Oil leaking out of pole transformer

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wrote:

Hate to tell you this but the EPA will not come out any time soon. They might contact the utility and ask the person in charge of such matters, if your lucky.
Most of the pole mounted transformers with PCB's are long gone. The cost to get rid of them in the 90's was,,,,, reasonable. Now days it is more expensive and harder to do. The utilities risk management folks long ago decided the cost for replacement or mitigation was far less than the press and the law suits.
Call the utility like a good neighbor and ask for someone to come out and verify with you that there is not a danger. Be willing to meet them half way on the appointment time and date.
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Perhaps, but not the interval. Someone has to determine ASAP if there are PCBs involved. If the EPA won't help or the utility co. drags their feet, then have a private lab analyze it if only for peace of mind.
Sue(tm) Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
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With or without the possible PCB dangers and mess, when the oil level get's low enough, that transformer is going to fail... spectacularly more than likely.
My understanding is they use the thermo cycle system to circulate their coolant oil (much like the old Ford Model T cooling system). I don't think one would have to be very low on oil to stop circulation.
Erik
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Depending on the manufacture, some can loose close to a 1/3 before they go nuclear. As long as the core connections are not exposed most will run low for a long time.
Unless this pole pig has fins on the tank it does not use the oil as cooling like you describe. If it does have fins I will guarantee that there are no PCB's. The finned models are relatively new and would have been produced after the ban on PCB's.
The silicone oil used by some transformer companies has its own set of hazards. A lot of manufactures went back to a hybrid mineral oil.
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You said: "they use the thermo cycle system to circulate thei coolant"
How does that work ? I'm too young to know how a Model T worked.
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Think it's called it a "thermosyphon' system too. The 'T' was also way before my time, but here goes...
The transformer is in a big can, with outlets at the top, and inlets at the bottom leading out to heat exchangers. There are no valves or pumps of any kind.
The whole assembly is filled... in the case of the transformers, with oil.
The transformer heats the oil around it, making it a little less dense.
The warm oil rises in the can and goes out the upper outlets into the heat exchangers. Oil leaving the can is replaced by cool denser oil entering the can's bottom from the heat exchangers. The cycle continues as long as there is heat being produced by the transformer.
Circulation is slow at best, and not horribly efficient, but cheap and reliable as long as the system remains upright, and full of coolant (oil).
I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if some larger transformers include circulation pumps.
The Model T (or most versions of it if I'm not mistaken) worked much the same way. Water picked up heat in the block, and rose out to the top of the heat exchanger (radiator in this case), and was replaced from below by cool water out the bottom of the radiator. It did have a belt driven fan pulling air through the radiator, but no water pump.
I think aftermarket waterpumps were a popular modification, and possibly even factory installed in later 'T' versions. I'm sure some old car buff's in the group can fill in the holes...
Erik
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wrote:

I work around transformers daily. I have not seen a transformer in the last 10 years that did not have the cute little tag telling you it was either PCB free or PCB's have been removed. Yep I check every one.
Oil analysis is a tricky thing. You need a clean oil sample not something sopped up from the ground. Someone is going to be paying upwards of $100 for the test. Surely your not advocating climbing the pole and taking a sample? Or are you?
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OP has stuff leaking into his house. Take that for analysis. No pole climbing necessary!
Anyway, PCB analysis can be done on soil samples; it doesn't have to be clean oil.
Sue(tm) Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
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wrote:

This is Turtle.
if you want to check it for PCB stuff. The Power company when they were getting rid of the transformer with PCB in them. When they changed them out or determined that it did not have PCB in it. They would put a big sticker across the side of it saying NON-PCB . if it does not have the sticker it could still have PCB in it.
check it out.
TURTLE
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