What is the problem of taking a house near a transformer?

What is the problem of taking a house near a transformer?

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Author & Real Estate Expert :Monika L

Monika is a successful Property manager and also an Avid writer. Monika loves writing all about Real Estate.

When we were planning to purchase our second home, our Finance consultant suggested to avoid house that has any transformers around as the banks /lenders may create issues with it. I tried to google about it but din’t find much info. 

So , I did a bit of research, spoke to some of the council guys and Electricians and found out the following info and would love to share it  with you all.

When it comes to life milestones, purchasing house — whether it’s a dream home or an investment property — is one of the most significant, but it can also be daunting and stressful at times.

There are many things to consider while buying a house. The Question is Is it safe to have a home near a transformer? Read on…

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Is it safe to have a home near a transformer?

Electric box is in my yard. SAFE or NOT?

It is safe to use as long as the box is sealed and secured with screws, a good gasket fitted around the outside, and a grounding rod with a bare copper ground wire coming from the power and the box twised together. 

They do this since there are no structures on the property yet.

If there is a transformer on the ground or on a pole, the utility has an easement over that piece of property. 
It is effectively “not your property,” with rigors regulations governing its design and construction.
If it is installed after your electricity metre, it is your obligation to follow all safety standards and codes. If you believe it is unsafe, you must pay for professional upgrades to make it so.

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House near a Transformer

How dangerous is electrical transformer/Substations for human health if it is near to house?

Power lines and other electrical sources are not far from where I want to live or work.

Magnetic fields generated by power lines, substations, transformers and other electrical sources have not been shown to cause any health problems. 

It’s possible that extended exposure to greater than normal magnetic fields may raise the incidence of leukaemia in youngsters, according to epidemiological research.

As the amount of current carried by a high-voltage (HV) powerline increases, so too does the amount of magnetic field exposure for residences located near the powerline. 

For residences more than 50 metres away from a high voltage powerline, magnetic fields are predicted to be lower than usual. 

Magnetic fields at distances of 5 to 10 metres away from substations and transformers can be indistinguishable from usual background levels in the house. 

The magnetic field levels observed by ARPANSA near powerlines and in Australian residences are shown in the image below. 

These are significantly below the worldwide recommendation of 200 T, which is a safe level of exposure (2000 mG).

This transformer sits atop a 14,400 volt underground power line near the edge of my three acre property. 

It is wired to supply my home with up to 200 amperes of current at 240 volts through an underground conduit. Since that transformer is capable of supplying far in excess of what my house will ever need, 

It’ll never be overloaded because 200 amperes at 240 volts is just 48,000 volt-amperes. 

That is less than one-seventh of the transformer’s maximum capacity. 

Not surprisingly the transformer never even gets warm. Its excess capacity allows it to deliver a full 120+ volts or 240+ volts to the power outlets in my house no matter how many electrical devices I’m using. 

I believe that transformer installation ADDS value to my home. It certainly does not diminish it.

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Transformer

What are the Dangers of pad-mounted transformers

Transformers should always be accessible.

If a pad-mounted transformer is in a public utility easement across your property, please keep an eight-foot walkway open in front of the unit. 

The transformer’s entrance opens at the front, and it is padlocked.

Make sure you don’t block the transformer’s front. Fences, plants, trees, and storage sheds are examples of obstructions. 

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Any impediment can:

Create safety hazards for employees attempting to get access to the transformer.

Service restoration should be postponed during power interruptions.

Problems may arise during ordinary equipment maintenance.

It is a requirement of the many council Utility Service Regulation to provide City staff with safe and unimpeded access to its electrical equipment at all times.

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Keep an eye out for Transformers.

Avoid coming into touch with a pad-mounted transformer for your own safety. Also, never let your youngsters play on or around transformers.

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If there is a transformer box close to a house, how much value will the house lose?

Do transformer boxes decrease property value ?

Transformers are often located in the rear of a property’s utility easement in areas with underground electric lines, as is the case in my neighbourhood.

On the other hand, at my  cousin’s house in Austin, the boxes are being placed on the front land between the houses. 

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My best estimate is that the utility easements are located in front of the residences. They appear a little awkward from the front.

In the absence of other considerations, I would prefer not to have a value deduction in front of my name. A few feet away, in the front yard, is another.

Older homes in the United States are powered by wires strung from wooden utility poles to the dwelling. 

A transformer (or possibly a set of transformers) will be installed high on one of the poles, converting the higher voltage of the local grid (about 1500V) to the residential voltage (240V). About 10 to 15 dwellings are served by a single transformer.

Newer dwellings in newer developments will get their power from a transformer (or set of transformers) in a ground-level cabinet via underground conduit (which receives a 1500V feed from the grid – probably via underground cables that eventually connect to an arial system on poles at the border of the development.).

The cabinet is likely to be somewhat hidden by some landscaping, although the electrical distribution company has a “right of way” in order to access it. 

The underground conduits serving the individual homes will also involve a right-of-way for servicing, etc.

The arial system also involves rights-of-way so that the electrical distribution company can access the system.

For neighbourhoods served by a arial system, the rights of way impacts almost every property (except a few edge cases.)

I doubt that it’s possible to determine a specific “loss” for any property – the proximity of the electrical cabinet (or transformer) could even be considered a positive as any repairs involving the connection to the nearby house would be easier to coordinate and perform.

The other differences in homes, landscaping, location, condition, etc. are far more significant.

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Anything that detracts from the home’s appearance will lower its worth, especially if it’s visible from the street. Furthermore, some people will be concerned about the possibilities of electric and magnetic fields, which some believe might cause cancer.

However, if you can get a good deal on a house, you might be able to buy it. You’ll almost certainly provide the same discount every time you sell. Seek the advice of a skilled local real estate agent.

How much radiation is emitted from a pad mounted transformer box, and is there any risk for kids to live in a house that has one in the yard?

Does the usage of electrical appliances have any negative impact on one’s health?

The neurological system can be affected by high amounts of ELF EMF exposure. In contrast, significant amounts of ELF EMF from electrical sources are not often encountered in the common environment. 

Although these exposures are extremely rare, there are worldwide rules on exposure limits that are designed to prevent documented negative consequences.

Exposure to ELF EMF from electrical sources below the exposure limit has been the subject of extensive investigation. 

ELF EMF exposure in the environment, especially near power lines, does not pose a concern to human health, according to the vast majority of studies. 

However, several epidemiological (population) studies have indicated a probable link between long-term exposure to ELF magnetic fields at levels below the exposure limits but greater than what is commonly encountered and increased incidences of juvenile leukaemia.. 

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classed ELF magnetic fields as potentially carcinogenic to humans based on this data.

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Electricity and health

Power lines, substations, transformers, ordinary electrical appliances, and wiring all produce extremely low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic forces (EMF). 

We are continually exposed to ELF EMF because we live in an environment that is always surrounded by electrical sources. 

It is feared that exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMF) might produce health problems, such as leukaemia in youngsters.

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Maximum distance from transformer to house

Aluminum triplex cables will be used for 240/120V drops from pole mounted transformers to dwellings in the United States.

The standard maximum length is 150 to 200 feet. 

Any longer than that will result in an excessive voltage loss when under heavy load (A/C, cooking, lighting, etc.). 

The electricity provider will attempt to instal a pole in an alley and then drop to at least four houses all within that maximum length. In typical residential sizes, 

#2 Al is rated for 150 amps and #2/0 is rated for 200 amps.

Transformers are usually protected, and there isn’t much magnetic dispersion. 

The main issue is a hum at twice the grid frequency, which is relatively low frequency but can cause a glitch in the audio spectrum, as well as vibrations from large transformers. 

The frequency is too low to cause significant disruption from an EM standpoint.

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Does radiation from the electrical grid impact human health?

According to the handbook of the International  Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation , ourinteraction with the alternating electric field causes electric charges to flow in the human body and the reorientation of electric dipoles in the tissues(Source)

While magnetic fields create electrical currents activating the neurone, muscle and sensory cells

It has been suggested that low frequency radiation at low intensities does not contain enough energy (photons) and so our body can’t distinguish them from the natural electromagnetic waves produced by the body (thermal noise) (thermal noise).

But research since 1977 (Adey and Bawin) has revealed that organisms may react to external electromagnetic signals of a very low intensity and have an even larger reaction to them than from stronger signals.

The explanation of the phenomena of cell amplification of an external signal gained Gilbert and Rodbell the Nobel Prize in 1994. 

The G proteins combine many signals from outside the cell and activate various cell amplification mechanisms. Because of this a single photon of electromagnetic energy is sufficient to trigger huge calcium entry into the cells, activating various biological actions(Source)

Purchasing, selling, or residing in close proximity to a substation/Transformers

 Is it necessary for you to understand electric and magnetic fields if you are purchasing, selling, or living in a home near a power power station?

If you answered yes to this question, it is likely that you will need to learn about electromagnetic fields (EMFs) quite fast. 

EMFs may be found everywhere around us. 

Every time electricity is utilised, electric and magnetic fields are generated; in contemporary life, these fields are all around us all of the time. 

Substations are a source, although they are just one of many possible sources of energy.

When voltage is applied, electric fields are formed, and when current is applied, magnetic fields are produced. Magnetic fields are the primary source of worry when there is apprehension.

The majority of people’s exposure to EMFs comes from the distribution wires that run down the street and from the wiring in their own houses. 

When we are in close proximity to electrical equipment, we might also experience increased field exposures for a brief period of time. 

When we are not at home, we may be exposed to EMFs at places such as schools, industries, and workplaces, as well as when we use electric transportation and when we go shopping.

High-voltage power lines generate stronger fields than substations when they are connected to the energy grid. 

In general, not many individuals live in close proximity to (say, within 100 metres) a high-voltage power line in their neighbourhood. 

Despite the fact that more people live in close proximity to a substation of some form or another, even if you live in close proximity, they seldom raise the field much – see more details below.

Homeowners who live in areas where there are no power lines should expect a magnetic field in the general volume of their house to vary from 0.01 T to 0.2 T. 

This is most often caused by the wiring along the street that delivers energy to the home’s electrical system.

The magnetic field around electrical equipment in the house might be tens or hundreds of times stronger than the surrounding air. 

However, this is just a short distance away from them; the field normally drops away within the first metre or so, if not less, and we don’t usually spend lengthy amounts of time so near to them anyhow.

The average field strength just under a high-voltage overhead wire would be around 5 tesla. 

Despite the fact that theoretically it may reach a hundred, you almost never come across anything higher than 20 T in actuality. Within around 100 metres, the field often reduces to the 0.01 to 0.2 T you’d see in a typical house, if not lower.

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What is it that has people so concerned buying a house near Substation / Transformer?

Over the past 40 years, there has been speculation that magnetic fields, at the levels occasionally created by the electrical system, may be responsible for the development of illnesses, most notably paediatric leukaemia.

In accordance with this hypothesis, epidemiology studies (the study of disease statistics) have revealed an apparent two-fold increase in leukaemia incidence for children in the top half-percent of exposures, from approximately 1 in 24,000 per year to 1 in 12,000 per year for those children in the top half-percent of exposures.

However, when we expose mice and rats to pathogens in the laboratory, they do not seem to get the illness, which is a compelling piece of evidence in their favour. 

As a result, the science is ambiguous in general.

Magnetic fields have been classed as “potentially carcinogenic” by the World Health Organization due to overwhelming evidence that they cause cancer. 

However, that is a really shaky categorisation. Because these studies only reveal statistical connections and not causation, and because the data from the laboratory (biology and theoretical science) is against the danger, the risk cannot be confirmed; it is simply a possibility for the time being, according to the researchers.

  • Ahlbom, UKCCS, and Draper are only a few of the important research. Some of the most important particular research on magnetic fields and juvenile leukaemia that you may hear about include the following:
  • The “Ahlbom” research (2000) was a significant pooled analysis – it brought together the data of a number of independent investigations from various nations to provide a single, comprehensive picture. 
  • That there is a statistical relationship with fields greater than 0.4 T was solidly proven by this research. Since then, more pooled studies have been conducted, with the results mostly supporting this conclusion.
  • One of the particular investigations, the UKCCS (1999), was carried out in the United Kingdom. Despite the fact that it did not detect much of an association on its own, it contributed to the overall conclusion.
  • Another research, known as the Draper or the CCRG (several studies from 2005 to 2014), is a little different in that it focuses only on high-voltage power lines. 

However, it discovered a correlation – but it was too far away from the lines to be attributed to magnetic fields, and it was declining with time, from the 1960s to the current time period. 

This suggests that whatever is going on, it may not be magnetic fields. 

And there doesn’t seem to be any connection in the recent few of decades either.

What exactly are the field levels we’re talking about?

At fields greater than 0.4 micro teslas, it seems that the statistical connections from the epidemiological research are visible. 

Will get Home Loan If I want to buy a House near Transformer?

There are many Instances where a Lender has refused to Offer Home loan when there is a Transformer or power lines near House

Refusal of credit by lender because of electricity lines? have you heard about it?

This is what I’m picturing. Pre-approval for your land and construction finance has been obtained, and you’re ready to begin construction on your new home. 

All is well in the universe. Power wires buzz; birds chirp; then the telephone rings. It belongs to you.

Unfortunately, we can’t lend you the money since your block is located near a high voltage transmission line (also known as an electrical power line).

Here’s what occurred.

More than a few borrowers are finding themselves in this rather uncommon scenario as a result of an increase in Australian development and a strong focus on low-deposit house loans.

Basically, if a block’s security boundary is adjacent to high-voltage power lines, certain lenders will not offer a borrower with Lenders Mortgage Insurance. (Some lenders need a minimum of 50 metres, however the final decision rests with the lender.)

If a borrower is unable to put down a 20% down payment, they must purchase Lenders Mortgage Insurance, or LMI. In the event that you default on your mortgage, this insurance covers the lender.

For the most part, it serves as an insurance policy for the banks. See how LMI works for additional information.)

  • They didn’t have a 20% down payment in this case.
  • Thus, Lenders Mortgage Insurance was a need.
  • Due to its provisions, the lender in question was unable to insure the property since it was located less than 50 metres from a high voltage power line.
  • No Lenders Mortgage Insurance means that the land and building financing couldn’t be finalised because of it.

Is there a solution to this problem?

The fact is that there are a heaps of various lending options available to consumers. And each of them has a variety of loan options available to them. 
When your loan application is turned down by Lender because the power lines are too close to the boundary of your block, look into what Lenders B through Z are up to in their own neighbourhoods.
The bad reality is that lenders are frequently informed about power lines during the last portion of the appraisal process, which means that if you do encounter this problem, it will be later rather than earlier.
However, now that you are aware of the problem, you are one step ahead of the game

"According to current studies, practically every human ailment that occurred in the twentieth century may be traced back to some aspect of our usage of electricity. Examples include childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, breast cancer, malignant melanoma, and asthma attacks. Governments and people must act quickly to reduce community and individual exposure to EMFs."

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09/14/2022 07:42 am GMT

Is it dangerous to live near my apartment's electrical room?

It is significantly less risky than sleeping beneath an electric blanket, using a hair drier, or using a toaster if you mean an average distribution transformer of the type that delivers power to your house.

Carcinogenic insulating oils were used in transformers around 1970. That was definitely a risk. In the United States, the majority of those have been replaced. I’m not sure what the rest of the world is like.

References:

Source: ICNIRP Guidelines for limiting exposure to time varying electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields (up to 300GHz)

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