, “Crane Technical Paper No. 410.”

Q: Are low cracking pressure check valves only necessary in certain types of steam systems?

A: Low cracking pressure valves should be used for condensate return lines, not main steam lines. Also, low CP valves will help reduce the accumulated condensate in return lines.

Learn More About Steam Condensate With DFT Inc.

Steam condensate and its recovery can benefit facilities in multiple ways. By reducing waste and recycling condensate for boilers and other processes, you can benefit from increased energy efficiency, lower resource consumption, optimized boiler performance, and reduced overall costs.

Want to learn more about steam condensate and the advantages of steam condensate recovery? We discuss all of these matters and more in our comprehensive online webinar and the multiple slides accompanying the presentation. View DFT’s prerecorded webinar today.

Check Valves in Universities

There are approximately 4,000 colleges and universities in the USA that host thousands of students, faculty members, and guests every day. These university campuses comprise many buildings, and the larger universities may have hundreds of structures. In all cases, these buildings require heating and cooling that must be properly constructed and maintained.

In most instances, the buildings do not have their own individual heating and cooling systems. Universities tend to have collections of buildings in close proximity to one another. This is an ideal structure for implementing Combined Heat and Power/District Energy Systems.

Check Valves in Universitiess

What Is a District Energy System, and What Role Do Check Valves Play in These Systems?

A District Energy System typically has a central energy plant that generates steam, hot water, and chilled water. The steam is typically produced by a boiler system for heating water. Steam and hot water are distributed through a piping system to campus buildings, providing heat. The central energy system may also have a chiller plant that produces and distributes chilled water to campus buildings for cooling purposes. The heating systems and cooling systems are closed-loop systems that add to their efficiency. District Energy Systems are much more economical and efficient compared to individual heating and cooling systems in each building.

District heating systems typically include the following sections:

  1. Central Combined Heat and Power System
  2. Piping distribution system
  3. Buildings that receive steam, hot water, and/or chilled water

The Role of Check Valves

A Check Valve is a valve that is designed to allow fluid to flow in only one direction. Check Valves prevent fluid from flowing backward in a system. They are common throughout all these systems and play an important role in providing protection to pumps and compressors, as well as preventing reverse flow and water hammer.

Let’s explore the role of Check Valves in Natural Gas delivery systems (gas), Boiler Feed Water systems (water), Boiler Condensate systems (steam to hot water), and general piping systems (hot water and chiller water).

Natural Gas Delivery Systems

The majority of District Energy Systems use Natural Gas as their fuel source. Natural Gas must be delivered to the Central Plant to heat the boilers to produce steam. DFT® produces a very special Check Valve called the PDC® (Pulse Dampening Chamber), used in Natural Gas compressor stations on reciprocating compressors that maintain the system pressure required to deliver Natural Gas to the Boiler Systems of the District Energy Systems.

Steam and Boilers

Before hot water can be produced for distribution to university buildings, steam must be generated. Steam is generated by boilers. Boilers require a fuel source (natural gas) and water.

Below is a schematic of a Boiler section. Please see the top of the schematic in the section titled Raw Water Make Up. This is where Boiler Feedwater is introduced to the system. This is typically high-pressure water and requires special severe service Check Valves to prevent this high-pressure water from flowing backward out of the Boiler.

An illustrative diagram of a boiler depicting the process of treating water to make it safe for use

DFT® produces a special check valve called the WLC® Boiler Feed Check Valve that is ideal for this application.

Boiler Feedwater Systems

Boiler feedwater systems are challenging due to the potential for high pressure and temperature. DFT® has designed the WLC® Boiler Feed Wafer Style Axial Flow Non-Slam Check Valve that provides excellent performance and protection in boiler feedwater systems. This valve can handle pressures up to 3,705 PSI and temperatures up to 800°F.

DFT® can also offer the Excalibur® or GLC® Check Valve designs if flanged construction is required.

Boiler Condensate Systems

The steam produced in many District Energy System Boilers is in a closed loop system, which means after the steam is used to heat water for distribution, the steam is returned to the boiler at the end of its cycle. Typically, that steam begins to condense back into water and is returned via the Condensate Return Lines. Please see the Top Right section of the schematic titled Condensate Return.

Just as with other portions of a closed-loop system, the fluid is meant to travel in one direction only. Condensate lines are typically smaller in diameter and have lower pressure than Boiler Feedwater lines. DFT® produces smaller Check Valves called the SCV® with threaded end connections that are ideal for Condensate lines in Boilers.

Condensate return systems are integral to boilers. These systems tend to operate at lower pressures and temperatures than feedwater applications. They also tend to have smaller diameter piping. The SCV® can handle pressures up to 2,570 PSI and temperatures up to 510 °F depending on the materials of construction and Cold Working Pressure ratings.

The SCV® provides excellent performance and protection in boiler condensate systems.

DFT® has many types of check valves designed for use in steam and steam condensate systems, depending on the size, flow, and temperature of the application.

We have explored several different Check Valve applications, including Natural Gas delivery, High-Pressure Boiler Feedwater, and lower-pressure steam to condensate return. Once the hot water is generated, it is ready for distribution in the university piping system.

General Piping Systems

Water in piping systems presents its own challenges. The main challenge is how to prevent Water Hammer. DFT® makes Axial Flow Spring Loaded Silent Check Valves. These specially designed valves are designed to eliminate and/or greatly reduce water hammer.

Water hammer is generally recognized as a banging or knocking sound inside the pipes after a pump shuts down. The shocks of this phenomenon can damage pumps, pipes, and surrounding equipment over time, resulting in leaks, corrosion, and poor system operation. By preventing these shock waves, silent check valves eliminate the substantial damage that would otherwise occur throughout the system due to water hammer.

Installing DFT® Axial Flow, Spring-assisted, Non-Slam Check Valves results in safe and silent operation of the hot water and chilled water piping distribution systems. No rattling of pipes, no damage to equipment. When installed properly, due to the silent nature of these valves and the prevention of Water Hammer, you will never know they are there.

What sets DFT® check valves apart from other check valves is the engineered spring-assist technology that prevents reverse flow, reduces the potential for water hammer and vibration, and protects pumps and other high-value equipment. Additionally, the reliability, low maintenance, and long service life provide long-term savings and superior performance.

DFT® makes many styles of check valves that can be used in piping systems. The choice will depend on the diameter of the piping systems, the required end connections (Flanged, Butt Weld, Wafer Style, or threaded style), and the materials of construction.

Download specification sheets of the different styles of DFT® Axial Flow Non-Slam Silent Check Valves from our resource library, or contact us to discuss your needs.

DFT® Announces CAD and 3D Model Files Platform

DFT® is proud to announce the launch of our new CAD File platform!
You can now download DFT® Check Valve CAD files in multiple formats directly from our online product catalog!

The platform, which is powered by TraceParts® a world-leading digital engineering 3D content company, has DFT® CAD and 3D model files available when you need them, 24/7.

Start expediting your design projects today by spending less time modeling with this accurate and high quality file platform.


How does it work?

Once you find your check valve on the DFT® website online product catalog, determined by size/style/class specification, just click on the “3D” link to then choose what type of CAD file format you need.

How to get a CAD File:

  • Search for your check valve by product code on the DFT® online catalog or Find your check valve by style/size/class specification, then navigate to the product code page
  • Click on the “3D” link located on the right side of the page
  • Select the CAD format you require from the dropdown menu
  • Click on the “Download” button

At DFT® we strive to make your procurement journey an easy one. Please feel free to contact us if we can assist you in any way.


  • The ability to see all catalog offerings online
  • The ability to drill down to specific materials/wants/needs
  • The ability to download 2d/3d files (list all file types from TraceParts) available on-demand
Available Files Types
3D XMLGStarCADRevit Family File (RFA)
AMFHiCAD (>=2011)STEP AP203
Acis 6.3IGESSTEP AP214
Animated GIFInventorSTL
AutoCAD (DWG) - 2DInventor LTSketchUp
AutoCAD (DWG) - 3DJPGSolid Edge
AutoCAD MEPJTSpaceClaim
BricsCAD (DWG) - 2DKeyCreatorTENADO CAD 3D
BricsCAD (DWG) - 3DMechanical DesktopTIF
CATIA V4NX (*.x_t)Three.js
CATIA V5OBJTopSolid (< v 7.0)
COLLADAOFFTopSolid (v 7.8)
DXF - 2DPDF 3DUniversal 3D
DesignSpark MechanicalPNGVRML
FUSION 360Parasolid 11.1WMF
GIFPro/Engineer NeutralZW3D

Choose DFT® for Your Check Valve CAD Files

At DFT®, our experienced and knowledgeable valve experts are available to help you find the ideal solution for your model file needs. Check out the following resources to learn more about our valve solutions and how they benefit a wide variety of industries:

For additional information about our valve products and services, contact us or request a quote today.

Benefits of Vacuum Breaker Check Valves

What It Is

Vacuum breaker check valves relieve unwanted low-pressure conditions within closed systems. They are installed directly into the system and allow air to enter the system when internal pressure drops below atmospheric pressure. When closed tanks are drained of liquid or during a phase change — when water transitions from steam to condensate, for example — the pressure within a pipeline or vessel can fall below atmospheric pressure. This results in a dangerous condition where pressure outside the vessel is greater than pressure inside. A vacuum breaker allows air to enter the system to equalize the pressure and ensure safe operational conditions. Without this safety component, there is the potential for damage, collapse, or rapid implosion. A vacuum breaker can also prevent a siphon and backflow contamination.

How It Works

Benefits of Vacuum Breaker Check Valves

A vacuum breaker check valve is a device that allows for the flow of air in one direction, but closes to prevent flow in the opposite direction. When the system is at normal pressure, the greater pressure inside the system compared to the pressure of the external environment keeps the door of the vacuum breaker shut. A spring assists in keeping the valve closed. When pressure in the system drops below that of the external environment, the valve opens to allow air into the system, equalizing pressure inside and out. The valve spring is selected to control at what pressure difference the valve first opens. The valve spring is designed to allow the valve to open at a set pressure difference (called the “cracking pressure). Valve size selection is important for allowing sufficient airflow into the system, depending on how quickly liquid is being evacuated that needs to be replaced by air or how rapidly pressure is dropping because phase change is occurring. Vessel collapse is prevented.

Once the pressure difference is lowered to an acceptable level, the valve closes, forming a tight seal to prevent outward flow. No system fluid can escape into the atmosphere.


In addition to preventing damage and even collapse in systems that experience vacuum conditions, vacuum breaker check valves can be used to prevent siphoning of tank discharge lines with terminations below the tank fluid level. These devices can also be used to prevent backflow of liquid into system lines when a discharge pipe terminates under the surface of the liquid in another container. The latter example is commonly seen on outdoor faucets.

Benefits of Vacuum Breaker Check Valves

Vacuum breaker check valves are simple mechanisms that respond quickly to small pressure differences. Their quick action can minimize the risk of vessel or piping collapse. These valves can also keep a fluid system safe by preventing siphon-powered backflow and contamination.

Vacuum Breaker Check Valves From DFT® Inc

DFT® Inc specializes in providing high-quality check valves and control valves to our customers. We build each of our DFT® NPT-threaded Vacuum Breakers (BSSV) from stainless steel, with a lapped disc and seat that provides a reliable seal. These valves are available in sizes ranging from one inch to four inches in diameter. Other sizes, materials, and mating configurations are also available. Contact us today to learn more about our products or request a quote to get started.

Sanitary Check Valves for the Food & Beverage Industry

With end products that must be safe for consumption, the food and beverage industry relies on high-performance parts in its manufacturing processes to prevent bacteria contamination and to meet stringent FDA and USDA regulations. Additionally, systems within this industry must moderate the temperature and humidity of a product for safe processing and spoilage prevention. Sanitary check valves are well suited to the piping systems of the food and beverage sector due to their high-quality stainless steel and polished surface, tight seal, clean-in-place (CIP) ability, reliability, and longevity.

Sanitary Check Valve Features

Because they prevent fluid backflow and protect pumps and compressors, sanitary check valves are ideal for use in a processing or material distribution system. To avoid contamination, the valve will seal or otherwise prevent fluid from reversing its flow direction, making the system a one-way system. These valves are designed to prevent product accumulation or corrosion, as well as other potentially harmful impurities from going through the piping. When replacing or adding sanitary check valves to your facility’s processing systems, look for the following features:

  • horizontal and vertical dsv Smooth internal features. Sanitary check valves are made from 316L stainless steel that has a highly polished internal surface that won’t allow buildup to develop. There are no rough surfaces or internal edges where buildup or impurities can cling and begin to degrade the metal or break off into passing fluid. The internal design of sanitary check valves also won’t have any crevices where potential contaminants can become trapped and cause unsanitary conditions.
  • Tight seal. For sanitary applications in food and beverage processing, the elimination of potential backflow needs to be absolute, and an extremely tight seal addresses this hygienic concern.
  • Reliable construction. Sanitary check valves need to be able to last without frequent replacements, degradation over time, or failure. The material composition and design of these valves should ensure low maintenance with a long lifetime. 

When you’re looking for the right sanitary check valves, also look for products that meet the material, pressure, and performance standards for your system to comply with governmental and industry regulations.

Benefits of Tri-Clamp Piping Systems

Tri-clamp fittings are a type of leakproof sanitary fitting component that can join endpoints together by clamping a gasket in between two flanged ends. These versatile fittings use external sealing capabilities to make installation, maintenance, and inspections easy, allowing for an array of vertical or horizontal system design configurations. Operators can quickly and easily disassemble the system and valve for cleaning, and this feature is paramount for industrial sectors like food and beverage.

DSV® Valves for the Food & Beverage Industry From DFT® Inc.

For over 75 years, DFT® has served industrial sectors with reliable, quality check valves to ensure efficient, safer operations. We maintain a full line of our DSV® Sanitary Check Valves, which we design, customize, and manufacture to help simplify maintenance and maintain compliance to production and sanitation standards for your organization. We build our sanitary check valves to meet 3-A quality standards and CIP criteria. We specialize in serving the food and beverage markets with food-grade valves for reliable processing applications to prevent reverse flow or bacteria buildup from contaminating products and equipment. 

Read our eBook about the critical role of our DSV® Sanitary Check Valves in the food and beverage industry. You can also contact our team to find the right check valves for your facility or request a quote to start your order.