With all of our devices, power lines are essential in our electricity-driven world. This is apparent every time there’s a power outage, and we can’t use our microwave, cell phones, and TVs. But you may not have considered what it’s like to live near, or even under, power lines.
Living near power lines can help you find your dream home under budget, often in a less-crowded neighborhood. Plus, it pretty much guarantees that you always have electricity first. However, it can also make selling your home difficult, require extra paperwork, and even pose a health risk.
Read on to find out the various pros and cons of living near or under power lines. Armed with the right information, you’ll truly have the power to make the right decision for you and your family.
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What Exactly Are Power Lines?
The local power company sets up power lines for power and electrical energy distribution across large distances. Large towers or poles feature between one to three uninsulated electrical cables running between towers. The cables can be underground but, in most cases, run overhead.
What Are the Pros of Living Near Power Lines?
Living near power lines isn’t a very popular option, so for this reason, you’ll find less crowded neighborhoods. You’ll also find more bang for your buck when it comes to property prices.
Finally, living near power lines can ensure that you have more power and power restored before others in an outage.
1. Living Near Power Lines Is Often Less Crowded
Because there’s somewhat of a stigma with living near power lines, which we’ll describe later– it’s not everyone’s first choice. Therefore, neighborhoods are typically less crowded, which often means more space between houses. Less densely packed neighborhoods mean less traffic, noise, and pollution.
2. Living Near Power Lines Can Be Cheaper
Also, living near power lines can be less expensive because it’s often slightly less desirable than a different neighborhood. This can mean that you’ll get the same or comparable home for less simply because it’s near power lines. Because of the cheaper cost and less crowded neighborhoods, you’re also likely to get a much larger property size.
Living near power lines can be an excellent way to get your dream home on a first home budget. It’s also a great idea for a starter home while you budget and save for something more expensive. Plus, oftentimes, property developers make the homes near power lines more spacious and beautiful to increase their marketability.
3. Living Near Power Lines Is Powerful
Pardon the pun, but living near power lines can be very powerful. For starters, since you’re closer, you will likely get a higher voltage as opposed to a home 40 houses down.This higher voltage has some perks. You’ll notice this in your appliances and in the way that your entire home can seem to run more efficiently.
Also, in the instance of a power outage, living near power lines can be one of the best places to be. It’s likely the power company will restore power to the main poles first. Living near power lines can be convenient, especially in areas that are prone to severe weather. Since you’re so close, this means that your grid will likely have power before many others you know.
4. No Reported Health Concerns
While there have been rumors over the years of various health issues associated with living near power lines, there is no scientific proof to back up these claims. Health organizations, including the WHO, have no discovered any concrete evidence that links EMF exposure to serious health concerns. In 2002, the World Health Organization carried out research to determine if there was a link between electric/ magnetic fields and human health.
Their findings showed no strong evidence that any mutation is directly caused by low-frequency magnetic fields. Plus, they found no evidence to support that electromagnetic fields cause cancer.
5. Living Near Power Lines is Safe
Governments typically have restriction laws in place regarding housing projects placed near power lines. According to the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), underground pipes, fences, cables, and other sections of a home must be no less than 50 meters away from the closest tower. There are also laws that dictate other activities, like farming, shooting, and flying kites under the lines that help make it safer to live nearby.
Even though homes may be located near power lines, they are placed at a safe distance. With minimum space in between homes and power lines required by restriction laws, the risk of EMF exposure and electrocution is reduced.
6. Those Who Live Near Power Lines Enjoy Free Yard Maintenance
Yes, you read that right. When you let trees grow unpruned near power lines, there’s a high risk that they can fall during a storm. For this reason, proper yard maintenance is required to control growth. It can be both labor intensive and expensive, especially if you live in an area with tons of trees.
However, if you live near power lines, the power company will typically do all the tree maintenance for you as it can interfere with the grid. An affordable, beautiful, safe home with free yard maintenance? You can’t beat that deal!
The Cons of Living Near Power Lines
Power Lines have a lot of buzz about them, quite literally, and this can often lead to extra noise and paperwork. There are also claims that living near power lines could cause various medical problems, including cancer and hallucinations.
1. Living Near Power Lines Can Lower Your Property Value
Articles have claimed that living near power lines can lower property values by 30%, but there isn’t supporting evidence. A recent study on the West Coast found an almost 300K home sold for an average of $5,000 less. A $500,000 house sold for $12,500 less on average when near power lines, just 2.5% lower.
2. Living Near Power Lines Can Be Noisy
If you’ve ever heard how quiet it is when the power is out, you know there’s a “hum” to electricity. When the field strength on the high voltage line conductor is greater than the surrounding air, it emits a noise. This isn’t a loud noise, but it could be enough to bother you if you love stone-cold silence. The noise can also create fear in potential buyers, making your home more difficult to sell.
3. It Can Be Hard to Sell a Home Near Power Lines
Because of some of the aforementioned issues, it can be more challenging to sell a home near power lines. Generally speaking, there is a ton of negative perception surrounding purchasing a home near power lines. It can make people uncomfortable, thus, unwilling to buy such homes.
Surprisingly, though, it’s not difficult to rent a home near power lines as most tenants stay for a year on average. While you may be tempted not to disclose the lines, the real estate agents must mention this info.
This may also mean extra disclosure paperwork in your listing as well as within your selling agreement. Future homeowners may want to schedule inspections to ensure that the home is safe for proximity to power lines.
4. Some People Think Living Near Power Lines Causes Cancer
There’s long been a debate about living near power lines and whether this can cause certain types of cancer. EMF, or Electric Magnetic Fields (also known as radiation), are produced by power lines.
Although early studies in the 1970s linked leukemia and cancer in children to EMFs, later studies have produced mixed results. These EMFs are also found in electrical smart meters, cordless telephones, and even in WiFi networks. According to Cancer.gov, the currently published classification of EMFs is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
While there’s no link between cancer and power lines, if you’re anxious, you might want to think twice before moving. Just the thought that something is bad for you can cause depression and more symptoms to pop up.
5. It’s Thought that Living Near Power Lines Can Drive You Crazy
The World Health Organization posted a report in 2006 about EMFs and Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity to clear up these issues. Many people are susceptible to EMFs, and experience headache, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances, and even skin prickling.
Some have taken these theories to extremes, citing how EMFs have taken over their brain waves. Others believe that certain EMFs, like 5G cellular service, are a method of foreign mind-control or manipulation. While these theories are widespread, there really isn’t evidence to prove them other than what WHO has stated is possible.
6. You Have to Be Extra Careful of Downed Power Lines
There’s always a chance of power lines falling or swaying in a storm, hurricane, or other wind disturbance. If you live beneath power lines, always be extra aware of lines that are low-hanging or touching the ground. Make sure to trim trees and branches that could come into contact with power lines and to take necessary precautions.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether you might hit a power line, always call the electric utility company first. And always assume that every line that’s down, even if it’s not making noise or sparking, is a live wire. Don’t ever touch a power line for any reason because it can result in death.
7. Living Near Power Lines Comes with Property Restrictions
While property restrictions increase the safety of your home near power lines, these restrictions limit what you can do with your property after you’ve purchased it. For instance, if you have plans to expand the home or install additional amenities, the restrictions may not allow you to do so. Since these projects can impact the power lines, especially if located too close, the law might not permit specific modifications.
How close is too close when living near power lines?
There are certain laws in each state and region regarding how close homes can be to power lines. If your home is a newer build, you’re probably already in the safe zone due to more stringent recent laws. You may want to double-check if you’re purchasing or leasing an older home.
The current thinking is that a magnetic field can reach distances of 10 to 200 feet. A generally accepted safe distance away from power lines (due to their higher power) is 700 feet.
Who can I call for more information about power lines?
Your local power utility should be able to give you any requested information on power lines. This information should be on your monthly power bill. You can also look it up in a government or city directory.If you suspect that a power line is down, you should call the emergency utility number or 911.
Can living near power lines cause headaches?
The strength of magnetic fields is more potent than electricity naturally found inside a human body. When our bodies react to this change in current, it can produce things like nausea and headaches for most people. However, this isn’t well-documented, so you should keep a good track of your symptoms to determine the cause.
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What We’ve Learned
Basically, there is no sufficient evidence to prove that living near power lines can cause cancer or hallucinations. While some may be sensitive to EMFs, you should evaluate the situation based on what is best for each person. Living near power lines can be a way to get a dream home for less than a comparable property elsewhere.
Though you may end up having a lower value when you decide to sell, it’s not as much as advertised. Whether for a year or thirty, living near power lines can be the way to score a home for less. If you decide to live near power lines and go for it, you’ll find it can be electrifying.
Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent’s former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.
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Do power lines affect property value? ›
Other studies and authors have found a correlation between power lines and a decrease in property values at approximately 2 to 9 percent. For example,if your home value is $250,000,its value will decrease by $5,000 to $22,500 approximately. Properties near power lines do sell for less.How far does radiation travel from power lines? ›
If the power lines are more than 300 feet away, there should be no cause for concern. At this distance EMF from the lines is no different from typical levels around the home. If the power lines are less than 300 feet away from the home, you may want to obtain EMF measurements in the yard.How far from power lines is safe house? ›
Always maintain a distance of at least 10 feet from overhead lines and more than 10 feet if the voltage to ground is over 50 kilovolts (50,000 volts).Can living near power lines cause headaches? ›
No consistent relationship between extremely low frequency fields and self-reported symptoms such as fatigue, headache, and concentration difficulties has been demonstrated. For some other diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, recent research indicates that a link with extremely low frequency fields is unlikely.Is there a problem living under power lines? ›
Health effects of electric and magnetic fields
Some studies suggest that there may be a link between living near power lines, or in houses with strong magnetic fields produced by other sources, and a small increase in the number of children with leukaemia.
Downed power lines can carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or even death. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage zone – and it could do that through your body.What happens if a power line hits your house? ›
If a powerline falls on your home, the safest option is to remain inside until you can contact your electric company. The electric company will cut the power to your home or street so you can safely exit your home without fear of electrocution. While in your home, don't run any water and avoid touching anything metal.How low should a power line be to a house? ›
(2) They shall be kept not less than 12 feet vertically above any part of buildings or structures over which they pass.What does EMF do to your body? ›
EMFs influence metabolic processes in the human body and exert various biological effects on cells through a range of mechanisms. EMF disrupts the chemical structures of tissue since a high degree electromagnetic energy absorption can change the electric current in the body .What are the symptoms of EMF radiation poisoning? ›
The symptoms most commonly experienced include dermatological symptoms (redness, tingling, and burning sensations) as well as neurasthenic and vegetative symptoms (fatigue, tiredness, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitation, and digestive disturbances).
What does EMF do to the brain? ›
It has been found that RF-EMF can induce changes in central nervous system nerve cells, including neuronal cell apoptosis, changes in the function of the nerve myelin and ion channels; furthermore, RF-EMF act as a stress source in living creatures.How far should you live away from overhead power lines? ›
How far away from power lines should you live? Under the current laws, you will need to live at least 50 metres away from a power line as living within 50 metres is considered to be a safety risk.How far can power lines carry electricity? ›
A typical maximum transmission distance is about 300 miles (483 km). High-voltage transmission lines are quite obvious when you see them. They are normally made of huge steel towers like this: All power towers like this have three wires for the three phases.Do power lines cause radiation? ›
EMR associated with power lines is a type of low frequency non-ionizing radiation. Electric fields are produced by electric charges, and magnetic fields are produced by the flow of electrical current through wires or electrical devices.Can power lines cause anxiety? ›
EMF regulation (2016) clearly noted that long-term low-dose electromagnetic radiation exposure can lead to central nervous system dysfunction (Van, 2000; Wijngaarden, 2000). EMF exposure can cause neurobehavioral disorders, including circadian imbalance, headache, fatigue, depression and anxiety.What are the side effects of living near a power plant? ›
These pollutants are known to contribute to adverse health outcomes, including the development of heart or lung diseases, such as asthma and bronchitis, increased susceptibility to respiratory and cardiac symptoms, greater numbers of emergency room visits and hospital admissions, and premature deaths.Does electromagnetic radiation cause health problems? ›
Despite extensive research, to date there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health.Do power lines affect plants? ›
Vegetation doesn't even have to touch power lines to be dangerous. In the case of high-voltage transmission lines, under certain circumstances electricity can jump or arc several feet across the space between wires and vegetation or between wires and other objects connected to the ground.Why are power lines bad for the environment? ›
Transmission line construction causes disturbance of ROW soils and vegetation through the movement of people and vehicles along the ROW, access roads, and laydown areas. These activities can contribute to the spread of invasive species.Should I be concerned about living close to power lines? ›
Exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields has been studied extensively, and there is no evidence that it is harmful to human health, according to the World Health Organization.
Should you walk near power lines? ›
First and foremost, electricity can be hazardous to your health if you come into direct contact with it! Do not go near downed power lines! If you are near lines which have come down, do NOT walk away! Shuffle!What are the benefits of power lines? ›
- Lower cost. Overhead power lines are a less expensive way to get power to your home. ...
- Quicker construction. Overhead lines can be installed relatively quickly, since there's no need to trench.
- Easier to spot damage and faults. ...
- Can be built anywhere.
- Any voltage can be placed overhead.
- A pooled analysis of nine studies reported a twofold increase in risk of childhood leukemia among children with exposures of 0.4 μT or higher. ...
- A meta-analysis of 15 studies observed a 1.7-fold increase in childhood leukemia among children with exposures of 0.3 μT or higher.
80% of global power theft is by direct tapping from the line. The consumer taps into a power line from a point ahead of the energy meter. This energy consumption is unmeasured and procured with or without switches. It can cause severe electric shock or fire outbreak.How are power lines attached to house? ›
Your service mast's wires connect with your home's larger electrical system via your electrical meter. Specifically, the wires hook into the meter through a meter socket. The meter socket is located on top of the meter beneath a protective covering.Can you build a deck under power lines? ›
Do not install tree houses, playsets or swing sets, pools or decks and any associated structures within 25 feet of a power line. Consider the height and reach of play equipment (including the arc of a swing) and all deck and pool structures in relation to power lines.How far should electric line be buried? ›
Direct buried cables or cables in flexible nonmetallic enclosures shall be installed at a depth of at least 36 inches.Can EMF affect your heart? ›
EMF exposure can affect structure and function of cardiovascular system and may facilitate myocardial infarction by nuclear changing of cardiomyocytes. Exposure to EMFs induced pain or pressure in the chest area, heart palpitations and/or an irregular heartbeat.Do cell phones emit EMF? ›
Cell phones emit radiation in the radiofrequency region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Second-, third-, and fourth-generation cell phones (2G, 3G, 4G) emit radiofrequency in the frequency range of 0.7–2.7 GHz. Fifth-generation (5G) cell phones are anticipated to use the frequency spectrum up to 80 GHz.Does EMF affect immune system? ›
Studies have shown that long-term exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produced by technology causes inhibitory effects on the immune response and increases oxidation.
How do you remove radiation from your body? ›
Use soap and plenty of water. If you do not have access to a sink or faucet, use a moist wipe, clean wet cloth, or a damp paper towel to wipe the parts of your body that were uncovered. Pay special attention to your hands and face.How do you test for radiation in your body? ›
A device called a dosimeter can measure the absorbed dose of radiation but only if it was exposed to the same radiation event as the affected person. Survey meter. A device such as a Geiger counter can be used to survey people to determine the body location of radioactive particles. Type of radiation.What are the 4 stages of radiation sickness? ›
Patients with acute radiation syndrome (ARS) classically go through four clinical phases: prodrome, latency, manifest illness, and either recovery or death. During the prodromal phase, they usually present with nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and even loss of consciousness at higher doses.How does EMF affect sleep? ›
Conclusions. There are many indications that electromagnetic fields from mobile telecommunications influence brain activity during sleep. This does not affect the quality of sleep. Overall the results show that high frequency EMFs have no health-relevant influence on sleep.Can EMF cause Parkinson's? ›
Currently, there is no known mechanism by which exposures to electromagnetic fields can cause neurodegenerative diseases. However, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and ALS share common factors: they are chronic, progressive and, to date, have no cure.How can we reduce radiation exposure in the home? ›
- Close and lock windows and doors.
- Take a shower or wipe exposed parts of your body with a damp cloth.
- Drink bottled water and eat food in sealed containers.
- DO NOT get out of your vehicle.
- Call 911 and your local utility service for help.
- Wait for the electrical utility to come and they will tell you when it is safe to get out of your vehicle.
Increased Fire Hazard
One of the biggest drawbacks of living next to power lines is the higher risk of fire. Even if you maintain your yard and home well, electrical fires can still be a serious risk. This is doubly true in an area with power lines.
Other studies and authors have found a correlation between power lines and a decrease in property values at approximately 2 to 9 percent. For example,if your home value is $250,000,its value will decrease by $5,000 to $22,500 approximately. Properties near power lines do sell for less.Do power lines lose power over distance? ›
The transmission over long distances creates power losses. The major part of the energy losses comes from Joule effect in transformers and power lines. The energy is lost as heat in the conductors. The overall losses between the power plant and consumers is then in the range between 8 and 15%.
What is a disadvantage of underground power lines? ›
Underground systems are protected from strong winds and falling trees. They also look better aesthetically. However, buried lines are susceptible to water and excavation damage, and can take longer to repair because the damaged area is usually more difficult to locate.What are the pros and cons of above ground power lines? ›
- More expensive to build and repair.
- Fed by overhead lines. ...
- Susceptible to flooding.
- Difficult to locate faults.
A shock can affect the nervous system
Nerves are tissue that offers very little resistance to the passage of an electric current. When nerves are affected by an electric shock, the consequences include pain, tingling, numbness, weakness or difficulty moving a limb.
If your property borders a transmission corridor, avoid planting new trees directly beneath power lines or too close to electrical equipment. Vegetation growing near high-voltage lines is hazardous in two respects — safety and reliability.What are the impacts of power lines? ›
These potential effects include long-term changes to habitat, bird strikes, access issues, noise effects and associated avoidance behaviour, and electric and magnetic fields.What is the advantage and disadvantages? ›
As nouns, the difference between disadvantage and advantage is that disadvantage is a weakness or undesirable characteristic; a con while the advantage is any condition, circumstance, opportunity, or means, particularly favorable to success, or any desired end.Which is better underground or overhead power lines? ›
Are underground feeds better than overhead feeds? The short answer is, yes, underground is preferable to overhead, mostly due to the protection feeders get from being buried, but underground service equipment can be much more expensive than similar overhead feeds, and both come with significant safety concerns.What are the advantages of powerlines? ›
They provide a wired connection without Ethernet. Powerline uses you homes electrical cables so there is no requirement to install any additional cables. As the installation of Ethernet cables can be time consuming (or potentially expensive), using Powerline could save you time and money.What are the dangers of overhead power lines? ›
DANGER – OVERHEAD POWER LINES
Working within 10 feet of overhead power lines increases the risk of electrical shock from accidental contact with these lines. Workers are exposed to the risk of death by electrocution or serious and disabling injuries.
Most scientists believe that exposure to the low-level EMFs near power lines is safe, but some scientists continue research to look for possible health risks associated with these fields. If there are any risks such as cancer associated with living near power lines, then it is clear that those risks are small.
How deep are underground power lines? ›
Typically, sewage lines, electrical lines, and telephone lines not in a conduit are buried approximately two feet underground. Finally, water pipes, electrical lines, and larger sewage pipes are typically buried three feet underground.