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How to measure electromagnetic field exposure levels: this paper explains the basics of how we can reliably measure the level of electromagnetic radiation or electromagnetic fields (EMF). Detailed EMF survey procedures are provided later in this article series at Recommended EMF Measurement Procedure. Before buying test equipment to measure the strength of electromagnetic fields, readers should see EMF RF FIELD & FREQUENCY DEFINITIONS to be sure that they understand the types of electrical fields that exist, the typical sources of different types of electromagnetic fields (power lines, AM and FM radio towers, cell towers, other equipment), and thus the type of test equipment that would be used to assess field strength.
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Readers who need to measure EMF themselves or who intend to hire someone to do so should also be sure to review our more detailed EMF measurement procedures at Electromagnetic Radiation Field EMF SURVEY Procedure and also see EMF Survey Worksheet - Excel Spreadsheet and EMF Survey Worksheet - Sample & Explanation.
Our page top photo shows a Safeco™ electromagnetic field measuring instrument. This the EMF readings that this instrument obtains are position sensitive - where you point it makes a difference even in the same spot.
As we explain at EMF RF FIELD & FREQUENCY DEFINITIONS, there is a wide range of electrical field types when arranged by frequency, from lower frequencies emitted by electrical power lines (EMF), AM and FM radio frequencies (radio towers - MF and HF or VHF), cell phones, FM and TV radio frequencies (UHF) and others in the electromagnetic spectrum.
Question: Can I Hire You to Make Site Measurements of Electrical Fields?
I wonder if you test the RF and magnetic fields given off from cell phone towers. We have recently moved into a building that I just found out that the building owners have placed cell phone towers on the roof. I am worried since I have a baby. Please let me know if you service. A.F. - New York City.
We no longer offer on-site investigation services for measuring electromagnetic fields, though certainly you can hire local experts who can provide that service, have the necessary equipment, and are trained in its use. But before hiring someone to measure magnetic fields, here are a few things to consider:
First, if your object is personal safety for building occupants, there are other immediate potential hazards that should be attended first, as the absolute risk from other hazards can be very significant. Explicit, competent, documented electrical field strength measurements are more reliable than unsubstantiated opinions based on visual observation and fear. No one should be cavalier about people's health, but keeping risks in perspective serves everyone and helps assure that building owners, occupants, parents focus on the big risks first. Review basic building safety items such as
If a building owner or occupant is concerned about EMF or other electromagnetic field strength levels at a property (power lines, cell phone towers, radio transmitter towers, other sources), the local power company or other service providers may be willing to perform site measurements at no charge.
Independent experts provide thorough site profiles for fees ranging from $500. to $2,500. and some include extensive consulting which helps protect realtors from future liabilities and can calm inappropriately frightened buyers or sellers. But below you will read why for many circumstances we do not recommend this approach.
For electromagnetic field testing, whether it is UHF (cell phones), VHF and HF (radio towers), or EMF (power lines), and particularly for EMF testing, unless there is a legal issue that requires that the inspection and test be performed by an independent expert, you may prefer to purchase some equipment and following the procedures we’ve outlined for making an on-site survey of electrical field strengths yourself.
Particularly because the strength of electrical fields can vary enormously depending on the level of use of the emitting system, there is a risk that you hire someone at a high cost whose measurement results by no means tell you the average nor long term level of electrical field exposure at that location.
For a thoughtful, informed person who will read, it’s not technically difficult to use most electrical field measurement devices, and there are these advantages:
Hiring an EMF RF consultant compared with doing it yourself
Three Approaches to Measuring RF and EMF Hazards at Properties
For at least these reasons, we recommend one several different different approaches, among which you should choose, or if you can
If you're simply curious about finding and measuring local EMF strengths around a home, an alternative might be to simply purchase an inexpensive electromagnetic field strength measuring device.
But before dashing about recording numbers, it is important to understand both the peculiarities of EMF field strength meters and the peculiarities of the size, shape, pattern, and time variation of electromagnetic fields themselves.
Because RF and EMF measurement tools need to be properly chosen to measure the particular type and frequency of RF or EMF signal that is of interest, be sure to also see EMF RF FIELD & FREQUENCY DEFINITIONS for a simple explanation of different types of radio frequency (RF) and electromagnetic frequency (EMF) types and where they are found.
Also see Definitions of Gauss vs Milligauss for details about gauss and milligauss and definitions of these terms.
Suggestions for using some sample EMF measuring instruments and a discussion of the sources of error and variation in EMF measurements are discussed in more detail at our Electromagnetic Radiation Field EMF SURVEY Procedure located at this website.
At Evaluation of Low-Cost EMF Instruments such as the TriField EMF and RF meter shown here we show several different types of EMF measuring instruments and discuss their properties.
Please do not contact us to buy equipment. We do not sell anything. To do so would be a conflict of interest for this website.
These devices are readily available from many electrical equipment and home inspection equipment suppliers.
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. In this series of articles we describe how to make measurements using a consistent approach and using good documentation. See Recommended EMF Measurement Procedure for details of how to collect EMF measurement data.
Following good procedure and using instruments properly are two steps towards making accurate, repeatable RF (radio frequency) or EMF (electromagnetic field) measurements. But because the transmission from a cell tower, television tower, or the load on a power transmission line is not under control of an individual property owner, and because the RF or EMF strength varies as the power transmission line load varies, it is important to have an idea of that condition as well when attempting to characterize EMF exposure at a specific location. In contrast, RF or EMF measurements are quite accurate and repeatable at other EMF sources such as close to electrical appliances and service entry cables.
Please do not contact us with a request buy RF or EMF measuring equipment. We do not sell anything. To do so would be a conflict of interest for this website. These devices are readily available from many electrical equipment and home inspection equipment suppliers. 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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