There is a trend in the modern house construction which I come across often as I visit houses to conduct EMF surveys around the country. It is pervasive in a new house build and becomes difficult to deal with once the house is finished, decorated and occupied. Often there is a reluctance from the owners to accept the issues and so permanent remediation is very limited. So what am I referring to? Well, it is basically the increasing amounts of electrical hardware that is installed as part of the build.
In new houses this hardware comprises of large numbers of recessed down lights, dimmer switches, multiple switches, 3 way switches, and outlet sockets everywhere. On top of that, there are control panels for heated floors, household heating systems, water heaters and ventilation systems. This is of course ignoring the wireless connections which I may write about in another blog. Consideration for EMF emissions to the level we are concerned with do not exist in a modern home.
If we look firstly at the most important room, the bedroom. Here we need a space that is very low or zero EMF for sleeping to enable the natural night time recovery and regeneration. However, modern bedrooms are awash with EMFs with down lights, multiple outlet sockets and switches, wall lights over the bed and other electrical circuitry. What this boils down to is that all four walls of a bedroom have live circuitry and emit constant electric fields which are especially very strong at the head of the bed. Then if you attach an ensuite with underfloor heating and various other towel heaters and other sockets you have more electric fields that expand into the bedroom. Once live, with bedside lamps, device chargers, panel heaters, hair dryers or whatever else you place in a bedroom, exposure to the E fields increases even more.
If the head of the bed is on a shared wall with other electrical outlets, devices or appliances, there are even more electric fields. Here we also need to bring dirty electricity into the conversation. The extra frequencies that permeate the house wiring from outside and what is generated in the house, are all contained within the electric fields adding yet more layers of frequencies into the body. I am of course here ignoring magnetic fields coming from circuits under power as current is drawn. This I may talk about in another blog.
As a side note, a number of houses I visit have occupants mentioning they have tinnitus or can hear humming or buzzing noises. Certainly, many devices like computers or printers can have a high pitch frequency constantly sounding. My wife’s computer sends out a high pitch in standby and when shut off but still turned on at the wall. The bottom line is, all this technology, certainly the electronic stuff can add to these frequency issues and the more electrified a home, the more frequencies are pushing out from your walls. Also if you want to look at electrostatic levels and positive ions, high E field houses contribute to these too.
Take a trip into the living room or lounge and you will find again, all four walls are electrified, but now we have larger appliances and devices drawing current. Many are turned on permanently, TVs on standby, routers, TV boxes, DVRs etc. Then with recessed down lighting, more outlet sockets powering plug in devices and we have another room immersed in constant electric fields.
Kitchens too, are high sources of electric fields, but not from the usual suspects of fridges and stove tops. Many modern houses have kitchens set back located away from windows and so natural light isn't adequate which results in daytime use of electric lighting. This is another design mistake in modern homes. All houses should have adequate natural light to reduce the need for daytime lighting. Not only is this yet another electric field to swim in, we have the issue of the exposure to the artificial light spectrum.
Outside of the main rooms we have the switch panel and the electric meter with all the associated cabling. The position of this too is often located inside a main area of the house. The location of the main inputs of cabling need to ensure limited exposure and most certainly need to be located as far away from bedrooms as is possible. The routing and convergence of multiple cabling only adds to the woes.
All this when you actually sit down and think about it is basic sensible stuff if you connect your own environment with what contributes to EMF exposure. So what does all this mean? Well, with all this in a modern home it essentially adds up to exceptionally high electric fields throughout the entire house at all times.
So there’s the challenge, how to build a new house with low EMF footprint and what to remediate in a house that is already complete. Each house may be different, but essentially have the same or similar issues. I’m not going to cover how to remediate all these issues in this blog that may come in the future. Meanwhile I do have an EarthWaves factsheet on new house builds for clients who are looking to lower their EMF footprint and general awareness of layout and minimising EMF issues.