This page will discuss what dirty power is, how it affects humans (and animals) as well as how you can reduce it.
WHAT IS DIRTY POWER?
Dirty power or electical pollution is high-frequency microsurges superimposed upon electrical wiring.
If that sounds too technical read on and we will describe it in Layman’s terms.
If your familiar with the technical aspects read the research papers under Resources below.
It is useful to understand some relevant terminology.
AC = Alternating Current is an electric current which periodically reverses direction from positive to negative. This type of electricity is supplied to homes and buildings. A simple illustration of AC is below.
DC = Direct Current is an electric current which flows in one direction only. This type of electricity is produced by batteries and used in low voltage applications such as cars, flashlights and mobile phones. A simple illustration of AC is below.
HIGH FREQUENCY TRANSIENTS – are electromagnetic interference or noise imposed upon electrical wiring. It is often described as spikes, impulses or microsurges.
OSCILISCOPE- device used for analysing the waveform of electricity and shows the shape of the waveform as a picture.
SINEWAVE- is a continuous wave that shows the alternating current from positive to negative for AC electricity as seen above.
A BRIEF HISTORY
When electricity was first rolled out across the country the electricity provided was a pure sinewave (ie smooth sinusoidal waveforms with no microsurges).
Up until the 1970’s electrical consumption in the home was considered linear or resistive. This was candescent light bulbs, heating elements and motors without complicated controllers. None of these types of usage interfered with the sinusoidal waveform of the electricity supply.
From the 1970’s onwards there was a series of technological developments in electronic components eventuating in today’s smart devices.
Modern day energy efficient and smart devices use electricity in short, rapid pulses which are seen on an oscilloscope as compressed spikes. Below are two different images from oscilloscopes showing dirt power.
These pulses are the high frequency transients imposed upon the electrical wiring.
This has become known as DIRTY POWER.
COMMON DEVICES THAT CAUSE DIRTY POWER
Some common modern devices that can induce high amounts of dirty power include smart meters, solar panel inverters, light dimmer switches, various light bulbs, air conditioners and computers.
Often the electricity you buy has been supplied to the grid by houses with solar systems and therefore is polluted before it reached your home.
SOLAR SYSTEMS AND WIND GENERATORS
Solar systems and wind generators are marketed as green energy. To make this energy available for your home it is converted to AC via an inverter. The conversion process is where dirty power is produced. Solar inverters do not produce pure sinewaves despite the manufacturer’s claims as they fail to build in adequate smoothing to remove the microsurges.
This is an engineering problem and requires and engineering solution.
WHY IS IT BAD?
Humans are electrical beings. Our nervous system uses electricity to send signals throughout the body and brain. One example is doctors measuring the electrical pulses of the heart using an electrocardiogram (ECG).
If we disrupt the electrical currents in the body it can lead to illness or dis-ease.
The microsurges in wiring interfere with the electrical system of the body and common symptoms include headaches, depression, sleep disorders, lethargy as well as general aches and pains. Research has shown links to cancer, diabetes, ADD, ADHD and chronic fatigue.
As our home and work environments utilise more and more energy efficient and/or smart devices we are exposed to an ever-increasing amount of dirty power. As a consequence, more and more people are becoming sensitive to electromagnetic fields. This is commonly called ElectroMagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS / EMHS).
Dr. Magda Havas, Trent University, Canada states that ‘The results (of case studies)
suggests that poor power quality may be contributing to electrical hypersensitivity and
that as much as 50% of the population may be hypersensitive.’
These links are only a sample of the research available on the health effects of dirty power. Clicking the link will open the relevant research paper in a new tab.
Dirty Electricity and Electrical Hypersensitivity: Five Case Studies by Magda Havas and David Stetzer
The Health Effects of Electrical Pollution by The National Foundation for Alternative Medicine
Historical Evidence That Residential Electrification Caused the Emergence of the Childhood Leukemia Peak by S Milham and EM Ossiander
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO REDUCE DIRTY POWER IN YOUR HOME OR OFFICE ENVIRONMENT
The simple answer is turn off the power. No power = no microsurges.
But in today’s society this is not practical so we have provided some solutions which are easier to live with.
- Turn off devices when they are not in use. Turning off devices that are normally on stand-by will also reduce your electricity bills.
- Change light dimmers to traditional on off switches.
- Measure the values using a Stetzerizer Microsurge Meter and install Stetzerizer Filters. These are available in our online shop.
- If you are about to build you can reduce your exposure by properly planning your wiring and using shielded cable. Please contact us for more details.
- Some Radio frequency (RF) shielding products also block electric fields. There are a range of products available such as paints, curtains and bed canopies. This is a more expensive option but has the added benefit of also reducing your RF exposure. If you are looking at these types of solutions we recommend booking a consultation where we can assess your environment and recommend the most suitable reduction methods and/or products for your space.