Squirrels are famous for their speed and tendency to climb trees and walk on the electric wires connected to transformers and houses.
Can a Squirrel Cause a Transformer to Blow? Squirrels can cause the transformers to blow because they connect the live wires and other transmission wires, causing short circuits and power outages. According to research, squirrels cause more than 5-10% of power outages annually in different states.
These little rodents can disturb the power connections in many houses if trapped or touch the electrical wires. You often see them chewing these wires because they have sharp teeth, and chewing the wires and strong objects makes their teeth sharper.
How can a squirrel cause a transformer to blow?
Squirrels can travel on the electrical wires and reach the transformer, where they cause immense disruption and even an electrical blast.
They can cause the live wires to make contact, which is dangerous and leads the transformer to blow. It has a live wire coming out from its top, and it causes the fuse to blow if the squirrels step on this live wire.
This is because the current runs into the tank cover, as the primary line with high voltage connects to the transformer and increases the current.
They can also cause the live wire and ground wire to connect, which causes the circuit to break down or the fuse to blow, and set the wires on fire if the voltage is too high.
They can cause power outage problems if you live in an area with high trees, exposed overhead wires, and many squirrels roaming around or climbing trees.
These little rodents cause power outage problems in different states, such as a report showing that these animals can cut the power supply of thousands of homes.
They use the wires as a source of transportation to travel from one tree to another, but this travel can cause many problems for the people living in this area.
Different residents reported transformer damage and power outages due to these rodents, as more than 10,000 people in Virginia recently faced darkness in their homes due to squirrels.
The light cuts off for several hours if these animals get stuck between the transformer and the circuit breaker. The electricity can come back soon if the rodent falls off the ground after causing short-circuit, which can be repaired shortly.
I live near the mountains outside the main city where the electrical wires are exposed. There are many squirrels in this area, and they caused severe electrical damage to the power supply a few days ago.
A rodent got into the transformer can and caused a blow and a power outage for 20-24 hours. More than 12,000 people were affected by this damage, and it caused an expensive repair of approximately thousands of dollars.
Can a squirrel survive after blowing a transformer?
It is difficult for squirrels to survive after causing a blow in the transformer.
The blow causes the rodent to die instantly and burn into ashes. For example, its body moisture and furs turn into the matter state plasma, which causes electricity to pass through it.
The high voltage causes the fuse to blow and disrupt the power supply in different areas connected to this device. Severe blows where rodents are present near the blast lead to death, and there is no way to get out safely from such places.
How do to keep squirrels out of the transformer?
Professional electricians suggest different solutions to prevent power outages and transformer blows because of birds, squirrels, and other rodents. Some methods to keep rodents away from such electrical devices are listed here.
Pole wrap or line guard
Pole wrap is an insulating wrapping around the electrical wires and poles to prevent rodents and other animals from damaging the power supply.
Electricians overlap the pole wrap as an insulating barrier, which offers better insulating coverage and reduces the electrocution risk during repairing short circuits.
A line guard is an excellent power line guard which protects the transmission lines from rodents and other critters. They reduce the chances of power lines compressions, bending, and abrasions and prevent rodents from traveling on the power lines as a shortcut.
Transformer bushing or animal protection covers
Transformer bushing covers are used to prevent accidental animals or squirrels contact with the energized equipment and are installed on the pole top.
The covers are made using silicone and dielectric materials, which do not allow the rodent to accidentally touch the wires and cause power outages or blow.
Animal protection covers are also designed for this purpose because, according to a report, more than 5-10% of annual power outages are due to animals. They protect the electrical equipment without affecting its performance.
Insulating the wires
You can insulate the wires because the rodents can cause the wires to come in contact that is not supposed to touch each other, leading to severe consequences.
Electricians apply wire enamels around the motor, generator, and flat wires connecting different circuits inside and outside the transformer.
You can also use cellulose, paperboard, and tapes because these insulating materials have a low dielectric loss and prevent power outbreaks in devices.
Fences around the transformer
Fencing is essential to avoid accidental contact of a person or squirrels with high-voltage electrical equipment.
Different materials are used to create a fence around the device, such as fiberglass fence, which is non-conducting protection around it and prevents rodents from entering and damaging the wires and circuits.
PVC fences are also used and installed by skilled professionals to minimize power outages, and transformer blows; however, the process can be expensive but is safer to avoid accidents.
Why do squirrels not get electrocuted on the power line?
Squirrels usually do not get electrocuted on power lines, as they travel through these wires and walk to cover long distances in a short time.
They do not get electric shocks until they chew the wires and connect the live and ground wires together, which can damage them and the power supply.
Electricity prefers to go through a less resistive path between two points unless a non-conducting material stops the current flow.
Therefore, the current travel through the wires as usual instead of going through the rodents because they do not provide an easier or less resistive way to flow current from one end to another.
The electricity stays in the wires because the rodents do not come in contact with the ground or the ground wires, which causes them not to be electrocuted while walking, sitting, and traveling through the wires.