House wiring, appliances and the right meter to measure them
EMFs are easy to measure and the information supplied with the instruments helps you identify whether the EMF levels in your home are associated with health risks. These are described in “Powerfrequency EMFs and Health” – freely available from the info/article section of the EMFields website.
The Pocket PF Meter measures both electric and magnetic fields.
Hold the meter in one hand, with your fingers at the back and your thumb at the front at the bottom of the meter. Wait till the figures settle and that is your reading. When measuring magnetic fields, the highest reading could be when you a) hold the meter vertically b) hold it with the back facing the ground c) hold it with the side facing the ground. All these readings are genuine, because of the characteristics of magnetic fields. Use the highest reading as your measurement.
Electric and magnetic fields can be found next to house wiring cables, the switches and sockets. You can trace the cable from the switch along the wall by the level of EMFs detectable with the EMFields Pocket PF meter. The field levels should reduce quite quickly.
You will find higher levels of EMFs towards the ceiling where the lighting circuit cables run. You can also measure EMFs surrounding the cables of any pendant lights you may have. Even if these levels are on the high side, we spend very little time standing in one place in a house, so these should not be a problem.
High electric fields across a lot of a wall, or walls could mean either the plaster is slightly damp, or there is a wiring problem. Replacing the cable with screened cable will reduce these fields. Otherwise you could cover the wall with our special screening paint which will need to be earthed.
Cables for the ground floor lighting circuit that run underneath the first floor floor covering, can give off quite high EMFs, which may be of concern if children play on the bedroom floor in a 2-storey house, or if in a flat where there are rooms beneath, or you have electrical sensitivity and react to powerfrequency fields. You can either wrap the cables in aluminium foil, put foil underneath the carpet and earth it, or switch off the circuit at night to reduce EMFs.
More information about house wiring can be found from the info/article section of the EMFields website.
Most desk lamps, floor lamps, bedside lamps, etc are unearthed and can give off high electric fields. If you have electrical sensitivity and react to powerfrequency fields, you may want to use screened cable.
The appliances that give off highest EMFs are usually the ones that have both heaters and motors.
If you do not know the EMF levels from individual appliances, as a rule of thumb keep at least a metre away whilst they are working. Unplug them at the wall when not in use. This is energy-efficient as they still use power when on standby.
Be wary of using electrical appliances at head height after 7.00 p.m; items such as electric razors, hair dryers, and standing next to cooker hoods. EMFs are known to affect the amount of melatonin produced by the body overnight. Melatonin has many benefits to our overall health, so anything that reduces production should be avoided. To read the research into the effects of melatonin see the info/article section of the EMFields website.
If a member of your family is pregnant (or hoping to be so), or there are children or people with a compromised immune system, you may want to measure the fields from electric appliances that they will most frequently be near, such as cookers, fridge/freezers, TVs, computers, etc. For more information see the article ‘In Your Home’ in 8 sections in our article library.