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Steam Pipes - Installation of Drip Legs

Properly draining steam pipes for condensate.

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Steam pipe line - drip leg for condensate

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Condensate is generated in the steam pipes due to heat loss and due to energy required during system heat up. For the steam system to work properly it is important that the condensate is removed. 

Steam traps for draining should be located

  • on horizontal pipes - every 30 - 50 m (100 - 150 ft)
  • in front of pressure reducing valves to avoid damaging the equipment
  • in front of control valves to avoid damaging the equipment
  • in front of normally closed valves to avoid building up condensate that may damage the system when accelerated
  • at the bottom of vertical lines
  • at the end of the steam line

Recommended Drip Leg Dimensions

Steam Pipes - Drip Leg Dimensions
Main DiameterPocket DiameterPocket Depth
(mm)(in)(mm)(in)(mm)(in)
50 2 50 2 700 28
80 3 80 3 700 28
100 4 100 4 700 28
250 10 150 6 700 28
500 20 250 10 700 28

Example - Drip Leg Dimensions

The recommended drip leg dimension for a 80 mm (3 in) steam pipe is 80 mm (3 in). The pocket depth should be 700 mm (28 in).

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Related Topics

  • Steam and Condensate

    Steam & condensate systems- properties, capacities, pipe sizing, systems configuration and more.

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