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Air Conditioning 101: What Does an AC Transformer Do?

Aircon Parts

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Air conditioning units have numerous components and parts that most individuals don't see or think about. These parts, which operate in the background of the air conditioning system, perform essential tasks for the HVAC unit such as regulating airflow, minimizing noise, and balancing electrical flow. The AC transformer is one of these components.

What is an AC Transformer?

An air conditioner transformer, not to be confused with an alternating current transformer, is an electrical device used for galvanic isolation, where two or more circuits in an air conditioner may share the same conductor, but not necessarily the same electrical flow.

The AC transformer is used to regulate the power supply going through the different components of the air conditioning system. Some aircon parts, such as the controllers, operate at a low voltage setting, while other parts such as the compressor and fans operate at a much higher voltage setting. Transformers ensure adequate power supply to these parts.

The transformer is often located along the furnace unit of an HVAC system, and connects directly to the thermostat. This component keeps the HVAC unit steady in terms of electricity usage, and prevents overpowering low voltage components.

The Importance of an AC Transformer

Transformers are important to the electricity usage of an HVAC system. This component ensures that certain parts of the HVAC unit operate with enough voltage to run properly, while limiting the power supply to low voltage parts to prevent blowing a fuse, overheating, and damaging the unit.

The transformer essentially delivers the right voltage to the different electrical parts of the HVAC unit, even if the components are connected to the same circuit board. The transmission of energy across different voltages is important in all HVAC systems, and the transformer works behind the scenes to keep the system operating smoothly.

Diagnosing a Faulty AC Transformer

AC transformers can break down and fail over time. They may get leakage inductance, core loss, or hysteresis loss depending on the usage and damages on the component. When this happens, your AC system can no longer regulate the voltage that goes to the different parts, which can severely affect the condition of your system.

It is important to know the symptoms and key indicators that tell of a problem with your AC transformer. Because this electrical device works in the background, its symptoms can often be ignored or mistaken as a problem with a different component. Here are three main symptoms of a failing or failed transformer:

#1 Humming or Buzzing Noise

There are many symptoms for a blown transformer, and not all are immediately recognizable by inexperienced individuals. One of the major symptoms of a failing or failed transformer is a loud humming or buzzing noise produced by a vibrating iron core. However, other electrical components, like the capacitor, can also create a buzzing noise.

To find out whether it is the AC transformer or other air conditioner components creating the sound, contact one of our licensed technicians at Luce Aircon. We have decades of experience with various brands and models of air conditioners, so you know we'll be able to find and fix the problem!

#2 Voltage Spike

A sudden voltage spike in your AC unit is a clear symptom of a problem with the transformer. Although difficult to diagnose based on symptoms alone, a transformer that can no longer regulate energy flowing around the system will most definitely cause a voltage spike, or provide inadequate power to high voltage components.

A knowledgeable HVAC technician should be able to diagnose the problem, and use a meter to get a voltage reading from the AC system. Irregular or abnormal voltage readings may indicate a problem with the transformer.

#3 Increase in Energy Bills

Along with the spike in voltage is a spike in energy bills. A failed transformer can no longer regulate energy flow, and is providing a maximum supply of energy to the different AC components. This will cause a sudden increase in energy bills.

AC Transformer Maintenance

The best way to maintain your AC transformer is to schedule a bi-annual cleaning and maintenance checkup with our HVAC technicians. This will prevent dust and debris from damaging your unit, and our technicians will be able to check for weak points, faults, and failures within the AC system before they become bigger problems.

Keep your AC unit cool and comfortable, and send us a message to schedule your next HVAC cleaning, maintenance or checkup! 

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Staff Writer

This article is written by our passionate staff writers who seek to share our knowledge from our business

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