Dirty electricity (DE), also known as dirty mains, dirty power or electrical pollution, is a term that describes the problem of electromagnetic noise on the mains wiring of a house. DE occupies a part of the spectrum in between the power frequency fields created by power lines and substations, and the microwaves produced by mobile phone masts and other wireless devices.
DE can travel into your house on the local electricity supply and it will also be generated by some devices in your home. In the UK, the incoming supply is normally quite clean so the majority of DE is generated by internal devices, although large blocks of flats and similar multi-occupancy living spaces can have a lot of shared DE sources. Common large DE contributors include induction cooker hobs, dimmer switches, televisions, fluorescent light bulbs (including CFLs, or energy-efficient bulbs) and computers. Any modern device that has a ‘switched mode power supply’ will create some DE. Solar panel inverters that generate the 230 V to feed into the electricity supply usually generate a large quantity of dirty electricity.
Many links have been published associating DE with a wide variety of negative health effects, including cancer, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, ADD, autism and a number of neurological disorders.
You should first try to work out what is causing the DE on your wiring, to determine the best way to reduce/remove it.
The EMFields DE Filters will reduce the level of DE when plugged into the same circuit that you’ve tested the levels in. To use the DE Filter, you simply plug it in and switch it on – ideally as close as possible to the item that is causing the DE. Check the reading on the deTekta – you’ll see it has dropped and the percentage that it has dropped by. For DE coming into the home from solar panels or from the incoming electricity supply, it is important to place the filters as close as possible to the consumer unit (fusebox) and electricity meter.
It is very important to suppress the DE as close as possible to its source or it will flow backwards and forwards on the house wiring between the source device and the DE Filter(s). You may decide to replace some devices with similar ones that produce less DE. Low-energy CFL lamps are a good example – some produce lots of DE and some relatively little. Generally LED lamps produce less DE, although incandescent lamps produce virtually none and many electrically sensitive people need to use only incandescent bulbs – ‘rough service’ incandescent bulbs up to 100 W are still legally available in some shops (not supermarkets!) and via the internet. Similarly, some dimmer switches produce masses of switching noise and some relatively little – but if you are electrosensitive then simple switches are better as they do not produce DE.
What is Dirty Electricity?
Basically, your electrical supply is supposed to have just a 50 Hz sine wave on it, but this is rarely the case. There are almost always significant second and third harmonics (100 Hz and 150 Hz in Europe, 120 Hz and 180 Hz in USA), but these are not thought to be any more harmful than the pure sine wave.
DE consists of high-frequency ‘electrical noise’ of 1000 Hz (1 kHz) and upwards that has become superimposed on your wires. It is mostly from devices with ‘switched-mode power supplies’, but includes short, sharp transient spikes from inductive loads like motors being switched on and off. Most of the published work on this uses the Stetzer Microsurge meter, which measures noise between about 2 kHz and 120 kHz; however the DE noise extends up into the MHz region – our DeTekta meter readings do include these higher frequencies.
DE can travel into your house on the local electricity supply, or it can be generated by devices in your home. In the UK, the incoming supply is normally quite clean, so the majority of DE is generated by internal devices, although large blocks of flats and similar multi-occupancy living spaces can have a lot of shared DE sources.
dLAN network adapters also put RF signals on your mains wiring and it is good to switch them off at night. The levels in the house rooms are vanishingly tiny when compared with wLAN / WiFi signals; however, they may still affect electrosensitive people. dLANs use radio frequencies above 150 kHz that go up to several tens of megahertz (MHz) and are carried equally on all the wires. These are are not detected by DE meters. High speed/bandwidth (500 Mbps and faster) dLANs produce electrical RF noise up into the hundreds of MHz.
Common large contributors to DE include solar panel inverters, induction cooker hobs, dimmer switches, televisions, fluorescent light bulbs (including CFLs, or energy-efficient bulbs) and computers. Any device that has a ‘switched mode power supply’ will naturally create DE, but it’s hard to tell exactly which devices do have them and which ones don’t without switching them on and off. Most modern, energy-efficient, electronic devices now have them. Older, non-electronic devices such as lamps, ovens, or devices that run on motors, don’t normally create much DE.
We must note that whilst large amounts of DE noise is undoubtedly placed on the mains cable, the electromagnetic fields it causes in the rooms in your house are very low. However, despite our lack of understanding of the mechanisms, there is a significant body of published anecdotal and scientific evidence to support the correlation between DE and various negative health effects.
Many links have been made associating DE with a wide variety of negative health effects, including cancer, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, ADD, autism and a number of neurological disorders.