Steam traps are necessary for the overall efficiency of heat energy transfer. When traps fail, they waste money, they create back pressure in the steam system, and they cause process failures or quality issues with the end product. Traps that are closed can create damaging water hammer, line freezing, and possible rupture. When one part of a system does not function properly, other parts of the system are forced to “pick up the slack”. Added strain to the rest of the system will expedite future failures, and an eventual breakdown of the system. Frequent ultrasound inspection of steam traps must be a part of regularly planned maintenance.
Tip from "Hear More - A Guide to Using Ultrasound for Leak Detection and Condition Monitoring" by Thomas J. Murphy and Allan A. Rienstra