Dirty Electricity from LEDs

Dirty Electricity from LEDs - Electric Fields

Dirty Electricity from LEDs

Many folks interested high fidelity sound systems or low-EMF environments want to minimize electromagnetic interference (AKA: EMI, High-Voltage Transients, Electrical Noise, and Dirty Electricity) from lighting systems. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) – the curly pig tail variety with some mercury in them – are notoriously “dirty” and create significant EMI. As the lighting industry and energy code gravitate toward Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), more and more are curious about dirty electricity from LEDs.


LED Dirty Electricity Pie Chart for One Bulb

LED Dirty Electricity Pie Chart for One Bulb

Method for Testing Dirty Electricity from LEDs

While there are many methods for testing dirty electricity, this is how we embarked on this quick comparison study of several bulbs with satisfactory other lighting characteristics.

Magnetic Field (MF) and Electric Field (EF) strength were measured with a Gigahertz Solutions NFA 1000 Low Frequency EMF Meter. MF and EF measurements were recorded at distances of 1 inch, 3 inches, 6 inches, and 12 inches from each bulb. To provide consistency, lamp and extension cord positions were not moved during or between sampling events for each lightbulb. Graphs and tables of collected data are displayed below. CREE, Tala, FEIT Electric, USHIO Utopia 2, Sylvania, and Sunlite A19 bulbs were tested, as well as GE Helical and GE Reveal compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) and an incandescent bulb from an unknown brand. EF and MF levels were also measured with no bulb attached for ambient concentrations.

Charts Comparing EMI from Various LED Bulbs

Dirty Electricity from LEDs - Magnetic Fields

Dirty Electricity from LEDs – Magnetic Fields

Dirty Electricity from LEDs - Electric Fields

Dirty Electricity from LEDs – Electric Fields

Dirty Electricity From LEDs Bandwidth Comparison Chart

Dirty Electricity From LEDs Bandwidth Comparison Chart

Results from Dirty Electricity Testing of LEDs

The highest Dirty Electricity from LEDs MF levels were observed with the CREE and GE Helical bulbs. These bulbs measured above 20 milligauss (mG) at a 1 inch distance, while all other bulbs measured below 4 mG at the same distance. The Tala and Sunlite A19 bulb measurements were similar to ambient levels.

The highest EF levels were observed with the CREE, Sunlite A19, and incandescent bulbs. All bulbs were measured at higher than observed at ambient concentrations.

The CREE, Tala, and FEIT Electric bulbs measured the highest in dirty electricity.

The 50/60 Hertz electricity bandwidth range of the Tala, Sunlite A19, and incandescent bulbs contributed to over 97% of the total electric field; The 50/60 Hertz range of the Sylvania, USHIO Utopia 2, FEIT Electric, and CREE bulbs contributed to over 85% of the total electric field; The 50/60 Hertz range of the GE Helical and GE Reveal CFL Bulbs contributed to 59% and 71% respectively of the total electric field.

We thank Clear Light Ventures for funding this study and supporting education about dirty electricity and impacts to human health and wellbeing.

This is our third blog about LEDs and dirty electricity. See EMF LED Blog 1 and Not All LEDs are The Same for Dirty Electricity Blog 2 for additional information.

6 Responses to “Dirty Electricity from LEDs”

  1. Alex Stadtner says :

    I don’t understand this either. What are you measuring? What unit of EMF or dirty-electricity. “Ecosmart” sounds fishy!

  2. TONY says :

    i have 100 watt equivalent Ecosmart LED bulbs. The light fixture holds 4 bulbs. Measuring 3 feet from the light fixture, one LED bulb and the h-field is below 1. The second one makes the h-field go over 2. The third makes the h-field measure over 3 and the fourth over 4. I don’t understand this, and not sure what to do.

  3. Alex Stadtner says :

    Sorry to hear you’re not sleeping well and suspect EMF from the nearby AC condensers. There’s not a standard rate of EMF emissions from AC units, so without testing we cannot estimate the level of EMF 6 feet away. You can get a meter or contact a Building Biologist to perform an EMF survey. You may find other internal sources that are actually more significant than the AC units. You never know… until you test.
    Hope you can get some shut-eye,

  4. Tanya Faith says :

    I just moved to Tennessee, and am living in an apartment on the first floor. Outside my bedroom window are a grouping of six HVAC AC compressor units, two of which are a foot from my bedroom window. I am very concerned about the EMFs these compressor units emit and my exposure to electromagnetic waves. Besides being extremely noisy, I have not been sleeping good at night due to a variety of weird symptoms such as itchy skin, racing internal energy, restlessness and rapid heart rate. I plan on moving my bed about 6ft away from the outside wall that is by the compressor units and my bedroom window. Do you know how high the EMF levels are with AC compressor units? Can you recommend protective measures to insulate myself from the harmful effects of A/C compressor radiation. Thank you!!

  5. Alex Stadtner says :

    We’re not familiar with the Meterk meter. Not even sure what it measures. Assuming it’s a magnetic field meter and you’re measuring 44 milliGauss, that would generally be considered quite high for a sleeping area. Copper screening would do little or nothing to mitigate magnetic fields. Hire a Building Biologist to come and perform an EMF survey of your place. You’ll learn a lot and they can show you how to use the meter, etc. Best of luck.

  6. Loretta player says :

    I just bought a Meterk and don’t know how to measure my smart reader.I don’t understand what I’m trying to learn about mg .What is high and what is normal.I get a reading of 44.0 is that high? I just need some kind of gauge list so I know what’s bad and what’s good.I have a two ply copper screening behind it in my kitchen have no idea if that helps some like a Faraday cage. Please help!

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