Transformers…what’s going on here? You thought they were filled with magic and smoke, but they’re not – they’re filled with candy and cigarettes! Actually, there’s a lot going on in there. Check it out.

Designed to convert current from one voltage to another, transformers are a pretty amazing piece of equipment. Without properly functioning transformers, the voltage in our power grid could fluctuate wildly, resulting in poor performance, tons of liability for the power company and loss of power. While transformers keep the current flowing nice and steady, they have pretty special requirements from a lubricants standpoint. Enter, Transformer oil.

Transformer oils have two primary functions. First, they act as as an insulator. If the electricity traveling through the inner workings of a transformer were to make it to the metal casing on the outside, you could have a problem. Transformer oil, being dielectric, doesn’t conduct electricity, so if the oil is clean and not contaminated, the insulating properties are very good.

Secondly, transformer oils cool the system. A very good conductor of heat, transformer oil carries heat from the core to the outer casing for dissipation. Able to withstand temperature extremes, these oils resist oxidation and deposit formation, which could lead to diminished performance of the fluid.

In the past, transformer oils were produced with polychlorinated biphenyls.. aka PCB’s. It became clear that PCB’s are toxic and can build up in the human body, so their use is no longer acceptable. If you’re looking into transformer oils, surely you’ll find statements indicating that the oils are now PCB free.