Transformer Removal Notification, Valuation Determination, And Important Information

July 21, 2014

Transformers are good, solid, sturdy pieces of equipment that last a long time. But even the best tools wear out. Sooner or later a transformer has to be removed, either because it has failed, needs to be upgraded, or simply needs to be relocated.


When the time comes to remove a transformer, a transformer removal notification is sent out, notifying the relevant parties of the impending project. From there, available information is gathered and sent to vendors. For the best results, vendors need information that can help them give an accurate quote for the removal of the transformer and help ensure they deliver a compatible replacement.


One key piece of information is the value and condition of the transformer itself. There are 3 primary tiers of possible value:

  1. A late model transformer in good working condition
  2. A mid-to-late model transformer that has failed but is rebuildable
  3. Transformers that are not rebuildable, either because they are older, have unusable voltage, or because they’ve failed badly and cannot be rebuilt


Regardless of the value and condition of the transformer, there’s some key information that you’ll need to know before you proceed.


Late Model Working Transformer: For a transformer that’s still working, you’ll want to find the maintenance records and ensure that they’re up-to-date. This can tell you what work has previously been done on the transformer, and help you get a better picture of its total condition. You’ll also want a Dissolved Gas Analysis (DGA), which will tell you the condition of the transformer’s internal workings, including moisture, gassing issues, and if there have been any insulation breakdown. Finally, you’ll need to know the unit configuration and the tank condition. In both cases, pictures are the easiest way to convey the information, and when assessing tank condition, be sure to be on the lookout for bushing locations and possible rust.


Mid-to-Late Model Rebuildable Transformer: For a transformer that has failed but is still rebuildable, you won’t necessarily need maintenance records or a DGA, though you will still need to provide information on the unit configuration and the tank condition. Again, pictures are best. You’ll also want to provide as much information as possible on the nature of the failure. Be as thorough as you can in documenting it, the more information you can provide, the smoother everything will go.


Non-Rebuildable Transformer: Some transformers are unusable, either because they’re older, have unusable voltage, or because they’re too badly failed. These transformers can’t be rebuilt, and will simply have to be hauled off and disposed of properly. An example of an unusable transformer would be one that was badly damaged by fire. The most important information when dealing with these transformers is the condition that they’re currently in, especially if there are any safety risks that will be entailed in handling them.


An important source of information is the transformer nameplate. The nameplate contains all the essential information about the unit, such as the Primary and Secondary voltages, the weight of the unit including core and coil weight, tank and fittings weight, plus weight and gallons of oil. The date of manufacture (age) for the unit may be on the nameplate or can often be determined by the serial number.


Other information that might prove helpful no matter what kind of transformer you’re dealing with is the size of the transformer: Shipping dimensions, or if is it too large to ship, and how accessible it is. Remember that safety should always be your first priority. Only work with qualified, trained individuals, and always tailgate pre-work meetings to ensure that everybody is on the same page.