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August 2002

Process Industry Practices


Steam Tracing Specification

In an effort to minimize the cost of process industry facilities, this Practice has
been prepared from the technical requirements in the existing standards of major
industrial users, contractors, or standards organizations. By harmonizing these technical
requirements into a single set of Practices, administrative, application, and engineering
costs to both the purchaser and the manufacturer should be reduced. While this Practice
is expected to incorporate the majority of requirements of most users, individual
applications may involve requirements that will be appended to and take precedence
over this Practice. Determinations concerning fitness for purpose and particular matters
or application of the Practice to particular project or engineering situations should not
be made solely on information contained in these materials. The use of trade names
from time to time should not be viewed as an expression of preference but rather
recognized as normal usage in the trade. Other brands having the same specifications
are equally correct and may be substituted for those named. All Practices or guidelines
are intended to be consistent with applicable laws and regulations including OSHA
requirements. To the extent these Practices or guidelines should conflict with OSHA or
other applicable laws or regulations, such laws or regulations must be followed.
Consult an appropriate professional before applying or acting on any material
contained in or suggested by the Practice.

This Practice is subject to revision at any time by the responsible Function Team and will
be reviewed every 5 years. This Practice will be revised, reaffirmed, or withdrawn.
Information on whether this Practice has been revised may be found at

© Process Industry Practices (PIP), Construction Industry Institute, The

University of Texas at Austin, 3925 West Braker Lane (R4500), Austin,
Texas 78759. PIP member companies and subscribers may copy this Practice
for their internal use. Changes, overlays, addenda, or modifications of any
kind are not permitted within any PIP Practice without the express written
authorization of PIP.

PIP will not consider requests for interpretations (inquiries) for this Practice.

Not printed with State funds

August 2002

Process Industry Practices


Steam Tracing Specification
Table of Contents
1. Introduction .................................. 3 5.10 Selection and Application of Heat
1.1 Purpose ............................................. 3 Transfer Compounds....................... 13
1.2 Scope................................................. 3
1.3 Tracing Systems................................ 3 6. Installation.................................. 13
1.4 Supporting Documents ...................... 3 6.1 Tracer Tube Cutting and Shaping ... 13
6.2 Tubing Unions ................................. 13
2. References.................................... 3 6.3 Steam Supply Layout ...................... 13
2.1 Process Industry Practices................ 3 6.4 Trap and Condensate Return
2.2 Industry Code and Standards............ 3 Systems ........................................... 14
6.5. Tracer Location and Routing ........... 14
3. Definitions .................................... 4
6.6 Trap Station Installation................... 15
4. Mechanical Criteria ...................... 7 6.7 Tracing Identification ....................... 16
4.1 Tracing System Temperature 6.8 Tracers on Valves and Pumps ........ 16
Control ............................................... 7 6.9 Tracers on Vessels.......................... 17
4.2 Steam Supply Design/Layout ............ 7 6.10 Tracing on Instruments.................... 17
4.3 Steam Trap Selection ........................ 7 6.11 Heating Systems for Instruments
4.4 Steam Pressure Selection ................. 7 Enclosures....................................... 17
4.5 Selection of Tracer Type ................... 8 6.12 Process Piping Supports ................. 18
4.6 Size and Number of Tracers ........... 10 6.13 Preinsulated Lead Supports ............ 18
6.14 Tracing Installation Sequence ......... 18
5. Materials ..................................... 11 6.15 Surface Preparation of Piping ......... 19
5.1 General ............................................ 11 6.16 Surface Preparation of Tracers ....... 19
5.2 Preinsulated Leads.......................... 11 6.17 Tracer Securement to Process
5.3 Tracer Material ................................ 11 Lines ................................................ 19
5.4 Copper Tubing................................. 11 6.18 Pressure Testing and Cleaning ....... 19
5.5 Stainless Steel Tubing..................... 12 6.19 Insulation Installation ....................... 19
5.6 Preinsulated Tracers ....................... 12
5.7 Tracer Tubing Fittings...................... 12 7. Inspection ................................. 20
5.8 Steam Traps .................................... 12 7.1 Inspection Access............................ 20
5.9 Insulation System ............................ 12 7.2 Inspection Requirements................. 20

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Steam Tracing Specification August 2002

Attached Detail Drawings PIP ST22 – Typical Steam Jacketed Valve

PIP ST23 – Typical Single Tubing Steam
PIP ST01 – Typical Steam Tracing System
PIP ST24 – Arrangement Details for
PIP ST02 – Pressure Gauge or Switch,
Installation of Vessel Tracing
Liquids & Steam
PIP ST25 – Arrangement Details for
PIP ST03 – Typical Arrangement for
Tracing on Pumps, Valves, & Cone
Typical Bare Steam Tracing Circuit
PIP ST04 – Typical Arrangement for 12
PIP ST26 – Steam Tracing for Pressure
Station -3” – Class 150 – Steam
Transmitter Liquid or Steam Service
Distribution Manifold
PIP ST28 – Jacketed Level Glass – Typical
PIP ST05 – Typical Detail for Condensate
Arrangement Details for Installation of
Instrument Tracing
PIP ST06 – Typical Detail for
PIP ST27 – Flanged D/P Level Transmitter
Steam/Condensate Manifold Mounting
– Typical Arrangement Details for
Installation of Instrument Tracing
PIP ST07 – Typical Arrangement for Trap
PIP ST28 – Jacketed Level Glass – Typical
with Separate Strainer
Arrangement Details for Installation of
PIP ST08 – Typical Arrangement for Trap
Instrument Tracing
with Integral Strainer
PIP ST29 – External Float Level Instrument
PIP ST09 – Details for Tracing
– Typical Arrangement Details for
Identification Tags on Steam Supply
Installation of Instrument Tracing
PIP ST30 – D/P Level Instrument on
PIP ST10 – Details for Tracing
Vessel – Typical Arrangement for
Identification Tags on Steam
Installation of Instrument Tracing
Condensate Line
PIP ST31 – Liquid Remote Pressure
PIP ST11 – Details for Tracing
Gauge – Typical Arrangement for
Identification Tags on Steam Manifold
Installation of Instrument Tracing
PIP ST12 – Details for Tracing
PIP ST32 – Remote Mounted D/P
Identification Tags on Condensate
Instrument – Typical Arrangement
Details for Installation of Instrument
PIP ST13 – Typical Tracer Arrangements
PIP ST14 – Typical Tracer Arrangements
PIP ST33 – Line Mounted D/P Instrument –
PIP ST15 – Convection Tracing for Piping
Typical Arrangement for Installation of
PIP ST16 – Typical Arrangement Details
Instrument Tracing
and Tracer Expansion Loops
PIP ST34 – Pressure Transmitter Detail –
PIP ST17 – Arrangements Details for
Typical Arrangement for Installation of
Tracer Penetrations in Insulation
Instrument Tracing
PIP ST18 – Typical Arrangement Detail
PIP ST35 – Pressure Switch or Pressure
PIP ST19 – Maximum Accumulated Rise
Gauge in Steam Traced Lines –
Data for Tracers
Typical Arrangement for Installation of
PIP ST20 – Steam Tracing Control Valve
Instrument Tracing
PIP ST21 – Typical Tracing of Flanged

Page 2 of 20 Process Industry Practices

August 2002 Steam Tracing Specification

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose
This Practice provides a guideline for the design and installation of steam tracing
systems with process fluids that require heating to prevent condensation, freezing,
unacceptable viscosity, crystallizing, separation, or temperature control.

1.2 Scope
This Practice covers minimum requirements for design, materials of construction,
installation, leak testing, and inspection of steam tracing systems on equipment, piping,
and instruments including steam supply piping, steam tracers, tracer traps, and
condensate collection.

1.3 Tracing Systems

Systems requiring additional steam tracing specifications beyond this specification shall
be covered by the purchaser’s documentation.

1.4 Supporting Documents

Use of this Practice for contractual purposes requires the purchaser to make specific
choices and assemble additional supporting documents. Listing of or reference to
supporting documents within this Practice does not imply suitability for specific

2. References
Applicable requirements in the latest edition (or the edition indicated) of the following
Practices, industry codes and standards, and detail drawings shall be considered an integral part
of this Practice. Short titles will be used herein when appropriate.

2.1 Process Industry Practices (PIP)

– PIP INSH2000 - Installation of Hot Service Insulation Systems
– PIP INSH2002 - Documentation Requirements
– PIP PN50SA0L01 – Piping Material Specification 50SA0L01, 304/304L Stainless
Steel, 0.000” C.A., Process Tubing
– PIP PN50SD0L01 – Piping Material Specification 50SD0L01, 316/316L
Stainless Steel, 0.000” C.A., Process Tubing

2.2 Industry Code and Standards

– ASTM B68-99 - Standard Specification for Seamless Copper Tube, Bright
– ASTM B75-99 – Standard Specification for Seamless Copper Tube
– ASME B31.3 – Process Piping

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Steam Tracing Specification August 2002

3. Definitions
For the purpose of this Practice, the following definitions apply:

air convection tracing: Tracers attached to the pipe without the use of heat-transfer compounds.
Tubing can be bare or may have a polymer jacket. A tracer is attached to the pipe with high-
temperature tape, tie-wires, or bands. Heat transfer is by means of air convection movement of
heat in the annular space between the thermal insulation and the heated pipe.

ambient temperature: The temperature of the air in the surrounding atmosphere

condensate: Water that is formed in the steam tracer tube when latent heat from the steam is
given up to the heated pipe or equipment

conduction tracing: Tracer tube that is thermally bonded to the heated pipe or equipment by
heat-transfer compound when the primary heat transfer means is by conduction directly into the
metal wall of the pipe or equipment being heated

contractor: Party that is responsible for furnishing and/or installing the insulation system

dry steam: Steam containing no moisture; it may be either saturated or superheated.

heat loss: The rate at which heat flows from a hot surface such as a process pipe to a cooler
atmosphere, usually stated in Btu/h feet (kcal/m) of length of pipe. The heat loss is generally
from the pipe through the pipe insulation to the cooler atmosphere, but may also be from
conduction through hangers and supports.

heatsink: A surface or mass such as a flange or valve that is at a lower temperature than the
warm pipe

heat tracing: The application of hot liquid, vapor, steam tracing tubes, electric heating cables, or
tapes to pipes, fittings, valves, pumps, tanks instruments, or instrument lines to offset the heat
loss through thermal insulation

heat-transfer compound: A heat-conductive material with highly efficient thermal

characteristics for use on any steam or fluid tracer tube. The heat-transfer compound is used to
establish a broad, heat-conductive contact surface, for heat-transfer purposes, between the tracer
tube and the surface to be heated.

heated pipe: Any process, service, or utility pipe that is heat traced

heating media: Dry-saturated steam that flows from the point of supply on the steam main
through to the inlet of the tracing circuit steam trap

heat-up: A steam tracing application in which process pipe or equipment requires the addition
of heat to raise its temperature from a lower to a higher level

high-pressure steam: Steam at a pressure of 250 psig to 600 psig (1,723 kPag to 4,136 kPag)

inline instruments: Instruments that are installed in the piping. These instruments are normally
traced with the same tracing circuit as the piping.

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August 2002 Steam Tracing Specification

instruments: Devices that are either used separately or in combination to measure, analyze, or
monitor the various aspects of a process

instruments piping: All piping, tubing or tubing bundles, valves, and fittings used to connect
instruments to process piping and to other instruments and apparatus for measuring, analyzing,
or monitoring purposes

isolated tracing: Tracing for sensitive piping and processes where the tracer tube is separated
from the pipe or equipment by a low conductive material. This tracing includes preinsulated
tubing with a polymer protective jacket. Heat transfer is primarily by air-convection movement
of heat in the annular space between the thermal insulation and the heated pipe.

low-pressure steam: Steam at a pressure of 15 psig to 50 psig (68 kPag to 344 kPag)

medium-pressure steam: Steam at a pressure of 50 psig to 250 psig (345 kPag to 1,722 kPag)

owner: Principal end user

pockets: Bends, loops, or dips in a tracer tube circuit where condensate can collect and prevent
the tracer circuit from being self-draining

process maintenance temperature: The temperature level that must be held on plant process
pipes and equipment to keep the contents from solidifying, condensing, crystallizing,
separating, or becoming too viscous to pump

NOTE: The term is often used to refer to all traced utility, service, or process pipes.
process piping: Piping used to transport fluids between storage tanks and within process units
per ASME B31.3

purchaser: Owner or the owner’s authorized agent

remote instruments: Instruments that are installed at a location that is remote from the piping.
These instruments are traced with a tracing circuit that is separate from the tracing circuit(s)
used to trace the piping.

saturated steam: Steam at the temperature at which vaporization takes place for that pressure
and is free of moisture

service piping: Piping used to transport water, brine, steam, air, or other substances to process
piping or equipment to bring about the successful completion of the process

steam supply manifolds: Modular prefabricated steam supply distribution manifolds designed
specifically for supplying steam to tracing circuits

steam and condensate manifolds: Modular prefabricated steam supply and condensate
collection units designed specifically for steam tracing circuits

steam and condensate return leads: Preinsulated tubing with a weather-protective jacket that is
used to interconnect headers to manifolds and manifolds to tracers for steam supply and
condensate return. Referred to as leads, runs, lines, and takeoffs.

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Steam Tracing Specification August 2002

steam boiler: A closed vessel in which water is vaporized into steam to provide mechanical
power and process heat such as steam for tracing circuits

steam header: The principal steam line supplying steam to all users in an area including tracer
circuits that is assumed to be supported on overhead pipe rack and may have several branches.

steam-out: A process for cleaning residue from piping by passing steam through the piping. It is
necessary to select a tracer material that can withstand exposure to the steam-out temperature.

Steam traced piping: All references to steam traced piping throughout this Practice is meant to
imply all steam traced piping, fittings, valves, pumps, tanks, vessels, instruments, instrument
lines and any other materials or equipment requiring steam tracers.

steam tracing: A tube or small pipe carrying steam, which is placed parallel and attached to the
surface of the pipe or equipment to be heated. The tube is referred to as the “tracer,” “tracer
tube,” or simply “tracing.”

steam tracing condensate subheader: A line that collects and returns condensate from one or
more tracer circuits via a condensate collection manifold to the condensate header

steam tracing subheader: A branch from the steam header to the steam distribution manifold for
tracer circuits

steam trap: Automatic device used to hold steam in a steam tracing circuit until it has given up
its latent heat and allows condensate, air, and other gases to pass while preventing the passage
of steam

superheated steam: Steam at a temperature higher than that at which vaporization takes place
for that pressure

temperature controllers: Automatic devices used to control steam pressure and/or flow to
maintain pipe temperature for freeze protection or process temperature control

thermal insulation: For steam tracing purposes, it refers to materials used to retard the flow of
heat from piping and equipment to the surrounding atmosphere.

utilities piping: Piping that transports the primary plant commodities such as fuel gases, fuel oil,
water, air, steam, and condensate

vessel: The term “vessel” in this specification refers to any large surface such as tanks, towers,
drums, reactors, or exchangers.

weather barrier: A protective material covering the outer surface of thermal insulation to repel
rain, snow, sleet, hose wash-down, or any other substance that might negatively affect the
thermal insulation

wet steam: Steam containing moisture

winterization: Sometimes referred to as “freeze protection” or “warming services,”

winterization is the preparation of piping and equipment for operation in winter weather,
including cold temperatures, high winds, snow, and ice.

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August 2002 Steam Tracing Specification

4. Mechanical Criteria

4.1 Tracing System Temperature Control

Proper temperature control based on an assessment of the actual system needs should be
provided when economically practical.

4.2 Steam Supply Design/Layout

4.2.1 Steam used to supply steam tracing must be from a constant source that can be
maintained independently of plant operations. The steam supply should be
taken from a source that is continuously available even during normal
shutdown periods when possible. Steam should be distributed at the highest
pressure and reduced to the design requirements of the tracer system using a
pressure-reducing valve.
4.2.2 To help ensure the quality of the tracing steam, all steam supply manifolds and
tracer circuits shall have a separate steam trap station installed.
4.2.3 Tracing steam shall be dry saturated steam of a pressure that furnishes the
tracing design heat input requirements.
4.2.4 The tracing supply header shall be adequately sized to provide the maximum
tracer design load (steam pounds per hour) and trapped at its low points.
4.2.5 The number of tracer connections on a manifold should be held to a maximum
of 12. A minimum of two of these connections should be designated as spares.
4.2.6 Vertical type manifolds should be utilized when possible.

4.3 Steam Trap Selection

4.3.1 Effective removal of condensate and air is essential to achieving uniform
temperatures and maximum heat-transfer rates from steam tracing circuits.
4.3.2 Consult trap manufacturers for information for the selection and sizing of the
steam traps as well as for sizing and proper installation techniques to provide
trouble-free winter performance.
4.3.3 Preassembled steam trapping stations with universal connectors are preferred.
The type of traps selected shall meet the design and efficiency requirements of
the tracing system.

4.4 Steam Pressure Selection

The following criteria must be considered when selecting the steam pressure that can be
utilized to meet the steam tracing design requirements:
a. Desired maximum allowable number of tracers on a line
b. Desired maximum allowable length of the tracer tubing that is connected to the
c. Elevation differences between the location of the steam manifold and traced
d. If process fluid or piping material is sensitive to conduction or localized heating

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Steam Tracing Specification August 2002

e. Plant site environmental design criteria (summer and winter design temperatures
and mean wind velocity)
f. Pressure differential between steam trap discharge and the condensate return
header including any static pressure head
g. Pressure of plant steam that is dedicated for steam tracing
h. Required maintenance temperatures (allowable minimum/maximum temperature
range for traced piping)
i. Safety factor for drops in steam pressure
j. Size and desired maximum length of all steam supply and condensate return leads
k. Traced piping size (outside diameter [OD]) and material of construction
l. Tracing size and type (air convection, conduction, or isolated tracing)
m. Type and thickness of the insulation system

4.5 Selection of Tracer Type

4.5.1 The selection of the steam tracer for each heated pipe and piece of equipment
must be based on the process sensitivity and the temperature to be maintained
along with the heat load demand, tracer capability, and the results of the design
4.5.2 Isolated tracing should be considered for the following operating conditions:
a. When reduced thermal risk is important to aid in compliance with
applicable safety standards
b. When a controlled, predictable heat-transfer rate must be maintained to
prevent corrosion or other unacceptable temperature-related conditions
c. When sensitive products such as caustics, acids, amines, resins, and
aqueous fluids that require low uniform heat for freeze protection
4.5.3 Convection tracing should be utilized for the following operating conditions:
a. When only one convection tracer is needed to hold the required
b. When winterization is needed for lines carrying such material as air,
water, gases, or other noncorrosive aqueous solutions
c. When low heat density and flexibility is necessary for high-maintenance
valves, pumps, and other such equipment

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August 2002 Steam Tracing Specification

d. For process lines in which ambient temperature fluctuations or emergency

shutdown and heat-up requirements do not necessitate more heat than the
convection tracer supplies
NOTE: Multiple convection tracers usually cannot be economically
justified when one tracer with heat-transfer compound will suffice
because of the additional steam supply connections and trap
assemblies required. However, a convection tracer may be
doubled back when allowable pressure drops are not exceeded.
The use of doubled-back tracers should be held to a minimum.
Spiraled convection tracers are not permitted, unless otherwise
noted, because circumferential expansion reduces the heat-transfer
coefficient by increasing the air gap between the tracer and the
pipe and the increased number of pockets on horizontal runs
requires more frequent trapping.
4.5.4 Tracers with heat-transfer compound may be utilized for the following
operating conditions:
a. When more than one convection tracer is required
b. When fast heat-up is essential after an emergency or a planned shutdown
c. When a more even temperature distribution is required
d. When high heat density and flexibility is required at valves, pumps, and
other such equipment
e. When it is desirable to keep the required number of tracers to a minimum
4.5.5 Preinsulated instrument tubing bundles and high-density polyurethane
instrument enclosures are recommended for the following situations:
a. When closely predicted thermal characteristics are required for pressure
and differential pressure transmitters, process analyzers, emissions
analyzers, and other such applications
b. When space is limited, pretraced and insulated bundles can be shaped to
allow layout via the shortest distance with simple supports in locations
where field-fabricated lines are not practical
c. When factory-applied polymer weather protection is preferred on critical
4.5.6 Tracing with self-acting, off-on, or pressure-reducing control valves with
sensors that respond to the pipe wall or ambient temperature should be
considered for:
a. Piping that operates intermittently
b. When it is essential to prevent overheating of the product
c. When constant viscosity is required for instrumentation
d. When energy efficiency is a key requirement
e. Piping that requires process heat-up

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Steam Tracing Specification August 2002

f. Piping that requires freeze protection during shutdown periods

NOTE: When the process fluid is sensitive to over heating, self-acting off-on
in steam tracers may not be suitable.

4.6 Size and Number of Tracers

4.6.1 To facilitate designing a cost-effective tracing system, minimize the number of
tracer circuits. To establish the number and size of tracers required to supply
the required heating, the following six factors must be taken into consideration.
Three factors are given and three factors are variable. The variable factors must
be balanced to establish an appropriate design.
Given factors:
a. Nominal pipe size
b. Desired pipe temperature
c. Lowest ambient temperature and highest wind speed
Variable factors:
a. Tracer type, size, and number
b. Steam inlet pressure and temperature
c. Insulation type and thickness
4.6.2 All flow diagrams shall be reviewed to determine the steam tracing
requirements for each line. Isometric drawings identifying steam supply
headers, tracer supply manifolds, tracer routing, tracer trap stations, and
condensate return lines will be provided to facilitate proper design and
installation of the tracing system.
4.6.3 The tracer size and number of tracer circuits required to supply the heating
requirement on a line or equipment item should be determined by calculation,
manufacturer’s data, or the use of a computer program developed for steam
tracing design.
4.6.4 The maximum trapping length and the maximum vertical rise for each tracer
circuit shall be determined from calculation, manufacturer’s data, or the use of
a computer program developed for steam tracing design.
4.6.5 The maximum length of the tracing circuit shall not exceed the calculated
maximum trapping length for the tracer that must include the supply and return
4.6.6 Maximum tracer length shall be applicable to the length of the tracer that is
attached to the line. The tracer length should be measured from the point where
the tracer first contacts the line to be heated to the point where it connects to the
return lead that is routed to the trap station.
4.6.7 Pressure losses for preinsulated tubing that runs from the steam manifold to the
tracer circuit, from the tracer to the condensate manifold, and from the manifold
to the condensate return header will be calculated separately if the length of
these runs exceeds 100-feet (30-m) total.

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August 2002 Steam Tracing Specification

5. Materials

5.1 General
5.1.1 All materials used to construct steam tracing components shall be new and in
accordance with this specification and its references. Refer to PIP piping and
line class specifications as required for piping details.
5.1.2 Steam supply, condensate return, and tracer tubing wall thickness shall be in
accordance with ASME B31.3.
5.1.3 Steam supply subheaders and tracing steam distribution manifolds shall be of
the same materials as the steam header.
5.1.4 Condensate return subheaders and tracing condensate collection manifolds shall
be of the same materials as the condensate return header.

5.2 Preinsulated Leads

5.2.1 Tubing shall be insulated with approved thermal insulation and jacketed with
plastic rated for 105ºF (40ºC) or higher.
5.2.2 Sufficient insulation shall be furnished to provide a maximum surface
temperature of 140ºF (60ºC) during operation. The sensible temperature and
wind speed for the location as well as the maximum steam temperature and
pressure expected for the particular application unless otherwise noted.

5.3 Tracer Material

5.3.1 The tracer in a steam tracing system must be as flexible as possible for the ease
of installation and conformance to the shape and layout of the pipes and
equipment being heated and must act as a leak-proof carrier of the heating
media. Tubing should be used rather than pipe for tracing whenever possible.
5.3.2 The tracer shall be selected to fulfill the thermal and installation requirements
as determined by the process pipe material, temperature of the process pipe and
tracer, pressure of the heating media, and the environment. The tracer should be
of metal close to the potential of the process pipe so as to minimize galvanic

5.4 Copper Tubing

5.4.1 Bare copper tubing tracers shall be soft-annealed grade 122 and meet or exceed
ASTM Standard B68 and ASTM Standard B75. Copper tubing shall be used if
the saturated steam pressure or the item being traced does not exceed 400°F
(204°C) and there is no corrosion or other deterrent for using copper.
5.4.2 Tubing thickness shall be:
a. 3/8-inch (9.52-mm) OD x 0.035-inch (.89-mm) wall
b. 1/2-inch (12.7-mm) OD x 0.035-inch (.89-mm) wall

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Steam Tracing Specification August 2002

c. 3/4-inch (19-mm) OD x 0.049-inch (1.24-mm) wall

NOTE: 1/4-inch (6.35-mm) OD tracers should only be used when
absolutely necessary for heating relatively small tubes or similar

5.5 Stainless Steel Tubing

5.5.1 Bare stainless steel tubing shall be PIP PN50SD0L01 316/316L stainless steel
tubing and shall be used if the saturated steam pressure or the item being traced
has a maximum temperature between 400°F (204°C) and 800°F (427°C), and
there is no corrosion or other deterrent for using stainless steel.
5.5.2 Tubing thickness shall be:
a. 3/8-inch (9.52-mm) OD x 0.035-inch (.89-mm) wall (minimum)
b. 1/2-inch (12.7-mm) OD x 0.035-inch (.89-mm) wall

5.6 Preinsulated Tracers

5.6.1 The material requirements for preinsulated tracer tubing shall be the same as
specified herein for bare tracers.
5.6.2 Preinsulated tracers shall be covered with a flexible insulation and a weather-
tight flexible jacket. Flexibility of the jacket shall be adequate to allow for
bending required to fit the preinsulated tracer to typical installations.

5.7 Tracer Tubing Fittings

The tracer tubing fittings shall be suitable for the pressure of the steam that they
contain. Fittings shall be compression type. The fittings shall be made of material that is
compatible with the tracer construction material.

5.8 Steam Traps

Steam traps shall be sized for the maximum calculated condensate load in the expected
operating pressure range and furnished with an integral strainer, air vent, and blow-off

5.9 Insulation System

5.9.1 The next largest pipe-size rigid insulation (calcium silicate, expanded Perlite,
cellular glass, etc.) shall be selected; however, insulation of the actual pipe size
may be used if board sections are cut to fit the longitudinal joint to compensate
for the steam tracer.
5.9.2 The insulation material to be used on steam traced piping and equipment shall
be selected with care and shall comply with PIP INSH2000 and PIP INSH2002.
Important aspects to be considered are:
a. Thermal insulating characteristics
b. Mechanical strength characteristics
c. Chemical stability characteristics under both normal and abnormal

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August 2002 Steam Tracing Specification

d. Moisture absorption characteristics

e. Personnel health and safety aspects
f. Installed cost

5.10 Selection and Application of Heat-Transfer Compounds

Various formulations of heat-transfer compounds are available to cover a wide range of
tracing applications. The selection of the proper formulation involves consideration of
all the following:
a. Minimum and maximum temperatures to which heat-transfer compounds will be
exposed under both normal and abnormal operating conditions
b. Ambient conditions under which installation of heat-transfer compounds must
c. Piping and equipment size and configuration
d. Total installed cost for the heat-transfer compounds
e. Feasibility of performing start-up curing procedures when required
f. Solubility resistance of the heat-transfer compounds

6. Installation

6.1 Tracer Tube Cutting and Shaping

Tracer tube bends shall be free of kinks, wrinkles, or flattening. Bends shall be made
with a mechanical tubing bender. Bend radii should generally be from four to ten times
the outside diameter of the tube. The largest functional radius should be used. A tube
cutter or hacksaw shall be used to cut the tracer tubes. Guide blocks shall be used with a
hacksaw cutting to assure a square cut. Outside diameter (OD) and inside diameter (ID)
deburring shall be performed using a file for the OD and a deburring tool for the ID.

6.2 Tubing Unions

Tubing unions shall be installed in tracers where necessary to permit removal of
equipment such as pumps, relief valves, instruments, control valves, and strainers.
Tubes shall be formed to join with true alignment to the centerline of the fittings
without distortion or tension.

6.3 Steam Supply Layout

6.3.1 The tracing supply header shall be located as close as possible to the point of
use. If three or more tracers are supplied from a common header, prefabricated
manifolds should be considered.

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Steam Tracing Specification August 2002

6.3.2 Each tracer supply line (subheader) from the steam header shall be:
a. Equipped with an isolation valve. These valves shall be located where
they are accessible to the plant operation personnel.
b. Routed from off the top of the tracer supply header at the highest point
possible flowing downward to the tracer steam supply distribution
manifold subheader.
6.3.3 Preinsulated tubing with factory-applied insulation and a polymeric weather-
protective jacket may be used for steam supply and condensate return leads.
6.3.4 Preinsulated leads shall be routed as follows:
a. From the distribution manifold block valve outlet to where the tracer that
is attached to the piping enters the insulation.
b. From the point of connection where the tracer piping exits the insulation
to the inlet connection of the steam trap station located on the condensate
collection manifold.
c. All lines should be routed symmetrically and run together when possible
to maintain a neat appearance. Pockets shall be avoided when possible.
d. To ensure a cost-effective design, the length of the supply and return leads
must be kept to a minimum, preferably from 25 feet (7.6 m) to 70 feet
(21 m) in length.
6.3.5 Steam supply manifolds shall be strategically located along the tracing route
and shall be accessible from grade, platform, or permanent ladder.
6.3.6 Steam supply manifolds shall be fitted with an isolation valve.
6.3.7 Supply manifolds shall be drained via a trap and discharged to the atmosphere
directed to a safe location when condensate is not returned.

6.4 Trap and Condensate Return Systems

6.4.1 Steam trap condensate manifold assemblies shall be provided with an internal
siphon tube for freeze protection of traps that are shut off and a freeze
protection valve that senses condensate temperature to drain the manifold if the
condensate cools to a given set point.
6.4.2 Steam trap manifold assemblies shall be placed in an accessible location when
possible to simplify maintenance.
6.4.3 Manufactured steam trap, steam distribution, and condensate collection
manifolds designed specifically for steam tracing applications are preferred.

6.5. Tracer Location and Routing

6.5.1 Tracers serving the same or adjacent items shall be grouped and supplied from
a common manifold to facilitate maintenance. Condensate shall be returned to a
common return manifold.

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August 2002 Steam Tracing Specification

6.5.2 The steam supply should start at the highest point of the lines to be traced, and
the tracers shall be arranged so that flow is generally downward avoiding
pockets as much as possible. The accumulated vertical tracer rise (pocket
height) in feet should not exceed 15% of the steam supply pressure without
specific permission of the owner.
6.5.3 Each tracer shall be continuous from the supply manifold to the trap with no
vents, drains, or dead-end extensions at intermediate points. In general, branch
connections shall be avoided. If branches are required, each branch that is used
shall have its own trap.
6.5.4 All tracers shall be installed parallel to and against the heated pipe or equipment
and shall be placed on the most accessible surface location in regard to
supports, ease of installation, connection, and thermal insulation. Multiple
tracers shall be equally spaced around the circumference of the pipe.
6.5.5 Expansion of bare (convection) tracer tubes shall be absorbed at elbows and
flanges when possible. For long straight runs, a 12-inch (.305-m) diameter
horizontal loop shall be provided at 60-feet to 100-feet (18-m to 30-m)
intervals, preferably midway between fittings. Tracer loops provided
specifically for expansion should not contain unions.
6.5.6 Tracer loops around flanges shall be horizontal so as to drain on shutdown, and
unions shall be provided so tracers can be disconnected at valves, pumps, tanks,
or other flange-connected equipment.
6.5.7 Tracing shall be included on dead legs and similar heatsinks along the traced
6.5.8 Each tracer circuit shall have a separate trap station installed at the end of the
tracer circuit.
6.5.9 Slots shall be provided in the thermal insulation to accommodate expansion of
the tracer where it joins and leaves the traced line. See detail drawing ST-17 for
arrangement details.
6.5.10 Extra tracer lengths are not generally required at pipe hangers, piping tees, and
6.5.11 Design shall include extra tracer length for valves or large pieces of equipment.
The engineer will indicate on critical service if pipe supports or flanges require
additional tracer length. Insulated pipe supports will be considered on critical
temperature maintenance situations.
6.5.12 All tracers should be arranged to accommodate maintenance and removal of
traced valves, instruments, and other equipment.

6.6 Trap Station Installation

6.6.1 The steam trap shall be installed below the tracer circuit when possible and at a
condensate manifold located so as not to interfere with the operation and
maintenance of equipment or obstruct access ways.

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Steam Tracing Specification August 2002

6.6.2 Each tracer circuit shall be trapped individually at the tracer termination point
determined from the circuit design information. A new tracer shall be installed
for continuing the tracing if the pipe-run exceeds the specified maximum
trapping length.
6.6.3 Isolation valves shall be installed to accommodate servicing of the trap.
6.6.4 When condensate will be discharged to an overhead return line or against a lift,
a swing check valve shall be installed in the discharge line just beyond the trap
at the bottom of the lift if the trap does not have an integral check valve or is
not otherwise designed to prevent back flow. The discharge line from the trap
shall feed into the top of the return main.
6.6.5 The pressure due to the lift shall be added to the pressure in the overhead return
line to determine the total back pressure against which the trap must discharge.
Use 0.5 psi per vertical foot of lift (11.31 kp/m) to calculate the pressure due to
lift. The back pressure shall not exceed the allowable limit of the selected trap.
6.6.6 A test tee should be installed just downstream of the trap to allow checking of
the trap performance.

6.7 Tracing Identification

6.7.1 Each tracer circuit shall be identified by two corrosion-resistant identification
tags. One tag shall be installed on the steam supply valve at the steam
distribution manifold and the other tag shall be installed on the isolation valve
located on the steam trap assembly.
6.7.2 Steam tracer supply stations and condensate trap stations shall be given line
numbers. An isometric piping erection drawing will be made for each station.
These stations will be assigned numbers that are to be located on the plot plan
and the model to indicate unit number, station number, and whether they are
supply or trap stations.
6.7.3 The identification tags shall be fabricated from 16-gauge corrosion-resistant
material suitable for the environment and attached to the supply valve and
steam trap assembly valve with No. 16 gauge corrosion-resistant wire.
6.7.4 Identification tags shall be stamped with 1/4-inch (6-mm) numbers and letters
using the identification system established for the project.

6.8 Tracers on Valves and Pumps

6.8.1 Tracing for valves and pumps shall be tubing in the form of hairpin loops so
that the tracer makes the least amount of complete circles. The number of feet
of tracer to surface area of valve or pump shall be sufficient to obtain the same
ratio or higher of feet of tracer per unit of surface area as on the straight pipe
surface area.
6.8.2 Unless otherwise specified, hairpin tubing loops shall be attached to the valve
or pump surface with 1/2-inch x .020-inch (12-mm x .5-mm) stainless steel
bands, high-temperature fiberglass tape or No. 16 gauge stainless steel wire.
(See detail drawings ST-20, ST-21, and ST-25 for arrangement details.)

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August 2002 Steam Tracing Specification

6.9 Tracers on Vessels

6.9.1 External tracing for vessels should be prefabricated stainless steel heating
panels formed to the required radius or hairpin loop tubing panels, unless
otherwise specified. (See detail drawings ST-24 and ST-25 for arrangement
6.9.2 Prefabricated stainless steel heating panels should have a layer of factory-
applied nonhardening heat-transfer compound between the vessel surface and
the back of the heating panel.
6.9.3 Small equipment with an outside radius of curvature less than 7 inches
(178 mm) and vessel bottoms with compound curved surfaces may be traced
with tubing in the form of hairpin loops in lieu of heating panels.
6.9.4 Hairpin circuits shall be embedded in heat-transfer compound, unless otherwise
6.9.5 Each tracing panel shall have a separate steam trap station.
6.9.6 Tracing systems on equipment shall be systems that are separate from the
tracing systems dedicated for the piping.

6.10 Tracing on Instruments

6.10.1 Tracing for instruments and instrument impulse lines shall conform to
information provided in the attached details.
6.10.2 Tracing shall be installed so that instruments can be removed for maintenance
without interruption or removing the tracing.
6.10.3 Tracing shall be applied only to the process-wetted parts of instruments, not to
electronic or pneumatic parts.
6.10.4 Tracer sizes shall be as follows:
a. 1/2-inch (12-mm) OD tubing shall be used for gauge glass and external
displacer level instruments.
b. 3/8-inch (10-mm) or 1/2-inch (12-mm) OD tubing shall be used for meter

6.11 Heating Systems for Instruments Enclosures

6.11.1 Pressure gauge enclosures shall be heated with the heat from the process line by
installing heat conservation insulation up to the enclosure or by continuing the
tracer at the gauge connection.
6.11.2 Differential pressure transmitters with partial enclosures shall be heated by a
steam heater block installed under the instrument. The heater shall have its own
flexible thermal insulation cover and be installed where it will not interfere with
removal of the transmitter.
6.11.3 Preinsulated tubing bundles may be used in lieu of field-traced and insulated
instrument lead lines. Transmitters, controllers, recorders, etc., with complete
polyurethane enclosures shall be heated with a separate finned steam heater
connected by tube fittings to the steam tracer.

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Steam Tracing Specification August 2002

6.12 Process Piping Supports

Process piping supports shall be designed to allow for ease of installation of steam
tracers and insulation.

6.13 Preinsulated Lead Supports

6.13.1 The installation and support of preinsulated instrument tubing bundles and
preinsulated steam supply and condensate return lines shall be in accordance
with the manufacturer’s specifications.
6.13.2 Routing and support is to be determined in the field. Lines shall be run together
as much as possible for common support. Preinsulated tubing shall be spaced
and located in accordance with the following considerations:
a. Ability to place a durable support at some desired location
b. Keep sag in the line within limits that will permit drainage
c. Avoid bends that exceed the minimum bend radius as recommended by
the manufacturer
d. Allow for heat dissipation by keeping a 1/2-inch (12-mm) space
(minimum) between the preinsulated lines

6.14 Tracing Installation Sequence

After the process pipe has been installed with proper supports and hangers to allow for
correct application of tracers and insulation, the following major steps are used for
installations of the tracer system:
Step 1: Ensure that all leak testing of the piping has been completed.
Step 2: Ensure that all the required coatings have been applied on the pipe.
Step 3: Perform surface preparation of process piping.
Step 4: Perform surface preparation of tracer.
Step 5: Perform installation of tracer and its securement.
Step 6: Perform pressure testing of tracer.
Step 7: Perform application of heat-transfer compound (when required).
Step 8: Ensure curing of heat-transfer compound (if required).
Step 9: Inspect the tracer system in accordance with the requirements specified
Step 10: Perform application of thermal insulation system in accordance with
Step 11: Perform inspection of insulation system in accordance PIP INSH2000.

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August 2002 Steam Tracing Specification

6.15 Surface Preparation of Piping

All tracer tubes and pipes or equipment to be traced shall be reasonably clean before
installation of steam tracers. For noncoated surfaces, dirt, rust, and scale can be
removed with a wire brush. Oil and grease films on coated or noncoated surfaces may
be removed with a rag and suitable solvent. For coated surfaces, use clean compressed
air, brushes, or rags to remove all loose dirt or dust. Preparation for the application of
heat-transfer compounds shall be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s

6.16 Surface Preparation of Tracers

All tracers shall be free of dirt, grease, oil, loose scale, or any other nonspecified
material before installation on piping and equipment and before application of heat-
transfer compound when applicable.

6.17 Tracer Securement to Process Lines

6.17.1 Provide for expansion where required to prevent stress in the tracer tubing by
properly securing the tracer to the process pipe.
6.17.2 Tracers shall be fastened to piping and equipment with wire, bands, or high-
temperature tapes.
6.17.3 Covering the tracer with galvanized or stainless steel channels before final
attachment may be required to protect the tracer from impacts.
6.17.4 Each method of tracing in this specification shall be installed in accordance
with the attached drawings.
6.17.5 Care shall be taken to use fastening materials that are galvanically compatible
with the pipe and tracer materials. High-temperature tapes shall be free of
chlorides or halides if used to secure stainless steel pipe or tubing.

6.18 Pressure Testing and Cleaning

6.18.1 Steam supply headers and pipe or tubing runs to tracers shall be blown clean
with steam or air before connection to trap assemblies.
6.18.2 After all tracer connections to the supply header and trap have been completed,
the circuit shall be tested for leaks by subjecting it to a steam pressure equal to
or greater than that to be used in the system or by suitable hydrostatic tests.
6.18.3 All leaks shall be repaired and the system retested before the installation of
heat-conducting compound (when used) and insulation.
6.18.4 Performance of traps, gauges, pressure-relief valves, and pressure- and/or
temperature-controlling devices shall be periodically checked at prescribed
intervals during start-up and during the first 48 hours of normal operation.

6.19 Insulation Installation

Installation of the insulation system shall be in accordance with the requirements of
PIP INSH2000 and PIP INSH2002.

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Steam Tracing Specification August 2002

7. Inspection

7.1 Inspection Access

The purchaser’s inspector and the tracing or insulation manufacturer’s representative
shall be given full access to all stages of the work upon request.

7.2 Inspection Requirements

The inspectors shall ensure that all phases of the installation are in accordance with the
materials and application specifications. The inspector shall make certain that:
a. All materials used are as specified and in good condition.
b. All materials are stored in accordance with recommendations.
c. Surface preparations are as specified.
d. Tracer systems are installed in accordance with the design.
e. All tracing supply headers, preinsulated supply and condensate tubing runs, tracer
tubes, and manifolds are cleaned before they are connected to trap assemblies.
f. All tracer circuits and process pipe runs are pressure tested after all connections
are completed.
g. Heat-transfer compounds are installed in accordance with these specifications.
h. Heat-transfer compounds are properly cured.
i. Water-soluble heat-transfer compounds are protected from rain and other
moisture before installing the thermal insulation and weather barrier.
j. High-temperature insulation is of proper thickness and installed in accordance
with specifications.
k. Insulation was dry when installed and protected from rain and moisture until
weather barrier was installed.
l. All insulation on vessels is properly supported.
m. Suitable insulation expansion joints are installed.
n. Weather protection is of type specified, installed in accordance with
specifications and recommendations, and dry thickness of mastic is of specified
o. All weather barriers are watertight, and projections and terminations are properly

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