The Fluid Controls Institute (FCI) recently released Tech Sheet #108: Condensate Line Sizing for Gravity Returns from Steam Traps and Heat Recovery which is available as a free download from the FCI Web Site.

Improperly sized condensate return lines can lead to steam system issues, including piping noise, waterhammer, and erosion, as well as erratic temperature controls in steam-using equipment and excessive maintenance and/or replacement of tube bundles or plates in heat exchangers.  Therefore, the Fluid Controls Institute developed Tech Sheet #108 to easily explain the variables that impact sizing of condensate return lines, which need to be properly sized to handle the two-phase flow (flash steam and condensate) that is generated from steam distribution and steam process use. Formulas are provided for calculating flash steam and required piping area for condensate return, along with tables to size and select condensate return lines.  Examples are included for common condensate recovery applications.  Tech Sheet #108 provides a simple and single reference to help solve the mysteries of condensate return.

The FCI is a non-profit trade association with a membership comprising the leading manufacturers of fluid control and conditioning equipment such as Regulators, Pipeline Strainers, Steam Traps, Control Valves, Solenoid Valves and Secondary Pressure Drainers (commonly referred to as “pressure pumps”). The primary contribution of the FCI has been the development of standards and educational materials that promote better products of higher quality and greater usefulness. For additional information about FCI and a list of members, visit