Dirty Electricity

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What is Dirty Electricity?

Dirty electricity (DE) is the non-scientific name given to an electromagnetic disturbance that is present on electrical wiring in your home. It is also found on power distribution lines. In other words, these disturbances deviate from the pure 60 Hz sine wave (North America) or 50 Hz (Europe). You also find other terms used for Dirty Electricity:

  • Electric companies refer to it as Dirty Power.
  • Manufacturers of sensitive electrical equipment including high end audio equipment refer to it as Electromagnetic Interference (EMI).
  • The Building Biology Institute refers to it as Microsurge Electrical Pollution (MEP).

Where Does Dirty Electricity Come From?

Dirty electricity emanates into the air from electronic devices and from wiring that carries electricity to DE generating devices. It manifests as variable voltage spikes on power lines at very low frequencies,  usually between 1 KHz and 100 KHz. It can cause of many health issues. For example, these include: headaches, ringing in the ears, difficulty focusing, and numerous other symptoms. These symptoms are often referred to as being related to electro-hypersensitivity or EHS.  Also, dirty electricity’s effect on reducing power quality costs U.S. industries between $4 and $6 billion per year.

Dirty electricity is one of the four types of man-made electromagnetic pollution that Building Biology EMR Specialists help to remediate. (The other three are RF radiation, AC electric fields and AC magnetic fields). Dirty Electricity is more chaotic and noisy than AC electric and magnetic fields because it contains many higher frequency components. As such, it potentially has more damaging biological effects.

What Are the 5 Major Sources of Dirty Electricity?

Dirty Electricity has five major sources of finding its way into your home, office, or everyday environment:

  1. Utility-provided electricity from substations and transformers. It will travel up and down the lines bringing it from one house to another.
  2. Appliances, lighting and other home or office electronics. Of particular concern is Compact Florescent Lights (CFLs), dimmer switches.
  3. Communications technologies such as radio, TV, Wi-Fi, cellular phones, and other wireless electronics.
  4. Wiring errors such as shared neutrals, reversed circuits, or bonded neutrals.
  5. Solar inverters and smart meters. Because DE travels along the utility’s power lines, DE from your neighbor’s solar installation can end up in your home.

Did you know that your home and office electrical circuits act as a giant antenna? Your home wiring circuits can detect and transmit radio waves, bringing DE to your appliances and electronics and to you!

How Do We Measure and Mitigate Dirty Electricity?

You cannot measure dirty electricity using the same instruments you use to measure the other three types of man-made EMR. Instead, use a meter that plugs into an electrical outlet that measures just the frequencies other than 60 Hz. Better yet, obtain more accurate measurements using a spectrum analyzer to help pinpoint the source of the dirty electricity. However, spectrum analyzers are expensive and require special skills.

Depending on how high the readings are and how prevalent they are throughout a house, reduce dirty electricity as follows:

  1. Use a number of capacitance filters that plug into the electric outlets where you found high DE readings, or
  2. If the readings were unusually high, use a whole house capacitance filter or use an in-line inductance filter. Hire a qualified electrician to install them next to the main power panel.

Ideally, I recommend that you hire a Building Biology Institute certified EMRS to measure and to recommend the precise mitigation solution if necessary.

Who Makes Equipment to Measure and Mitigate Dirty Electricity?

There are a number of manufacturers of dirty electricity plug-in meters and filters. If using plug-in filters, use those from the same manufacturer that made the plug-in meter used to do the measurements. This is because different manufacturers use different standards and frequency bands for reporting the measurements when measuring and filtering.

For whole house filters I recommend either using those made by Satic Shield:

or

                                                                 You will need to hire a licensed electrician to install the above!

 

For plug-in meters and filters, I recommend either

or

I’ve Heard That Solar Power Installations creates Dirty Electricity. Is That True?

Yes! Solar Power Inverters are one of the highest contributors to Dirty Electricity in homes. Building Biology advises anyone who is extremely EHS (Electro-Hypersensitive) to not install solar panels in their house. When installing solar, make sure that the inverters are installed in an area away from heavily used areas, particularly bedrooms. Whether solar is installed in your house or a neighbor’s, it is advisable to buy and install a whole-house filter. Buy the Satic Shield Power Perfect Super Duty Wire-In Box which is specifically designed to mitigate dirty electricity throughout the entire house. Use code “HIC10” to receive 10% off at checkout on all Satic Shield products. Hire a licensed electrician to install any wire-in-box.

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