Without the vacuum pump, though, you’re forced to run higher-than-normal pressure.

Steam is distributed via pipes to steam radiators, and hot water can be distributed via baseboard radiators or radiant floor systems, or can heat air via a coil.

Boilers heat water, and provide either hot water or steam for heating.

Steam systems are wide open to the atmosphere and constantly corroding.

That corrosion works its way down into the boiler, making the water line bounce and surge—leading to water-level problems and equipment failure.

Furnaces heat air and distribute the heated air through the house using ducts.

Steam boilers operate at a higher temperature than hot water boilers, and are inherently less efficient, but high-efficiency versions of all types of furnaces and boilers are currently available.

If you try to get by with just one big trap at the inlet to the condensate or boiler feed pump, you’ll have a building that never heats well.

Most buildings will heat beautifully with no more than 2 psi steam pressure—based on pipe size, not building size.

If there’s a vacuum pump and it’s broken, we can help. That leads to “wire-drawing” (erosion of the metal seat) and premature death.

Domestic Pump makes a fine line of vacuum pumps, and our rep will be glad to accompany you to that problem job. If you’re not sure of the size, call your Mc Donnell & Miller/Hoffman Specialty rep.

If you want your steam traps to last longer, ask your counterman about Hoffman Specialty Bear Traps. Steam traps belong on every two-pipe system that has dry returns, and on any system that has a condensate or boiler feed pump.