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A transformer has no moving parts, so why does it make a humming sound?

There are actually multiple causes of transformer noise. The main one is the Magnetostriction Effect. This is when the current that flows through the transformer’s coils creates a magnetic field. The magnetic field then changes the dimensions of the transformer’s iron core. The core expands and contracts with the alternating current, which causes a humming sound.

As the transformer ages, the layers within the core of the transformer begin to break apart and separate from one another. This causes the vibrations to get louder.


How can you lower the volume?

  •         Unfortunately, you won’t be able to completely eliminate the sound your transformer makes, but you can minimize it. The most obvious way is to have your transformer installed in a low traffic area where it won’t annoy the people working for you.
  •         Install the unit on a solid surface of reinforced concrete which weighs at least 10 times as much as the transformer. Avoid mounting it in the corner, stairwell, or narrow corridor of your structure. These areas reflect and amplify noise.
  •         Try to have a 10-foot clearance on all sides of the transformer (except the ground).
  •         Tighten any loose bolts or screws which will add to the vibration if left loose. Also, mounting bolts for vibration dampeners should be removed after installation.
  •         Use noise dampening material such as acoustic tile to cover the walls of the transformer room. Oil barriers and cushion padding can help to insulate the transformer’s noise from the people working in the area.

Fan Noise

Fans are used to remove heat from the transformer. These fans add to the noise level. The more fans you use, the louder the noise will be. Other factors that affect the noise level are tip speed, blade design, and the arrangement of the radiators.

Are you having transformer issues, or any other electrical needs? Contact Landmark Electric today!