Recent Articles

Two Prong Outlets - What to Do?

 

Two-prong outlets with no ground wires were common throughout Seattle until 1963. From that time on, grounded three-prong outlets have been the standard. Two prong outlets are rather inconvenient, and can possibly pose a safety hazard. The third prong on a plug is designed to give a fault path in the event the hot wire, or device that is connected to should short out. The absence of a ground path can lead to a electrical shock. For example a metal light fixture could become energized on its exterior, and the lack of grounding will not allow the breaker to trip. The problem is that you cant necessarily just replace them with a three prong plug. If the wiring system is not bonded to ground, then that would be an illegal fix.  In some cases the wiring is grounded and they just didn't put three prong plugs, because back when three prong outlets were introduced they were more expensive. In many cases there is no wire, or other grounding path. Older two wire clothe wiring is not uncommon in houses 60 years old or so. It is likely that your old two prong plug is so loose that cords fall right out of it, or it is brittle and cracking. Either way it should be replaced. At this point you have two choices that are legal. Replace it with a new two prong receptacle is one. The other is replace it with a three prong plug, but only after verifying that you have a ground path.Electrical inspections Seattle

 

 

What if you do not have a ground, but you want a 3 prong plug anyway? 
The answer GFI is to protect the circuit. This can be done with a breaker, or a receptacle. It is possible for a single GFI outlet to protect the entire circuit that feeds off of it. The reason that this is legal is because the GFI receptacle can detect minute levels of leakage current, and open the circuit. In fact it does it a lot faster than the breaker would. This is why they are required near sources of water, or outside. There used to be a time where someone would grab a drill while standing in a puddle and get killed. With a GFI, they wouldn't even feel a tingle. It would instantly shut off power. You will probably need an electrician to figure out whether you can put in standard plugs, or if you will need a GFI. IF you do need a GFI, it needs to be wired correctly, and in the right location. At that point you can put a little sticker on each plug that says " No equipment ground", and it is legal. It will even keep home inspectors from raising a stink. This is a very big deal if you want to sell your house. We will find these issues during a home inspection.
 

However, to provide accurate disclosure to buyers, you should have the system checked by a licensed electrician. Working on any electric in the State of Washington requires a permit. Regardless of whether the outlets are grounded or are wired in conduit, you are not required as a seller to upgrade the wiring. Your essential obligation is to accurately disclose your knowledge of the electrical system to buyers. And this leads to your question about whether the outlets “will be a problem when buyers hire a home inspector.” Problems you already know about should not be left for some home inspector to discover, while you hold your breath in suspense. If you disclose the problem up front, it can become an as-is part of the sale. If the home inspector reveals it to the buyers, it can become an expensive subject of negotiation. Worse still, the buyers could hire an incompetent home inspector who says nothing about the problem. If the buyers were then to learn about it after the close of escrow, you could have a sticky liability issue on your hands. The best approach when selling a home is to disclose everything you know. Don’t wait to see what the buyers home inspector discloses. This is the best way to have a clean, smooth transaction, without repercussions after the sale is completed. If you have the outlets and wiring evaluated by a qualified electrician, you may find that the outlets can be grounded at nominal expense. Then there will be no outlet problem to disclose and no need to sweat the home inspection.

 

Knob and Tube Wiring - The EMF issue 

The most important issue to many of our inspection clients, who are concerned with magnetic fields is the fact that that Knob and Tube wiring emits high and far reaching low frequency AC (Alternating Current) magnetic fields. The separation of the “hot” and “neutral” conductors by as much as 12-15 inches causes a significant increase in the magnetic field around the wiring. Although the health effects of high AC magnetic fields are in dispute, many people are concerned about them and prefer to create a low magnetic field environment in their homes and especially in their sleeping areas.

Knob and tube also does not shield against Electric Fields induced by the wiring.

 

So what to do about residential wiring errors?

If you have a home built before 1965 it is a good idea to have your wiring inspected. Has it been updated? With what type of wire? Was ALL the Knob and Tube removed, or was the modern wiring just spliced in?

Do you still have a fuse box? Or has your service been upgraded with circuit breakers? Upgrading to circuit breakers is safer and much more convenient especially when a circuit overloads and trips a breaker rather than blows a fuse.

PNWIG highly recommends that any and all Knob and Tube be removed and replaced with modern wiring. Many times modern wiring is installed but the legacy Knob and Tube is disconnected but left in place, to save a few bucks. It does take a little extra effort to remove the old Knob and Tube wiring. If the older wiring is not removed it can be confusing to a future electrician and some of it may still be active. During our inspections we have found some of it to still be active and live, a definite fire and electrocution hazard. Fortunately, always assume all wires are live and test any wire before working on ANY wiring.

Fully removing and replacing your old Knob and Tube can be difficult and expensive but is easier if you have an accessible attic and crawl space. We assure you the benefits are well worth it, and it should add to the value of your home, as well as adding to your electrical safety and capacity.

 

EMFs and LED lighting GOOD or BAD?

Research on EMFs and LED lights

As with information about EMFs generally, information about EMFs and LEDs is very scant.

Creating Healthy Homes suggests that the only reason LEDs could produce EMFs is with the creation of ‘dirty electricity,’ which some LEDs allegedly produce depending on their configuration and wiring setup. They write that, “If an LED bulb has a switched mode power supply, it usually produces dirty electricity but not always. [The] problem with switched mode power supplies is that they reduce voltage and convert from AC to DC by squaring off the sine wave of 60 Hz AC electricity, thereby producing harmonics of dirty electricity as a side effect. These harmonics then radiate off circuits in your walls running throughout the house and from AC power cords that you plug into outlets.”

Another site, from the Electromagnetic Fields by B. Blake Levitt that, “Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs are far cleaner [and] emit no EMFs.‘ But later on their page, they write that “LEDs are extremely low EMF; they do have a small transformer which reduces the voltage to the device, although electriCLEAR uses ‘line-voltage’ LEDs which have no transformer and are truly zero EMF.”

Another source I found about the LED-EMF connection was Natural News, which is not a site I use as a reference very often as they tend toward alarmist. They state that, “LEDs […] do not create EMF dirty electricity–” which is the opposite of what these other sources claim.

With the exception of Natural News, most of the information about the EMF-LED connection is that the ‘research’ comes from sites that are offering services related to such topics.

LED EMF test results

MF Reading in milligauss(mG) 2” 12” 24”
Power OFF 0.25 mG Average
Halo EL-405827 Full Bright 0.80 mG 0.25 mG
Halo EL-405827 Dimmed 0.30 mG 0.25 mG
Cree CR 4E-15 Full Bright 0.65 mG 0.25 mG
Cree CR 4E-15 Dimmed 0.33 mG 0.25 mG
Lutron DVCC-153P-WH 2.72 mG 0.70 mG 0.25mG

MF from LED Lights Analysis

The dimmer appears to produce the strongest and largest magnetic field, starting at 2.0 mG and not receding to background levels until 24 inches away.

Compared to an incandescent lamp, which does not generate additional EM waves on its own but creates an alternate electromagnetic field with the same frequency of the AC voltage, an LED lamp has much more EM noise because of the frequency omponents introduced by the rectifier.

The effect of an LED lamp with a simple rectifying circuit is noticeable, the EMF is still of low frequency but can reach several hundreds Hz or even few kHz.

 

 

EMF Testing for Radiation Exposure Home & Office

Are You Exposed To EMFs?

Virtually everyone is exposed to EMFs. Even in the most far-flung corners of the planet, you can usually get a signal on your cell phone. The risks are higher if you live in a town, if you use a cell phone, or WiFi significantly, or are exposed to these wireless technologies or you live in an area where there is a high level of electromagnetic pollution from cell phone towers, radar, digital TV or you live in proximity to power lines or an electrical substation.

A growing concern is smart meters. I’m referring to wireless meters that utility companies are increasingly installing on homes to measure your electric, gas or water usage. For many, this is their first encounter with RF radiation.

The way smart meters are being forced on innocent homeowners is wrong. But when homeowners discover a smart meter has been installed on their home they often overlook the fact that many devices in their home are generating EMFs just as bad as their smart meter, sometimes worse.I’m talking about, Wi-Fi , cell phones, cordless phones, walkie-talkies, clock radios, 4G & 5G cell towers, and similar devices.

Health Benefits Of Reducing EMF Exposure

Studies link EMF exposure to a growing list of biological effects and diseases. If you reduce your EMF exposure you can reasonably expect to protect yourself from the following conditions and diseases:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Premature aging
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism
  • Leukemia
  • Brain Tumors
  • Sterility
  • Infertility
  • Insomnia
  • Behavioral problems in children
  • Tinnitus
  • Nervous system diseases, and much more.
 
  • Exposure to microwave radiation from baby monitors, cell phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, smart meters, and other wireless devices causes serious mitochondrial dysfunction due to free radical damage
  • Excessive free radicals triggered by microwave exposure from wireless technologies have been linked to anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, cardiac arrhythmias, depression, and infertility
  • The negative effects of EMFs are particularly harmful to pregnant women, putting their child at risk for ADHD and autism, as well as behavioral, emotional and social issues
  • In addition to using wired connections for your phone and computer, strategies that may help reduce the harmful effects of EMFs include optimizing your magnesium level and eating Nrf2-boosting foods

EMF Questionnaire

To determine your level of exposure and evaluate your risks here’s a short questionnaire (count your yeses as you are doing this and give yourself one point for each yes):

Your Exposure To Cell Phone Radiation

1. Do you press your cell phone against your head while talking?

2. Do you talk for 2 hours or more per day on your cell phone?

3. Do you carry your cell phone on your person when it’s switched on (i.e. in standby mode) for most of the day?

4. Do you talk on a cell phone in your car?

5. Do you keep your cell phone close to your bed at night?

6. Do you use Bluetooth wireless?

7. Do you use your cell phone when the signal strength indicator is low?

8. Do you use your cell phone for streaming for more than 2 hours per day?

Your Exposure To Computer Radiation

1. Do you use a computer for more than 4 hours per day?

2. Does your computer have the WiFi function enabled? (this is harmful even if you connect to the

internet on a cable)

3. In your place of work are you within 6 foot of other computers?

4. Do you use a laptop rather than a desktop model?

5. Do you use a laptop primarily on the mains power supply?

6. Do you use a laptop, tablet or smartphone type device on your lap?

7. Do you use a wireless modem router?

8. Do you sit within 6 foot of your wireless router?

Your Exposure In The Home

1. Do you remain near your microwave oven when it’s on?

2. Have you had your microwave oven tested recently for leaks? (even new microwave ovens leak!)

3. Is your home protected by a wireless burglar alarm?

4. Do you have a DECT cordless phone in your house?

5. Do you have a cordless phone next to your bed?

6. Do you have WiFi installed in your home?

7. Do you or your children use wireless video gaming software like the Xbox360 or the PlayStation?

8. Do you have a wireless music system installed in your home?

Exposure In Your Environment

1. Is your home within 400m and direct line of a cell phone tower?

2. Is your home within 50m of a power line?

3. Are you surrounded by other homes with WiFi installed?

4. Is your home equipped with a smart meter to measure your electricity consumption?

5. Live in a Two-wire ( Knob n Tube) home?

6. Live near power lines?

7. Are your neighboring homes closer than 20 feet?


How Did You Score?

There are 30 questions in this questionnaire, you have kept your score, right? If there are questions where you are not sure how to answer, count these as zeros.

How did you score?

Did you score 6 points or more?

6 points might not sound a lot but EMF exposures are cumulative.

The different sources of EMFs that your body is being subjected to all add up, cell phone, WiFi, cordless phone, cell phone tower. It’s the cumulative exposures that count – the total EMF load.

If you scored 6 points or more your EMF exposure is potentially very high. Take action NOW to reduce your exposure.

Order our EMF Survey – so you can get started taking action call 425.608.9553 for all of the Seattle, WA area.


Clients please Login to watch our EMF videos to Learn even more!!!

EMF Testing Seattle
 

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EMF dangers in Home and Office

What are EMF Fields?

Electro Magnetic Fields (EMFs) are comprised of electric fields that are generated by charged particles or charged particles that are in motion, and radiated fields emitted from items such as televisions, radios, and microwaves. EMFs are strongest near the source of the emission but can affect particles even at great distances, as in how a radio tower can emit a radiated signal that is received by antennas up to varying distances, depending upon the strength of the transmission. While we have enjoyed the benefits of technology that utilizes EMFs for decades, there is still significant controversy surrounding the possible dangers of EMFs and the effects on the human body. Various studies have shown that EMFs may have a detrimental effect on the iron content in our bodies, as well as the cell membranes that comprise many parts of our body, include our skin, organs and nerves, and even our DNA. While there is an established safety limit for the emission of EMFs, many common household items do emit far more than the accepted limit of 2.5 mG. These products include items we may use nearly every day, such as vacuum cleaners and hair dryers. Some scientific studies claim that continued exposure to elevated levels of EMFs may result in significant health problems. For better detection and protection against EMFs in the home or in the workplace, an EMF inspection is recommended. EMF inspections will also help you to determine what an acceptable distance is to stand away from items that emit EMFs, such as microwaves or computers, and how to rearrange your furnishings so that you sit or sleep comfortably away from EMF emitting devices. Our Meter combines all the features needed for fast, accurate measurements of electromagnetic fields, including mobile phone base station antenna radiation, RF power measurement for transmitters, wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) detection/installation, and wireless communication applications. Additionally, turning off electrical appliances that don’t currently need use, and using low power settings on items such as computer monitors that must remain on but are used constantly will also serve to reduce the amount of EMF emissions in the home or office.

What are safe EMF levels?

 The first thing we look to for guidance in this question is the epidemiology. There have been a fair number of epidemiological studies in the area of childhood brain cancer and leukemia all of which indicate an association with EMFs - two to three times the number of cases - at magnetic field levels above 2-3 milliGauss (mG). This implies, of course, that EMF levels below that are safer than levels above that.

However, others have suggested guideline levels of 1 mG or even 0.65 mG. EMF Inspection Safe Levels Safe EMF The fact is none of the studies compared exposed subjects to unexposed subjects but only compared relative levels of exposure - because there are no unexposed people in our wired world. For all we know, all cases of childhood leukemia and brain cancer may be related to EMFs. We also do not know for certain whether long-term chronic exposure is a key factor - although it certainly appears to be.

 

"EMF radiation is more prevalent than the exposure to asbestos, lead, radon, pesticides, and all other material pollutants are taken together."

We also do not know the role that such electrical events as power spikes and transients, etc., may play. We do know however that for power line fields most people that are exposed, even to relatively high levels, do not seem to be affected. It is not a simple cause and effect relationship. In fact, many, myself included, suspect that EMFs may not be a cause of cancer, but a promoter that acts when other factors such as exposure to other environmental pollutants, or a genetic disposition are present. These are all factors that need to be studied. If the scientific and political community would accept the obvious facts - that there is indeed< an association between EMFs and higher levels of cancer and other diseases and disabilities then we could get on with the important research in finding what the key factors are. So where does that leave us? Most of us cannot run off to a desert island with no electricity or radio transmission. What we can do is reduce our exposure as much as possible.

We can start with personal exposure. Most appliances have high levels of EMFs that drop off very quickly and we are not exposed to them for long periods of time. But there are some exceptions where we can take avoidance measures such as not using electric blankets or keeping electric clocks right beside our beds or placing our children's beds in the bedrooms with the lowest EMF levels. We can also check our homes for hot spots - in some cases improper grounding systems can cause high EMF levels that can easily be corrected. And we can be cautious when buying a home - including a satisfactory EMF inspection requirement in the offer to purchase and avoiding homes with levels above the 2-3 mG magnetic field level. I have not referred to electric field readings simply because most of the studies have looked at magnetic fields and most of the meters available to the general public at reasonable cost measure magnetic fields.

 

As well, since higher magnetic fields indicate higher relative electric fields, by measuring the magnetic field you are also getting an indication of the relative size of the electric field.] I have also not referred to radio frequency or cellular telephone fields because I am not as familiar with that area which is very complicated with research just being begun in that area. What EMF Level Is Safe? There's a heated debate as to what electromagnetic field (EMF) level is considered safe. Since the experts have not come to a consensus, you'll have to decide for yourself... Many government and utility documents report the usual ambient level of 60-Hz magnetic field to be 0.5 mG.

Thus, any reading higher than 0.5 mG is above the "usual" ambient exposure. Many experts and public officials, as well as the few governments that have made an effort to offer public protection, have adopted the 3 mG cutoff point. The EPA has proposed a safety standard of 1 mG. Sweden has set a maximum safety limit of 1 mG. Dr. Robert Becker, an MD who has been studying the effects of EMFs for 20 years, states a lmG safety limit in his book Cross Currents. When electricians try to solve a magnetic field problem they do their best to drop the level to 1 mG or below. Dr. Nancy Wertheimer, a Ph.D. epidemiologist who has been studying EMFs for 20 years, has been looking at the epidemiological data in a different way -- she is trying to associate EMF levels with health rather than a disease. The level she is coming up with is a cut off of 1 mG. The BioElectric Body believes that there are several stages of health between "optimum wellness", "degenerative disease" and "Cancer". Thus, we maintain our own living and sleeping quarters at 0.5mG and below. There is disagreement as to what electromagnetic field (EMF) level is considered safe. Government and utility documents report the usual ambient level of a 60-Hz magnetic field to be 0.5 mG. A reading of more than 0.5 mG may be too much exposure. Some experts say that 3 mG is the cutoff point and the EPA proposes1 mG. However, what is the level that sustains health vs. the level that causes disease? We don’t know. Some researchers claim that 1/1000ths of an mG should be the standard!