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How to Choose Between a Wye and Tee Strainer

By: Chris Pasquali; CEO Factory Direct Pipeline Products, Inc.

Simplex Strainer Article

 

Wye ('Y') and Tee ('T') strainers have many similarities, so how does one decide which style is the best fit for an application?

 

Similarities

Y and T strainers are both simplex style pipeline strainers designed for batch applications with a light particle load; to clean the internal screen requires interrupting the process flow.

Cast Y strainer 
Cast Y Strainer

Y Strainers

Although commonly used for liquid applications, Y strainers were initially designed for steam, air and other inert gases to protect downstream equipment from a "particulate upset condition" such as protecting steam condensers from rogue pipe scale. Y strainers have a blow-down port for steam applications and this flushing capability is a characteristic that T strainers do not have. While blow-down may work for aqueous applications, the efficiency of flushing depends upon the particles retained not becoming embedded within the element.

Although it is possible to fabricate Y strainers to satisfy specific applications, the majority of Y strainers are cast items, thus non-customizable. It is common for Y strainers to be available in 1/4" through 10" sizes and because they are a cast item manufactured in foundry-pour based quantities, shipment is often made within just a day or two after receipt of an order. The available pressure class ranges and breadth of materials of construction (iron, steel, bronze, and 316SS) are also advantages of Y strainers.

The open area ratio (OAR) for Y strainers is typically a little better than T strainers; most of our Y strainers have a 3:1 OAR wheras the larger size T strainers have an OAR of ≤ 2.

Y strainers have a screwed or bolted chamber cover for screen access and are installed such that when opened the process fluid will fall/drain out.

T strainers

T strainer 
T strainer design
T strainers are mostly a custom fabricated product, often manufactured from pipe. The advantage of a fabricated product is the ability to provide customized features, such as a quick-opening style cover, addition of a vent port or adding differential pressure taps. It is also possible to off-set the inlet and outlet by 90 degrees, forming an "elbow" shaped strainer which might be desirable when the installation area is constrained.

T strainers usually begin at larger sizes (2") and can be fabricated for 24" or larger pipelines. As a fabricated product, the lead times range from 8-12+ weeks (inclusive of generating approval drawings and manufacturing).

While the OAR for a T strainer is typically less than a comparable size Y strainer, its' flow capacity is higher. This is attributable to the flow path within a T strainer having a "straight-through" design as well as the convoluted element shape.

When installed horizontally, the chamber cover of a T strainer can be opened without the process fluid draining from the chamber; this might be a desirable feature with valuable or hazardous process fluids.

Summary

Y strainers typically offer the best value in terms of initial cost, lead time and overall flexibility which include materials of construction, pressure class, and inherent built-in blow-down port/drain.

T strainers are used when transferring fluids at higher velocities (equates to higher flow rates), for larger pipelines, applications that require special features and for quicker access to the straining element.

Chris Pasquali has been trained by Hayward Flow Control and Eaton Hydraulics Filtration Division, having provided sales and engineering support for these companies since 2001.