In this age of technological advancement, we click a button to send a message, turn a switch to cool our room and connect a plug to preserve our food. However, turning on our appliances and devices are not possible without electricity.
Power plants generate electricity from three primary sources — fossil fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable energy. Then, they transmit this energy over a long distance through power transmitters, which further distribute it to smaller transmitters that run your house’s electrical needs. The primary voltage, which ranges from 155kV-700kV, travels through different transmitters to supply your homes, which only need a limited voltage — 230V in Australia’s case.
So how did this kV of voltage become 230V at the end? Transformers made this possible.
Electric transformers regulate the amount of voltage in a transmission line. They increase the voltage from the power plant and send it to an intermediate transmitter, which also has a transformer. Then, the second transformer decreases the voltage before it distributes the power to smaller transmitters for residential use.
When you see a drum-like thing in electric utility poles, it is the transformer. Living near one poses a potential risk since it can blow and cause fires if not built and maintained well. These are the reasons why transformers explode and what to do when they blow:
Causes of Transformer Explosion and their Corresponding Prevention
When lightning strikes, it supplies the transmission line with an oversupply of voltage, which sometimes exceeds the maximum voltage capacity of the transformer leading to its explosion.
To prevent this, your power suppliers should temporarily cut off electricity whenever lightning occurs.
Corrosion of Materials
The materials inside the transformer and on its connection usually corrode that eventually leads to its damage and failure.
So, from installation, your power providers should use quality materials to meet the transformer’s expected lifespan. Furthermore, maintenance from electricians is also essential to keep the transformer in check for corrosion.
Electrical wiring faults
Damages in the wiring might increase the voltage that goes into the transformer, causing it to explode.
Whenever you are suspicious about the connection in your pole, never hesitate to call an electrician for immediate inspection and repair.
The lifespan of transformers ranges from 20 to 30 years. Out of date transformers are prone to electrical faults since their ability to regulate voltage deteriorates through time.
Upgrades are necessary, especially in this age, where technologies keep on advancing and demand more power.
Moisture in transformers refers to the water which the paper — a kind of insulation — absorbs or the transformer oil dissolves.
Too much moisture will reduce the lifespan of a transformer, so drying out is necessary. It involves heating the core of the transformer along with its coil assembly in an oven at a specific temperature.
What to do When an Electric Transformer Blows
There are cases when we cannot avoid accidents, so here are some steps to take if an electric transformer blows.
- Don’t panic. Check the location of the explosion and inform local authorities.
- Call for electricians. They are the only ones allowed to repair transformers and electrical wiring in utility poles.
- In case of fire, call the fire department to contain it as small as possible.
- Never go near the transformer or attempt repairs if you are not qualified.
- If possible, clear the surroundings. Make sure fire-prone materials are away from the incident.
- Power outages happen after the transformer blows, so make sure to ready emergency lights and devices.
- Be careful in using candles as they may add further harm by causing a fire accident.
Electrical transformers control the amount of voltage it transmits over a transmission line. But since it carries a high amount of power, it brings a possible risk that can affect lives and properties whenever it malfunctions. Thus, inspection and maintenance are necessary. In case of an explosion, never approach the transformer and call an electrician immediately.
Here at Gordon Powers, we can maintain and repair transformers to avoid probable damage in your community. Don’t hesitate to call us at (02) 9199 7480 or book an appointment now and get a $50 discount.