Coping with a Blown Transformer | Navigating the Darkness

Oct 19, 2023

Transformers are essential electrical components of our electrical grid. A transformer is an electrical device that transfers electrical energy from one alternating circuit to two or more circuits using electromagnetic induction. These devices either increase or decrease the voltage between circuits. 

Electrical transformer boxes play a crucial role in distributing electricity to our homes. These boxes are strategically placed to serve a specific number of homes. 

Blown transformers can lead to power outages, equipment damage, and other safety hazards. The most common causes of blown transformers are lightning strikes, power surges, overloads, wear and tear, and moisture. 


Common Causes of Blown Transformers:

  1. Lightning strikes: When lightning strikes a transformer, the extra voltage will exceed the transformer’s capacity. 
  2. Power surges: Power surges can strain a transformer’s insulation greatly and lead to overheating, failure, and a blown transformer. 
  3. Overloads: When the demand on the transformer exceeds its capacity, overloading occurs, causing excessive heat and mechanical stress, resulting in a blown transformer. 
  4. Wear and tear: Transformers typically last about 20-30 years, and over time, internal components such as insulation and wiring can deteriorate, causing a failure or blown transformer. 
  5. Moisture: Water and electricity do not mix. When moisture gets into a transformer box, short circuits, overheating, and the blowing of the transformer can all occur. 

If a transformer blows near you, you may hear a loud pop or boom sound and find yourself left in the dark, but do not worry; utility companies always have contingency plans to address emergency transformer failures. 

After a transformer blows, there are a few simple steps to take during a power outage to navigate the darkness and stay safe. 


Steps to Take:

  1. Stay inside to ensure you are at a safe distance from the blown transformer–failed transformers can cause various issues and hazards, so make sure never to approach a transformer you suspect to have failed. 
  2. If you can see visible damage or fire on, or near, the transformer, make sure to call 911 to report the incident.
  3. Contact BC Hydro to inform them of the blown transformer and power outage. 
  4. Use flashlights instead of candles for light to reduce the risk of fire. 
  5. Ensure you keep your fridge and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep the temperature from rising. 
  6. Unplug electronic devices to protect them from a power surge once the electricity is restored. 
  7. When it is safe to do so, check on your neighbours, especially those who are elderly or need extra assistance. 
  8. Follow the instructions from BC Hydro on what to do, where to go, and what to expect. 

All in all, dealing with a blown transformer can be stressful and scary. If you ever experience this, it’s important to stay away from the transformer and contact the appropriate local services to report it so that they can deal with it. In the event of an outage, stay safe by following the steps we shared above. 

With over 60 years of combined experience, our team can guide and support you with all of your electrical needs. Contact us today!


Get a Free Estimate

If you are looking to contact an Electrician in the Lower Mainland then please call 604-946-8946 or complete our online request form.

Call Today