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EMF Best Practices

by / Wednesday, 27 March 2013 / Published in Green Building Consulting
Demand Switch - Low EMF Best Practice

This is part of the series on the Healthy Home Standard, and this second part about EMR is a follow up from an earlier post (EMF Rules of Thumb). EMF best practices covers low frequency electric and magnetic fields, as well as Radio Frequency (RF) radiation.

EMF best practices are intended to reduce exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) and Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation – often combined in the term “electromagnetic radiation,” or “EMR”. These low-EMR measures include how to install wiring, heating/AC, and other tips on items such as transformers for pool or outside lighting. For information on how far to locate a building from known point sources (e.g., power lines, cell towers, electrical transformers), please visit the previous EMF Rules of Thumb blog.

I find these guidelines useful for pre-purchase real estate decisions, and also for healthy building construction and remodels.

EMF Best Practices – Part 2 of 2

Electrical System Installation for Low-EMR:

  • All rooms are wired for high speed Internet using Cat 5e or 6 cable
  • All rooms wired for phone service using shielded cable
  • There is no wireless Internet or cordless phones in house
  • There are no cell phone booster stations in house
  •  All circuit breakers are accurately labeled as to area/devices serviced
EMF Best Practices

No Cell Phone Repeater Stations – This Nice Signage from Doctor’s Office

Low-EMR Heating Via Forced Air:

  • If there is air-conditioning, the AC condenser & Freon lines are more than ten feet of any point on any bed or any HUR
  • If there is a forced air system for ventilation, heating or air-conditioning, the Air Handling Unit (AHU) or Forced Air Unit (FAU) fan motor is located more than 10 feet from any point on any bed or any HUR

Low-EMF Electric Radiant Heat:

  • Ceiling or floor radiant electric heat designed to cancel magnetic fields
  • If heat is by electric baseboard, electric baseboard heaters are located more than 5 feet any point on any bed
EMF Best Practices

Low EMF Electric Radiant Heat – ThermoSoft Has An Option

ThermoSoft seems to have a good low-EMF electric radiant heating system that accounts for both magnetic AND electric fields. However, it’s not “zero-EMF” as they claim.

Low-EMF Wiring In A Bedroom:

Using only one of the following 3 strategies is necessary – each strategy is intended to minimize electric fields.

  • Wiring above, below, around bedrooms is metal clad (MC) cable or electrical metallic conduit
  • Wiring above, below, around every bedroom can be shut off with a kill switch
  • Wiring above, below, around every bedroom can be shut off with a remote control switch operating a relay located at the electric panel
EMF Best Practices

Remote Control Demand Switch – EMF Best Practice for Reducing Electric Fields in a Bedroom

Pool and Spa Pumps & Outdoor Lighting Transformers

  • If there is a pool or spa, the pool or spa pump or outdoor lighting transformer is located more than 5 feet from any bed or any HUR

These EMF Best Practices have been established for many years, and we have seen them implemented successfully in projects around the world. They are tried and proven best practices for reducing EMF. I’m grateful to the Building Biologists that came before me… and not only created this handy resource, but also were kind enough to share!

If you’re doing a remodel or building from scratch, following these best practices will get you a “better than average home.” To take it to the next level, consider hiring a Healthy Building Consultant!

If you agree that the USGBC/LEED should consider EMF in their “green building rating system,” please join us in signing this petition.

Backstory : LEED Denies EMF Credit

Petition : USGBC Accept EMF Credit

2 Responses to “EMF Best Practices”

  1. advantairhvac says :

    Thank you so much!

  2. Barb Nicholls says :

    We are renting a cottage in North Carolina month to month for about 6 months. The motor for the Mitsubishi split air conditioner/heater (HVAC) is located directly behind the wall of our headboard outside of this wood framed cottage. It is installed only 5 inches from the outside wall of the cottage and mounted directly to the outside wall which also vibrates the entire room.
    ​ The motor houses the wiring for 2 spilt air systems–one in the living room and one in our bedroom. It is disturbing our sleep. Our heads vibrate when the motor is activated by a drop in temperature. More importantly we are concerned about the EMF directly behind our heads since our brains are the core of our central nervous systems. We have turned down the temperature setting to prevent it from activating the motor more often, but any further lowering of the temp setting might endanger the pipes on freezing nights.
    There is a circuit breaker panel also in our bedroom housing circuits for the washer and dryer, hvac, water heater, stove, 4 ceiling fans, 5 rooms of electrical outlets, and refrigerator. It is about 3 feet from the foot of our bed. However, if we turn our bed around to remove ourselves further from the HVAC motor the circuit breaker panel would be 3 feet from our heads making the HVAC motor now also 3 feet from our feet rather than directly behind heads as it now stands. But it would block our closet which is doable. We could also move the bed 1 to 1 1/2 feet from the outside wall housing the HVAC placing the bed basically in the middle of the room. That way we would be 1 to 1 1/2 feet further from the HVAC EMF’s and the electrical circuit breaker panel would still be nearer to our feet rather than our heads.
    Do you think there is any danger from the EMF’s from the HVAC and electrical circuit breaker panel? We have never sleep with a HVAC motor directly behind our heads nor an electrical circuit breaker in our bedroom.
    Thank you kindly for your reply.

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