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How Long Does It Take to Fix a Transformer?

Most repairs to fix a transformer will take between one and several hours. Extensive damage from storms or natural disasters can take up to several days.

Two men in work boots, bright orange long-sleeved shirts, white hard hats and tool belts up working on power line

When a blown transformer causes a power outage,  the first question everyone wants an answer to is how long it will take before electricity is back up and running.   Our guide will get you out of the dark and walk you through how long it takes to fix a transformer, the source of electricity to your home.

Many variables determine how long it takes to fix a transformer, including the type and severity of damage and the weather conditions. The average time to fix a transformer is between one hour to several hours. But, if there is severe or widespread damage, it can be up to several days or longer. 

If the lights suddenly flicker and go out, and you find yourself in the dark, the only thing that seems important is finding out when the power will be back on. The electricity coming into your house is dependent on the transformer, which converts electricity into a lower voltage power source that is safe for use in your home. If the transformer blows, how long will it take to fix it?

If the transformer has blown and you are waiting for repairs, rest assured that electrical crews are on standby to correct it as soon as possible. Keep reading if you want to learn more about how long it will take to fix the transformer! 

When Will the Transfomer be Fixed?

Nothing is more frustrating than wondering how long it will take to get the electricity back on in your house. Most transformers require a fast and straightforward fix; however, there are times when it will take much longer. There is no exact time known for how long it will take to fix your transformer; many common transformer repairs will be complete in as little as a couple of hours. However, many variables will affect how long it will take to repair a transformer. In worst-case scenarios, it might take up to several days. 

Most transformer issues are due to overheating, and the length of time it takes to make repairs depends on the source of the problem. A transformer uses mineral oil to keep it cool and prevent overheating. If something makes it overheat, it can cause the transformer to need repairs or replacement. Often, this overheating will cause the transformer to “blow,” and you might hear a loud boom and see smoke or a flash of light. 

Transformers go out for a variety of different reasons. There is no exact time guideline for how quickly the electric company can make each repair. However, knowing why the transformer went out in the first place helps estimate how long the repairs will take. 

Blue sky, transformer with bird flying around

Sometimes wildlife will build a nest on top of the transformer, causing it to overheat. Other times a squirrel or other small creature might find its way into the transformer box. In this case, the repair is usually minor. The repair crew can have the transformer working again in a short amount of time. 

Generally, if the repairs to the transformer are more complex, it will require more time. For example, if a  car accident knocks down an electrical pole or a tree lies on top of a powerline, many more steps will be involved in repairing the transformer. First, the pole will need to be replaced, or the tree will need to be removed, and this part of the process can take at least a couple of hours. Complicated and severe damage will always require more time to fix a transformer.

Storm rubble, fallen trees, fallen power line

Once these repairs are complete, work can begin on fixing the transformer. If the transformer was not severely damaged, it might take as little as an hour to repair, but extensive damage may take longer. Most repairs can be completed within several hours or less.  

The Power Company has special crews prepared and on standby to handle all types of transformer repairs. Once they have access to the transformer, they will assess the damage and report back to the electric company how long they think the repairs will take. 

Black, yellow and white power outages warning sign

Larger electric and power companies will have an outage map available on their websites. This map will show the Estimated Restoration Time, or ERT, and is updated as the electrical crews continue work on the transformer. If you are without power and unable to check the website, you can always call the power company for updates and ERT. They will often have an automatic recording that updates the status, and you can check back to learn how the progress is going.  

Lots of large green trees, city power work truck and city workers in the background, fallen power pole in the street

Another factor determining how much time it will take to fix the transformer is how fast and easily the crew can get to it. Electric trucks are not considered emergency vehicles and will face the same traffic issues you do. Often there are traffic jams, or an accident has the roads shut down. In this case, it will take the electric company longer to reach the broken transformer’s destination. 

How Long Does it Take to Fix a Transformer Damaged by the Weather?

Night blue sky, Large power lines in city, a huge bolt of lightning lighting up the sky, striking power lines

The most common cause of a blown transformer is lightning and bad weather. If lightning strikes the transformer or wiring, it can immediately cause overheating inside the transformer, causing it to blow. During storms, high winds can cause trees or debris to fall onto the power lines and result in overheating. Freezing rain and ice can also be a problem for transformers. 

The time it takes an electric crew to fix the transformer will depend on how quickly the storm subsides. Electric Crews have to wait for the lightning and dangerous weather conditions to pass before it is safe for them to do the work. All fallen trees and debris on the power line will need clearing before work can begin on the transformer. Any power lines knocked down will also have to be put back in place before transformer work can begin. 

Most electric companies will have crews on standby during lousy weather. When it is safe, they will first assess the damage. If it is an easy fix, it might be just an hour or two to repair the transformer, but if there is more damage from the storm, it may require other issues to be addressed and taken care of first. This can delay the time it takes to fix the transformer and vary with every situation.

Sometimes, more than one transformer will be damaged in severe weather and need repair. Depending on how many transformers are out and how much damage there is, it can take up to several days to restore the transformers. Often, electrical crews will travel in from other cities to help make the repairs.   Usually, the priority is to repair the transformers that will get the power restored to most homes in the shortest and safest time frame.

What Should I Do While Waiting for the Transformer to be Fixed?

Power outages and blown transformers can cause many hazards. Keeping yourself and your family and pets safe is the most important thing. Transformers and power lines can be hazardous, so never approach them and stay far away.

Hazy day, large winter tree fallen on black power lines

If a transformer has failed and the power goes out,  you should call your local power company. Usually, they will already know about the power outage. However, the more information they have, the easier it is to assess the issue and get the transformer repaired. For example, you might see a tree on the power line from your window and immediately report it to the power company. Quickly having this information will allow the power company to send out the proper crews to get the power back up and running as soon as possible.

In Conclusion:

Hazy day, a man in white hard hat and sunglasses fixing a transformer

It is always frustrating when the power goes out. Minutes can feel like hours, but hang in there! The electric crews are working hard to make the repairs as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Many factors determine how long it will take to fix the transformer.  Often some problems are out of the power company’s control and need to be addressed first. 

It’s not easy being patient when the power is out, but most repairs will only take between a few hours at most.