Distribution entails the routing of steam from its origin to (and within) buildings served by a steam loop. Distribution utilizes pressure differentials as steam branches into buildings and away from distribution mains. This in turn depends on the use of pressure regulating valves, meters, steam traps, insulation and interconnecting pipes. Leaks are an unavoidable consequence of utilizing such hardware, but their frequency and impact can be minimized through equipment standardization and maintenance routines.
End-Use involves transferring the latent heat of the steam to interior spaces and into application such as cooking, laundry, and sterilization. Invariably, these tasks are complicated several times over in an institutional environment. One dimension is the disparate heating demand coming from the many rooms and buildings served by on steam system. Well planned routine heat loss prevention, and dedicated maintenance enable such a system to work effectively.
Recovery stages of steam operations involve the recapture of heat present in the condensate as well as treatment of combustion gases. Condensation discharge is a normal consequence of a complicated distribution system. Proper design and maintenance however maximizes usable heat as a proportion to boiler output. The optimization and recovery of thermal resources, including combustion heat, distribution surplus, and end-use optimization, all serve as a means for reducing expenditures on fuel and other steam inputs.