Profile picture for user3686332

How close is to close to high voltage power lines and what is a safe distance?

There is a great property for sale in my area but it's about 500 feet from 3 high voltage towers. We have a growing family and don't want to endanger our health. I have don't research and every article tells you all these scary stories but at the end states that none of this has been proven. Any advice?
  • July 19 2012 - Avenel
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Answers (39)

Profile picture for xmaspast

You need a new title: How close is too close to high voltage power lines and what is a safe distance?

  • 12 hours ago
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Profile picture for angel eguia
I understand
  • 2 days ago
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Profile picture for angel eguia
Understand
  • 2 days ago
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Profile picture for talkingtecheads
Proximity to a HV tower does not alone mean a risk.  in most cases there is no problem. In other cases you can develop one of over 200 different types of cancers. Many other factors must be considered such as power emission and magnetic resonance plus many other local factors. Also age and health status. The pregnant, neonates, infants and children and those with certain diseases (such as cancer) are more susceptible to disease.   

The research is clear risks are there when the fields exceed the set limits by the power industry when overlooked with the upgrading to higher voltages. Power companies are quietly buying many home after upgrading the line voltage.

Anyone with a concern a full EMF EMR spectral  analytical scientific study-it is quite surprising what may be present.
  • February 09
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Profile picture for skymaster336
I should be dead, since 17 I had military occupations in the electrical, communications field and radars of all kind. I also worked 33 years for a major corporation in computers, electronics, electrical and in main frame rooms, power generation plants of all sorts. I retired in 2011 from the civilian employer, Oct/2014 from the military. I am 58.
  • November 22 2014
  • 3Yes

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Profile picture for durost50
I've Lived near high voltage power lines since 1977.They are about 150 ft from my home. I have raised a family here and no one has had any health problems. My children use to play under them all day long. They are now 40 and 38 years old with there own children with no signs of any health issues. If you like the home don't let the power lines stop you from buying.
  • September 16 2014
  • 3Yes

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Profile picture for Blue Nile
You typically can chose to pay a utility company their costs for all kinds of revisions.  But they typically won't just re-route a power or communications line from the whim of one customer next to it.

From what you are stating, it isn't even clear there is any power on that pole-line; it could just be communications.  (phone, cable TV...)

And if 120/240 volt single phase for distribution to that block of houses?  It is negligible other than the unsightliness.

As for "poles falling down"?  Sometimes wind loading if extremely tall, and lots of things mounted on it... but the most likely cause of a pole falling is a truck driving straight into it; which tends to not happen in the back yard fenced area that you are referencing.  But you did say it was on the street below; so one would have to look at the likelihood of a truck driving into it.

Pole lines tend to be over-designed in the U.S.

Also, if the lines short to ground causing arcing that could produce a fire... there are protective devices in the circuit that shut the power off.  The bigger concern is downed lines in water, and someone stepping in the water.  It only takes 5 milli Amperes through the heart to stop it.

A picture would help, especially if any drops shown to the specific property.
  • March 21 2014
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Profile picture for user2272139
I myself am currently looking at a house on a hill. The backyard faces one of those power lines on a wooden post. I don't think that line is more than a hundred feet away from my backyard and it's at eye level with my yard cuz it's rising from the street below. I absolutely love the house, view and property. But this is such a nightmare. Being in LA and in the hills. I keep fearing a tremor will cause the pole to collapse and the cables will set free and come sparking towards my living room :( (I also have an over active imagination,) I was wondering if the power company might reconsider shifting or raising the height of the rod as it's so close to a residence. Anyone know if they would indulge such a request?
  • March 21 2014
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Profile picture for sunnyview
"Old"

lol you're only as old as you feel I suppose.
  • March 10 2014
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Old

  • March 10 2014
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Profile picture for sunnyview
"I have done all my research before I bought my home and there is power lines in my back yard.  I am talking the wooden pole with the lines."

You are 100% right when you talk about multiple sources of environmental radiation. However, I will say that there are many different types of power lines. The ones that seem to have the most concern for buyers are not ones on wooden poles.

Buyers are generally unconcerned with the garden variety pole with phone lines and power lines, while many buyers are turned off by the large metal towers with transmission lines. Buyers should follow your advice, do their research and make the right call for their family. The truth is that the research on high voltage lines is very mixed.
  • March 10 2014
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Profile picture for holly glunk2
Seriously?! Do you own a cell phone and put it to your ear?  Do you work on a computer, Ipad, watch tv, have a microwave in your home and/or use blue tooth?  I have done all my research before I bought my home and there is power lines in my back yard.  I am talking the wooden pole with the lines.  My kids have been raised in this house and have no health issues. Four kids before mine who are now in their 40tys & 50tys have lived here. My kids are great students in school A's & B's no issues with anything!  Your cell phone, computer, tv and all that has a much HIGHER EMF then a power line.  The air you breath can kill you.  This power line talk is absolutely NUTS!!!  People worry to much!  Worry about the medications your doctor give you.  You might as well live in a bubble!
  • March 10 2014
  • 7Yes

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Profile picture for Blue Nile
Foreign Voltage Detector (proximity voltage detector) used for measuring EMF?  That is not the right application for the product, and won't give you good readings.  They are mostly designed for letting you know if lines are energized without connecting to them.  They are mostly rated for 600 volts MAXIMUM.

But they are for the most part self protected and won't "blow up".  It may "burn out", or the fuse may go, or the battery may go dead; but they don't get UL labeled if they "blow up".

Did you buy a modified product, or an overseas knock off?

(Yes, I have several of those; the low cost ones were purchased mail order for checking Christmas light strings.  The better ones were for checking outlets, outlet polarity on knob and tube wiring, and 277 volt wiring at switches) . I have no intent to turn one of those on standing under a high voltage power line just to find out if the meter was designed to withstand higher proximity voltages or not.  Nor would I intend to put one up to a 12 KV energized cable while the device is on.
  • February 26 2014
  • 0Yes

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Profile picture for autochess
Mr  Zillow Moderator do you have any video that show an FVD blowing due the high voltage close to those tower.
I wonder if anyone around here died to see with their own eyes this video
  • February 26 2014
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Profile picture for trent nessler
Kroll et al, 2010 British Journal of Cancer.  1.14x increase risk for cancer for every .2 ut over average. 
  • February 08 2014
  • 3Yes

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Profile picture for autochess
have u ever watch this video about conduction of electricity because this hight volatge tower,
thereis a instrument to read this,called FVD
[Promotion and website removed by Zillow Moderator. Please see Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines.]
  • January 28 2014
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Profile picture for user1708459
just to share something, I worked on a house close to transmission lines.  I was installing can lighting, pulled in a home run to the panel then hooked up the hot wire to the breaker and the white wire to the neutral bar.  I did not hook up the ground wire at this time but took a voltage measurement from the neutral bar to the ground wire and my voltmeter read 6.8 volts.  I then went and removed the can light from extending into the ceiling and went back to the panel and took another reading and the voltage dropped to 0.1volts.  yes emf does exist, talk about chasing grounds this was a real hair puller, I have been an electrician for many years and never ran across this before.
  • September 30 2013
  • 4Yes

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Profile picture for user3278876
Regarding the last post:
"for even momentary exposure to high magnetic fields sharply enhances the risk of a miscarriage"
This is simply NOT TRUE. The risk of fetal harm from very high magnetic field exposures (MRI) is extremely low; in fact, MRI is preferred over CT when diagnosing conditions like appendicitis during pregnancy. Several governing bodies in medicine have applied scientific methodology and determined that high power magnetic fields do not harm the fetus nor induce miscarriage. 
Please argue the merits of this discussion using your expertise in YOUR field, not medicine. JY, MD
  • September 30 2013
  • 2Yes

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Profile picture for Locust92
The radiation effects due to power line EMF are essentially like radio signals of various frequencies. Not totally harmless, but far less suspicious I think than the effects of the defoliant chemicals that have been used to chemically "mow" the rights of way. Even if your local utility no longer uses persistant chemical sprays, they may still be in the soil from applications decades ago. Another excellent reason to stay away from abutting property.
  • September 15 2013
  • 2Yes

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My husband and me was so excited to go see this home that was listed 100,000 less than what they paid for it.  It had been on the market for almost 2 years. Gorgeous house!  Peaked in the backyard and talk about a mega watt power line. It looked like it was big enough to provide most of the neighborhood and the hghway we turned off on.   My husband said well there goes that buzz kill...lol    No Thanks..  Poor owners

  • September 06 2013
  • 2Yes

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Profile picture for user4203459
[removed by Zillow Moderator. Please see Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]
  • May 18 2013
  • 0Yes

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Pass. Its like being on a traffic street, value wise...

  • January 27 2013
  • 4Yes

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Profile picture for ScottBROKER209
There are many good answers thus far. You may also visit your electric company and they will come out and provide a reading for you concerning the EMFs produced by the wires...but as I understand it, your Microwave produces much more that the wires in the distance.

I always recommend to my clients that they look further down the road...toward resale!  as you may investigate and find that this isn't a big deal, the next time you sell...most buyers will just keep going and not be interested because of what the see in the area!  

This is no different than being located on a busy street or near an apartment building...the old saying is still strong today "Location, Location, Location".

Scott Cary-Broker
  • January 27 2013
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Profile picture for MR555
Faced with the same situation now.. The cold hard facts are this:
The Lines are dangerous. They do emit EMF.
here is the bigger problem.

Line 1 Carries 125KV
Line 2 Carries 250 KV
Line 3 Carries up to 750Kv or even more.

the Safety Distances that are documented only address line 1 and 2.
but not these newer super high power lines. Some of which run for miles through Green Belt corridors.

The reality is that, unless you have a Stainless Steel roof over your head, even when your sleeping your getting more emf than the guy across the street.

I realize that Propery Taxes and LandValue is lower and more attractive, but consider the obvious.. this isnt just about Stigma, your Real Estate agent should have taken a GaussMeter reading  before even showing you the property.

Good luck my friend.
  • January 27 2013
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Profile picture for user3034691
Hi everybody,
I like xaminmo's answer and I verified it practically, lol!
I moved recently to an apartment and signed a lease contract for 6 months. Two days later I noticed there are several high voltage power lines about 450 meters from my apartment. I got paranoid as I've heard that they cause cancer! I did a research online but did not find what distance can be considered safe. However, all those who claim that EMF is dangerous agree that 2.5 milligauss (some say 3 milligauss) and higher of AC magnetic field can be dangerous. So here is what I did, I purchased a 3-axis milligauss meter and I measured the EMF myself. The EMF was below 1 milligauss in my apartment (what a relief, lol), but just to know the dangerous distance, I walked myself towards the power lines and found that the EMF starts to get higher when the distance is 140 meters or less. I used Google Earth to get accurate distances. So this is what I concluded: 150 meters from the high voltage lines is safe!
By the way, try to keep some distance from your laptop, as near my laptop, the milligauss meter showed very high readings (50 milliguass or higher) :/ It's funny that I was worrying about the EMF emitted from power lines 460 meters away from me while I was doing a research about whether it's harmful or not using my laptop which has EMF around it more than 10 times the dangerous amount of EMF! hehe! 
  • October 09 2012
  • 21Yes

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Profile picture for xaminmo
Rather than sorting all of the conflicting research on safe vs not safe,
avoid being close enough that the EMF is measurably different from background. Those distances are:

* 100 feet for 133 kV lines
* 150 feet for 230 kV lines
* 250 feet for 345 kV lines
* 350 feet for 550 kV lines

At 500 feet, you will not be able to measure a difference in field strength from ambient ambient (lines off during maintenance).

Regarding property values, the average decrease for lots abutting power easements is 21%, with minimum of 12% and max of 30%.

Corona byproducts, etc are unavoidable no matter where.  Air flows.  Germs and dust from Asia reaches the entire west coast.   Being 10 miles from the lines won't really help.

Even with all of the proof, the real question is, would you FEEL safe?  Even if there is no increase in risk, if you feel unsafe, you will worry, suffer stress, and overall have a decrease in quality of life.

Ref: www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index1.html
Ref: people.uwec.edu/piercech/EMF/
Ref: www.fms-corp.com/healthconcerns_dcfields.php4
Ref: www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index4.html
Ref: www.ehib.org/emf/general.html
Ref: www.icnirp.org/PubEMF.htm
Ref: www.bbrec.com/attachments/articles/14/articlePropertiesPower.pdf

My house is 200 feet from a 345kV aerial line.  In the right weather, I can hear the lines sing. Other than that, the electric fields are dissipated, and the magnetic flux isn't measurable over the electronics I have in my house.
  • July 31 2012
  • 18Yes

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In Illinois, ComEd (our local electric company) will come to any property and provide a reading at no cost.
  • July 24 2012
  • 3Yes

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Profile picture for Blue Nile
The corona effect is primarily an issue with DC power lines (not alternating current).  And DC does not produce electromagnetic fields (EMF).  It does produce a magnetic field and an Electric field polarizing effect though.  The effect on cows and other animals is well known and published in many Journals.

Most of the High voltage towers that you will see in U.S. cities are not DC power lines; they are AC power transmission lines.  But due to wire inductance, AC power lines are not practical for transmitting extremely large amounts of power large distances.  DC is not affected by wire inductance, only the resistance.  Thus 500KV DC power lines are very practical as it gets the current down and the losses down.  In the past the limitations was the rectifiers to convert it to DC, and the inverters to convert it back to AC.  That is not really an issue any more.

Many people say the negative ions in the air are very healthy.  (They even buy ionizers for their homes).  But the opposite side of the power transmission lines get the positive ions instead.

I don't want to live with the Corona effect either, but I am more concerned about the radiation from high power EMF, and constant EMF exposure.  I'm even hesitant for constant EMF exposure in the visible light range if it is above 3000 Foot Candles.  Some people claim too much light exposure on a frequent basis will cause premature skin aging.  Sure, there is a vitamin D benefit from light exposure in the visible range.  But too much of a "good thing" is often not a "good thing".
  • July 24 2012
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Profile picture for MegaFactMan
Check out Responsible Electricity Transmission for Albertans at www.RETA.ca for the facts on the many negative health impacts of overhead high voltage power line electromagnetic fields and the corona effect. Don't believe the transmission companies.
  • July 24 2012
  • 2Yes

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Profile picture for user3686332
Thank you all for your great responces. I truely appriciate it. I have truely thought about saftey, health, location and resale value.  I had a feeling and a gut instinct but sometimes getting a second, third and even stranges oppinions really does open your eyes just that much wider.

Still house hunting,
Olga
  • July 23 2012
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