Why Do Electrical Transformers Make Noise?

Electrical transformers are often a commonplace sight in many residential or commercial areas. They work to either increase or reduce a current for an electrical circuit, or convert alternating currents to direct currents for use. Nevertheless, these electrical machines are often known to create an electric hum, which can often be somewhat of a disturbance to others. Despite there being no actual moving parts in the transformer, there are still noises caused by the transformer’s functions.


This is due to a process that is called the “magnetostriction effect”. This describes a situation in which a material that has either become permanently magnetic or is attracted to magnets morphs in shape or dimension within a magnetic field. As electric transformers often house an iron core, which is ferromagnetic, the core begins to morph within the transformer’s magnetic field, thus causing the buzzing or humming noise. Although the effect cannot be removed or fully prevented, there does exist various methods in which one can reduce or dampen the noise.

One obvious, though often difficult, method is to build the transformer in a location in which there are not many buildings or people around. If this is unachievable, putting as much space as possible between the transformer and the closest building can help. Keeping the transformer away from being kept tight between buildings and structures is important as the reflection of noise within tighter spaces can increase the transformer’s noise pollution.

Another method that can be used to reduce noise is through a solid and thorough installation of the transformer. This may include either building the transformer on materials such as concrete, or ensuring that each fastener of the transformer has been tightened with correct torque as to avoid loose vibrating components.

Other notable methods to attempt to reduce the noise of transformers is by utilizing various materials or paddings. Through noise absorbing materials and padding, some soundproofing or acoustic insulation can be achieved. These materials can often be installed in locations such as on the walls, structural frames, or within the transformer itself to dampen the noise produced.

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