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EMF exposure field strength measurements, exact procedure: this paper discusses a recommended procedure for performing electromagnetic field (EMF) or electro-magnetic radiation EMR measurements either by engaging a professional or by consumers using low-cost instruments which measure EMF exposure levels in gauss or milligauss. We discusses sources of error and variation in EMF measurements and we review and make suggestions for using several low-cost EMF measurement devices to determine the instantaneous electromagnetic field exposure.
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Steps in A Recommended Electromagnetic Field Measurement Procedure - How to make Outdoor & Indoor EMF Measurements
We have documented a proposed procedure for making site surveys of electromagnetic field strength in order to improve the accuracy and repeatability of such measurements. We welcome critique and suggestions for this procedure. Contact Us with criticism.
As we explained earlier:
However if the inspector agrees to a detailed site survey we recommend spot checks in every room as well as at obvious common interior targets of interest (such as an electrical device which is normally kept on and which is close to the head of a bed (clocks).
You will observe that while there may be a strong field close to a clock, the field will fall off to undetectable in 2 feet or so.
Toasters, coffee makers, electric irons, crockpots, and similar electrical appliances are an EMF Enviro-Scare "red-herring" and need not be measured unless the client indicates that someone sleeps with their head in or on the toaster and that it's kept on for long periods of time each day.
Local power distribution systems, electric meter buses which may produce a field which is further distributed by building plumbing or wiring
Special high-amp equipment such as X-ray machines, computer equipment, compressors
Given the ease with which electrical components within a building can be relocated or modified, field inspectors are strongly warned to absolutely refuse to permit clients to assert that the sample measurements made are a comprehensive or exhaustive study of a property.
Health professionals, epidemiological experts, and in the case of EMF, electrical engineers can offer competent, expert advice which should be considered before any costly or risky actions are taken regarding this or other environmental topics.
This information is has not been sanctioned nor technically reviewed by the American Society of Home Inspectors.
Use it at your own risk.
Document date, time, location, weather conditions (hot means air conditioners are running and load may be higher; time means it is at least theoretically possible to correlate the measurement results with actual load data if the power company would provide it)
Document distance from measurement location to suspected source of EMF and identify that source
Document any reports of medical anomalies (if anyone volunteers such information or if your procedure or study permits its collection)
See WORKPLACE EXPOSURE to Electromagnetic Fields for information about exposure to electromagnetic fields in the workplace.
Please see WORKSHEET for EMF MEASUREMENTS - Example for a sample worksheet that collects EMF measurements and summarizes the results.
Instead of contacting us with a request to perform EMF Electromagnetic or RF Radio Frequency Field Strength measurements, in most cases it is more economical and convenient for a property owner to purchase their own instrument, making measurements under varying conditions.
See Recommended EMF Measurement Procedure for details of how to collect EMF measurement data.
See Evaluation of Low-Cost EMF Instruments This article describes several low-cost and reasonably accurate EMF measurement devices that are readily available.
See Radio Frequency RF Detection Meters This article describes several low-cost and accurate radio frequency or RF detection and measurement devices suitable for radio, TV, cellphone, microwave, and similar signals.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: information on how I can test a house for electromagnetic waves
I'm considering buying a house next to high tension wires please help me with information on how I can test the house for electromagnetic waves. - F.R. 6/1/2013
A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds a range of hazards, some of which may be more immediate and severe than possible risks from electromagnetic fields, so be sure you aren't distracted from those. That said, here are some things to consider:
You can probably buy a decent quality EMF/EMR meter and make your own field measurements for a fraction of the cost of bringing in a hired professional, with the added advantage of making multiple measurements since over time field strengths vary considerably depending on the load on the power line.
You can eschew measurement entirely and still estimate both the possible impact on real estate re-sale (price or time on market due to some buyers' fear level) and possible exposure levels to EMF, independent of any actual health risk assessment (ENVIRO-SCARE - PUBLIC FEAR CYCLES ) , by determining the name, owner, and transmission line voltage levels of the power lines near your building along with simple on-the-ground measurements of the distances involved.
There is ample data including in some of our articles, on the relationship between field strength and distance from the source (Distance from the EMF Source Affects Strength). Since actual electrical field strength varies with load on the power line, knowing the line's maximum-rated voltage level can set an upper limit of field strengths regardless of individual onsite measurements.
At EMF MEASUREMENT BASICS we introduce the topic and outline measurement procedures; that article includes links to detailed how-to procedures, worksheets, and related data.
At EMF MEASUREMENT STEP BY STEP we give detailed measurement suggestions.
If any of our articles leave you with questions, comments, criticism, just let me know and I'll do my best to research further as needed.
Questions & answers or comments about how to measure electromagnetic fields, EMF radiation at and around buildings
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