Why Are There Physical Clearance (Distance) Requirements on the Nameplate?

A ventilated transformer’s physical clearance requirements are designed to provide adequate clearance for airflow cooling. Generally, the larger the transformer the more airflow and clearance is needed. The more important areas are the front and back of ventilated transformers where the air may enter in the bottom and exit at the top. Since the sides of distribution transformers generally don’t have ventilation openings, side clearance is less important. There must also be no obstructions that limit airflow into the bottom vents and top clearance from ceilings must also be maintained.

All smaller clearances should be reviewed by the manufacturer to verify they are adequate. Also note that electrical codes require minimum front panel clearances to allow safe and easy access to the wiring area. Units supplied with factory installed wall-mounting brackets may also have the back closer to the wall than the nameplate requirements; this is acceptable.  These statements may not apply to non-ventilated and/or potted transformers which don’t have ventilation slots and/or may have zero clearance when mounted to wall suing supplied brackets.