Pole- Vs. Pad-Mounted Transformers

Posted on: 22 May 2017

When planning the electrical supply layout for a new neighborhood, you have to be careful about where you place transformers because you don't want them to cause trouble -- or to be the target of trouble. Both work well, but each work better under certain circumstances.

Birds are an Issue for Both

Birds and their nests and droppings are a problem for both types. If you install pole-mounted transformers, ensure you've configured and covered the wiring so that birds can't build nests there. If you have pad-mounted transformers, be sure the surfaces of the boxes are kept clean and that droppings aren't allowed to build up.

Landscaping, Traffic, and Accessibility Issues

Pad-mounted boxes do not get along with landscaping. Or rather, they don't get along with landscaping that's been neglected. If you're going to install a pad-mounted transformer, ensure that the landscaping near it is going to be kept well under control. Also note that the pad-mounted boxes can be an issue in areas with narrow sidewalks or where there isn't a lot of room for the boxes off of the sidewalks. Pole-mounted transformers move the wiring way up out of the way of those problems.

Kids and Not-Kids

Both types of transformers are going to have issues with people doing silly things. College students, for example, might end up throwing a drunk classmate's shoes over an electrical wire and risk hitting the transformer box. Kids might sit on pad-mounted boxes while hanging out. Gauge the population that's likely to be in the neighborhood. For family neighborhoods, a pole-mounted transformer might work better. Pad-mounted might be better near areas where most people are old enough to know not to touch the boxes.

Artwork Programs

One positive to having a pad-mounted transformer is that you can arrange to have artists cover the box with art. Many cities have coordinated these programs so that local artists get a chance to show off their work, the boxes look a lot better, and passersby have more interesting things to look at. You really can't do that with pole-mounted transformers. In fact, you might want to see if your city already has a program in place which would allow the transformer boxes to be painted immediately.

It may take some time to decide which will go where. You might want to have your electrical utility department review the types and sizes of transformers available to better place them appropriately.