Friday, June 14, 2024

How to Know if Your Transformer is Built to Last

Transformers are an essential piece of equipment that perform an important function. By using electromagnetic induction, they alter the AC voltage that comes directly from the power plant by converting it into a different voltage and then redistributing it to a building. This is a critical part of electrical infrastructure, and without it, modern buildings wouldn’t have usable electricity.

Since transformers are a requirement to power a building, it’s crucial that you buy a unit that is built to last. If your transformer goes down for unexpected maintenance or explodes, whoever is using the building won’t have power until it’s fixed.

Here are some tips to ensure your transformer is built to last.

  1. Make sure your windings are made from copper

When you have a dry-type transformer, it’s either going to be wound with aluminum or copper material. Aluminum is cheaper, but copper is a better conductor since aluminum only has 62% of the electrical conductivity of copper.

Better conductivity is just one reason why high-quality transformers are wound with copper over aluminum. Other reasons include:

  • Copper windings are easier to install, which means the transformer can be hand-wound, which results in a longer lifespan.
  • Copper protects better against fault current stresses.
  • Copper lasts longer than aluminum.
  • Aluminum is corrosive, which can lead to a fire; copper is not corrosive.
  • Aluminum can oxidize, creating excessive contact resistance, which can burn out the transformer.

Copper provides more long-term reliability for transformers than aluminum, so if possible, make sure your unit is made with copper.

  1. Buy your transformer from an industry leader

When you buy a transformer from a reputable manufacturer who is a leader in the industry, you don’t have to worry about getting a poor-quality unit. If you somehow end up with a defective unit, it will be a fluke, and a good company will replace it under their warranty.

  1. Get a strong warranty

When shopping around for a transformer, you might notice that most general companies only offer warranties that cover the first year. Sometimes, that’s because those companies expect their transformers to start failing after the one-year mark.

Search for a manufacturer that offers a better warranty. Three to five years is more than sufficient. If you properly install your unit and make sure it has good airflow, you may not need to have any maintenance or repairs performed within those five years. When you find a company with a longer warranty, you know they stand behind their transformers and that’s a good sign.

  1. Check the manufacturer’s reputation

As with any large purchase, it’s crucial to investigate the manufacturer’s reputation before purchasing a transformer. Whether you’re spending several thousand dollars or tens of thousands of dollars, make sure you’re getting a unit that comes from a reputable company.

Craftsmanship matters where transformers are concerned, so researching reputations is a must. It’s too large of an expense to skip this step. Always do your research to find out what customers have to say about the transformers they’ve purchased, how often they need maintenance and repairs, and also check to see how frequently they catch fire or explode. If you see a pattern where trouble starts to brew at regular intervals, that’s probably a sign of poor craftsmanship.

You’ll probably need to pay more for a high-quality transformer, but it’s worth the investment up front because you won’t have so many expenses and repairs on the back end.

  1. Look for top of the line insulation

Transformers can be insulated with a variety of materials, including mineral oil, glass, mica, asbestos, resins, and ceramics. However, the best dry-type transformers are made with Nomex 410 – a popular Class 220 insulation material that can withstand high heat for long periods of time. This insulation is superior to other materials. If you want to know if your transformer is built to withstand the potential for catching fire, if it’s insulated with Nomex 410, it’s automatically going to be less of a fire risk than other units.

Don’t risk failure by going cheap

The saying that you get what you pay for is true, and if you buy a cheap transformer, you’re going to have problems and possibly premature failure. Don’t take that risk. Do your research and buy a high-quality transformer so you don’t have to deal with failures, fires, and a string of unexpected, expensive repairs.

Teodora Torrendo
Teodora Torrendo
Teodora Torrendo is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.

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