If you are trying to lower your exposure to EMF radiation, don’t ignore the EMF radiation coming from house wiring. Most people are concerned about EMF radiation coming from phones, TV, satellite and other appliances. But a majority of them don’t think about house wiring as a source of EMF radiation.
Does house wiring emit EMF radiation? Yes, the basic electric wiring in your house is a source of EMF radiation. Typically, if done right, the normal house wiring will emit minimal EMF radiation. However, poor house wiring can be dangerous and can expose you to high levels of EMF radiation.
In this article, I will talk about EMF radiation coming from:
- Normal house wiring
- Poor house wiring
- Faulty house wiring
I have also mentioned the best ways to avoid EMF radiation from all kinds of wiring.
What is House Wiring?
Your house wiring is the network of electrical wiring for everything from lights and TVs to appliances and heating systems. This network of wiring consists of od cables running from beakers to power outlets.
Each cable is made of three wires, phase, earth and neutral (PEN). You can also call them hot, neutral and ground. The hot and neutral wires are conductors of electricity. While no current flows from the ground wire.
EMF Radiation that Emits from House Wiring
Types of EMF radiation coming from your house wiring:
- The amount of current that runs through a wire determines its magnetic field.
- In a typical house, the magnetic field ranges from 0.1 milligauss to 1.0 milligauss. These days, it is mostly below 0.3mG.
- Milligauss is the unit of measuring the magnetic field. Another unit you may come across is nanotesla (nT).
- A gauss meter or a tesla meter is used to measure the magnetic field.
- When you are not using the wire, there will be no current in it. Hence, there will be no magnetic field.
- When you turn out a light, the current starts running through the wire. And, as a result, it will produce a magnetic field.
- With more appliances, it comes more current and produces a stronger magnetic field.
- Unlike the magnetic field, an electric field is always present around an electric wire. Of course, it has to be a live wire.
- However, even when no appliance is turned on, there will still be an electric field.
- The electric field does not depend on the current running through the wire.
- It depends on the voltage of the electric current in the wire.
- In the US, a typical house will have an electric field of 10 to 50 V/m. Since it depends on voltage, the values may be higher in other countries.
- v/m or volts/meter is the unit for measuring the electric field. An electric field meter is an instrument that measures the electric field.
- As long as the breakers are on, there will be an electric field around the wires in the wall. Likewise, even if your TV is not playing but is plugged in, there will still be an electric field.
- By turning off the breakers and taking out the plugs, you may be able to reduce the electric field. However, you cannot fully eliminate it.
- Dirty electricity is the unusable electromagnetic energy. Many appliances and electric devices produce dirty electricity as they operate.
- Sometimes, there are interruptions in the flow of current running through electrical wires and systems. These interruptions produce dirty electricity.
- You can think of is as electrical pollution.
- The interruptions cause voltage spikes and frequency transients. They can produce a potentially dangerous EMF.
- Almost all electric devices around us can produce dirty electricity. This includes your chargers, computers, dimmers, and lights.
Why is EMF Radiation from House Wiring Important?
Once they build their house, most people don’t think about house wiring. In a typical house, the house wiring emits very little EMF radiation. However, due to many reasons dirty electricity and poor house wiring can elevate the EMF radiation levels.
If for some reason, the EMF radiation in any room of your house is elevated, it may expose you to dangerous levels of EMF radiation. Long-term exposure can cause many health damages.
Therefore, it is important to learn about EMF radiation coming from house wiring.
Another important thing to watch out for is EMF hotspots.
What are EMF Hotspots?
There are certain points in the house wiring where the levels of EMF radiation are high. These are called EMF hotspots.
You will find the EMF hotspots near electricity meters, electronics, and electric systems.
Moreover, you will also find EMF radiation near:
- Main distribution panels of transformers
- Fuse boxes
- Battery chargers
- Back-up supplies.
Usually, the area of a hotspot ranges up to 6 feet from the source. After that, the radiation levels start coming down until it goes to normal levels.
The EMF hotspots are also around other equipment like:
- Florescent lights
- Light switches including dimmer switches
- Heating panels
- Intercom stations
- Air conditioning units
However, they have hotspots with very short ranges.
EMF from Poor House Wiring
Poor wiring or technical faults can enhance the EMF radiation coming from the wires. Unlike EMF hotspots, this issue is not found in every house.
Also, you can avoid the EMF radiation by getting proper wiring.
In every country, there are some regulations for the safety of house wiring. If for some reason, you or your electrician fails to comply with the local regulations, your house wiring can be unsafe.
Normal House Wiring Vs Poor House Wiring
In a normal house wiring, as I mentioned earlier there is three wire: hot, neutral and ground. When current passes through a hot wire in one direction, it also passes through the neutral wire in the other direction.
In this way, the EMF from the two wires cancels each other. As a result, they produce zero to minimal net EMF. For this to work properly, the wires should be close to each other.
Comparatively, in poor house wiring, the wires may not be close enough. As a result, the EMFs don’t cancel each other and produce a net EMF.
If there is a problem in the wiring, the circuit will work properly but it will create a high EMF. There is an EMF around the live wire, and another around the neutral wire.
Since the canceling effect doesn’t work, so the EMF will be higher and stronger.
EMF from Faulty Wiring
In faulty wiring, the person doing the wiring messes up the wires. For instance, the neutral wire of one circuit connects to the neutral wire of the other circuit.
Some common examples of wiring faults are joined neutral wires, inappropriate connection, inaccurately wired circuits, etc.
As a result, there will be an EMF around each wire. The circuits will work properly but the EMF will be higher.
Checking EMF in your House
If you are concerned about the EMF in your house, you can measure it using an EMF meter. I recommend the Trifield TF2 (read my review).
Since, both poor and faulty wiring work very well, there is no way to detect what’s wrong in the wiring. You can also ask your electrician to check for EMF when doing your wiring.
While you can check the electric field even when the circuit is not working, to measure the magnetic field, you will need to switch everything on.
How to Avoid EMF radiation from House Wiring?
Luckily, there are some tips to help you avoid EMF radiation coming from your house wiring. Let us take a look at them.
Avoiding EMF Radiation from EMF Hotspots
The best way to avoid EMF hotspots is to know where they exist.
Once you have identified the EMF sources and hotspots, the next thing is to avoid:
- Proximity to the EMF hotspot
- Duration of exposure to the EMF radiation
As I have mentioned earlier, the range of the EMF radiation from a hotspot is 6 feet. Therefore, it is easy to stay a little away.
Avoiding EMF Radiation from Poor and Faulty Wiring
Well, the first big problem is to find the problem. Since the wiring keeps working, not many people will wonder about their house wiring.
However, you can get the EMF Meter suitable for low-frequency EMF radiation. Once you detect it, the obvious solution will be to fix it.
An experienced, skilled electrician will help you in getting the proper wiring for your house.
Here are some ways to avoid high EMF levels from faulty wiring. Remember them when upgrading or installing new electrical wiring in your house.
It is possible to upgrade the existing wiring in a house, however, some areas may be hard to access. Some wiring will need to be changed, and some can simply be disconnected from the breaker panel.
Following are a few areas you should pay more attention to:
Wall boxes serving more than one circuit
The wires from two or more circuits may go to the same wall box when there are many switches there. An electrician may connect all the neutral wires. While this works perfectly, the crosslinked neutral wires can create unbalanced circuits and high magnetic fields.
Keeping the neutral wires separate from ground wires
In the main breaker box, there are neutral wires and ground wires. If someone confuses the neutral wire with a ground wire when wiring, there will be unbalanced circuits and high EMF levels.
Reducing EMF levels by routing the wire
The proximity of the EMF source effects the radiation level. Therefore, an easy solution is to add some distance. During wiring, your electrician can route the cables to keep them at distance.
Pro Tip– To add a few extra feet, avoid getting the wiring close to the bed, under the floor and in the ceiling. You could instead get the wiring at the top of the walls.
Fixing the twisted wires
Did you know why there is twisted wire in the computer and telephone cables? Twisted wires create a shielding effect and reduce the EMF levels by shielding the magnetic field. Therefore, you can implement the same idea when doing your house wiring. You can reduce the magnetic field to 90%. You can find cables with twisted wires in the market.
Avoiding EMF Radiation from Normal House Wiring
For people with Electromagnetic Field Hypersensitivity or electrical sensitivity, even the lower levels of EMF radiation coming from the normal wiring can be harmful.
I have elaborated on electromagnetic field hypersensitivity in my articles on EMF radiation from hearing devices.
To avoid the EMF radiation from the normal wiring, some methods can help. However, you will need to use some of them when installing wiring or when upgrading it.
For house wiring, use a skilled electrician who is familiar with the safety rules.
Covering with Aluminium Foil
If you are looking for a way to shield EMF radiation from your existing wiring, the best solution (not the pretty one though) is to cover the walls with aluminum foils.
The usual construction materials don’t block the magnetic and electric fields. Aluminum foil can add an extra layer of protection. While the aluminum foil does not block the magnetic field, it helps in blocking the electric field.
For this to work, the aluminum foil doesn’t need to be grounded.
Pro Tip: For a more thorough solution, use a combination of twisted wires and aluminum foil coating (on the wires) to avoid the magnetic and electric fields at their maximum.
Using Steel Conduit
Another way to shield both the magnetic and electric fields is to encase the wires in a steel conduit. The steel blocks both the EMF radiation.
Since the conduit is still, you should ground it using a section of the garden hose or plastic pipe. You must insulate the conduit from the studs they mount. In this way, you can encase your wires safely.
However, this process requires more time and labor. Therefore, it can be expensive.
Turning off the Breakers
People with serious electric sensitivity and electromagnetic field hypersensitivity keep the breakers off to avoid their exposure to EMF levels.
When you turn off the breaker for a circuit, the magnetic and electric fields in the area reduce.
You can find electronic switches that can automatically disconnect the breakers when you want and turn them on as you require. You have to install the switches in the breaker box.
Even if you are staying in a rental apartment, you may be allowed to install the switches. It is better to check with the property manager first.
Installing a Kill Switch
Another way of reducing the exposure and impact of EMF radiation is to use a ‘kill switch.’ A kill switch is a double-poled switch. It disconnects the hot and neutral wires at the points where they enter a room.
In this way, it separates the wiring in the area from the grid.
You can get a kill switch that operates the whole house. it will help you disconnect the wires from the grid whenever you like. You can do this at bedtime and avoid the electric and magnetic fields.
Or, if you have severe EMF hypersensitivity, you can use it even in the daytime when you don’t need electricity.
Anywhere where there is a live wire, you are exposed to EMF radiation. The EMF levels coming from appropriate house wiring are minimal. But poor and faulty wiring can expose you to dangerous levels of EMF.
The methods I mentioned can help you avoid the EMF radiation from house wiring.