A power transformer is an electrical device used to transfer electrical energy in any electrical circuit part between a generator and its primary distribution circuits. It is commonly designed to step voltage up or down. In essence, power transformers are essential in power systems, as they help enhance the safety and efficiency of these systems by raising and reducing voltage levels when necessary. As with electric motor rewinds, transformer rewinding is essential to produce the power that you need and ensure that it runs smoothly and effectively.
However, as with any other device, power transformers also have their risks. Although their likelihood is relatively low, there are instances when a power transformer may explode and burn. These explosions and burns often lead to property damage, injuries, and deaths. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid them as much as possible. Below are some of the most critical information that you should know about transformer explosions and burns.
Common Causes of a Transformer Explosion
Accidents and faulty mechanisms are the most common reasons behind explosions and burns of power transformers. These transformers are responsible for transferring energy between various circuits while switching energy from one voltage to another. When an accident or faulty mechanism occurs, a sudden surge in voltage levels can flood the transformer with too much electricity, resulting in an explosion.
Here are some of the common causes of faults and failures in a power transformer that can lead to an explosion or burn:
- Lightning Strike
A lightning strike from a storm often can damage the wiring and equipment of the power transformer. When such damage occurs, two things may result – an overload in the electricity supply that flows into the transformer or the overheating of insulation fluid beyond its fire point. Extreme weather conditions like strong winds and rains can also cause trees to fall on the transformer and cause an explosion.
- Electrical Failure
Like any other electrical device, power transformers are vulnerable to failures. These electrical failures can be caused by several factors, including poor insulation, over-voltage, static electrification, partial discharges, or power surges. When an electrical failure is detected, immediately engaging a power transformer rewinding service may be necessary to prevent further damage and possible explosion.
- Mechanical Failure
Aside from electrical failures, mechanical failures in power transformers can also lead to explosions and burns. A mechanical failure can be caused by hoop buckling, conductor telescoping, or conductor tipping. These mechanical failures happen when you do not maintain your generators and can be easily prevented with regular maintenance. Just as the generator requires generator overhauling from time to time, the power transformer needs to be inspected and maintained now and then.
What to Do When a Transformer Explodes
As mentioned, the explosion and burn of a power transformer can result in property damage, injuries, and deaths. Transformer explosions are severe incidents that can lead to massive damage. For this reason, knowing what to do after a power transformer explodes is extremely necessary. Here are the essential measures that you should follow after a transformer explosion:
- Do not approach the power transformer
This is the most important thing to remember when a power transformer blows. Failed power transformers can create various hazards, so keeping your distance from them is imperative, especially if you are not certified to handle these accidents. What you should do instead is to report the explosion immediately to the proper personnel to prevent more damage and assess other risks.
- Seek the help of a professional
When a power transformer explodes, it interrupts the electricity service to any facilities or buildings connected to the transformer. A certified professional should replace the destroyed hardware of the transformer right away to avoid further damage and injury.
This can be done by first shutting down any incoming electrical line and shutting off other electrical services in the immediate area so that the electrical grid will not experience stress while the replacement is being done. All of these should be conducted by a professional electrical engineer. Hiring a specialist for these repairs and replacements is crucial to ensuring that your electrical device will no longer be subjected to the same risks.
Ultimately, knowing what typically causes power transformers to blow and burn is essential to avoid these types of incidents as much as possible. On the other hand, knowing the necessary steps following a transformer explosion is vital to prevent further damage and injury. Transformer explosions are essentially severe incidents that can result in staggering adverse outcomes. Hence, being knowledgeable about them is undoubtedly a must.