Contact Current

sink to floor measurment

The picture above is a waveform that was taken from the sink to the floor in a house in Eau Claire, WI.  What this can tell you is the amount of ground current present in a home.   Whether we are referring to this as ground current, stray voltage, or contact current, know that we are talking about the same thing.   Stray voltage is voltage that is not contained in a wire.  It runs unchecked through the ground.  In a perfect world, there would be no stray voltage and it all would be contained in the wires.  In the most extreme cases ground would be used as a last resort.  Our ground really would be ground with zero potential.  This is not the case because of the increased use of non-linear loads by consumers.

The easiest way to explain this is to relate it to something that is more understandable for most people.   In this case it would be driving to and from work every day.    You will leave your home and go to work and then come back home.  Under normal circumstances, traveling along the roads we have will be the fastest way to get to and from work.   However, if there is a traffic jam, then you will more than likely need to take a different route home.  If you had off-road capabilities with your vehicle, then cutting across the fields or off-roading might be the fastest route back home.  In the end, you are going to end up where you started, which is home.  As long as you end up at home it doesn’t matter if you travelled on the roads provided, or made your own roads.

Electricity works in the same way that you go to work.  It will go out and come back to where it originally came from (Kirchhoff’s Laws). As long as traveling on the wires is the easiest path, electricity will continue to travel the wires.  If this is not the easiest path, electricity will find other paths that are easier to make it back “home”.    With the use of more and more non-linear loads, our wires have more things riding on them (examples would be harmonics, transients, and other communications).  All of these added things to the power supply make it harder and harder for it to move through wire, especially when the wire is too small.  There is a “traffic jam”.

Also, if the wire is too small to allow the electricity to pass through, it can create heat.  Enough heat will cause the wire to burn out.  In order to stop burn outs, the neutral wires are connected to the ground wires so instead of traveling along the neutral wire, the electricity will flow into the ground and back “home”, essentially “off-roading” through the easiest pathway, the ground. The end result is what we have now, contact current in our homes.

Ground current/stray voltage/ contact current can cause a list of problems for animals and people.  During a home inspection we look at the amount of contact current that you have in a house.  If your contact current is above 18 µA biological effects relevant to cancer start to take place.  That level has been accepted by the NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences).  You can read more research on this here.  It is important to have this tested to make sure that you are under this limit.   Know that based on the demands for power in your area, your contact current will also vary; meaning the more demand there is, the more current that you will have traveling through your home and vice versa.  If you are worried about this in your home, you can look at the following things in your house.

One is to look at your plumbing, which is a very common way for ground current to travel into your home.  Recall electricity will take the path of least resistance and copper is a great conductor, that is why they use it for electric wire.  You can easily test to see if there is current traveling along your pipes by checking to see if the metal pipe is giving off a magnetic field.  Anything that has current traveling through it will create a magnetic field.  That is a property of physics.  A relatively inexpensive item to test this with is a TriField Meter Model 100XE which is easy enough to find.  If you have current traveling in your pipes, you will be able to measure a magnetic field there.  If you do have a magnetic field, look at replacing 2-3 ft of the copper piping with plastic piping by the main in-take, (this is only for homes that have all copper piping for water).   This would go for the sewer lines as well.  If you are going to be remodeling or building in the future, look at using materials that are very low conductors, especially in your foam underlayment for flooring.  Both of these things are simple things.  However, doing all the simple things over time can add up to make a big difference.

Measuring what you can’t see

Harmonics have been around since the first AC generator was used to create electricity.  They are something that anyone with an electrical background has heard of.  A harmonic is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency. Harmonics are created when the voltage and current are not used proportionately.  Because of the disproportionate use, harmonics are created and added to the 60 Hz wave.  Devices that do this are said to use a nonlinear load. The 60 Hz is the fundamental frequency that will be discussed today and so the harmonics created from this frequency would be as follows:  the 1st harmonic is 60, the 2nd is 120, the 3rd is 180, and so on.

Most of the electronics in your home use nonlinear loads, as well as most all items marketed as energy efficient.   Harmonics are a cost of having something that is energy efficient.  The following is what happens when you have multiple items of these in your home.  Below in Figure 1 is the waveform that is in my house when I remove all of the filters.

Figure 1b2

 

 

The red wave is the 60 Hz cycle. If I had no harmonics present or rather a clean 60 Hz cycle in my house the blue line would be flat.  The higher density of blue represents higher frequency harmonics that are present on the wires in my house.  Below in Figure 2 is a spectrum analysis of the harmonics of the blue wave in Figure 1.  In short it tells you what harmonics are present and how much.

Figure 2

 

b2s

The red X is on the frequency of 1740 Hz for a reason.  1740 Hz is the 29th harmonic of the 60 Hz cycle.  This is significant because all of the blue that you see to the right of the red X are frequencies that are going to penetrate the skin and will dissipate internally to the human body.  This happens at the 1.7 KHz mark on the graph above.

After installing the 20 filters in my home, the waveform in my home is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3

a2

 

If you compare Figure 1 to Figure 3 you will see that the blue areas are much less concentrated.  The Stetzerizer Filters have filtered out many of the harmonics as well as some of the voltage transients that were present on the wires in my home.   In figure 4 you will see the spectrum analysis of the blue line from Figure 3.

Figure 4

a2s

 

In Figure 4 the red X is also placed on the 29th harmonic (1740 Hz).  Everything to the right of the cursor is what is being absorbed internally.  If you compare the Figure 2 and Figure 4 you will see a large number of the harmonics that have been filtered out.  Stetzerizer Filters are designed to filter out the frequencies from 4 KHz to 100 KHz because these are the most biologically active frequencies.   Both Figure 2 and Figure 4 are shown with the same scaling applied.

All of this information that is shown above is included in your report when you have your home tested.  You will be able to see the beginning and the afterward.  Every house is unique so everyone’s results will look a bit different.  The only constant theme is that you will see a reduction in the harmonics in your home.

Knowing the costs

If you were to get a phone call and the person on the other end said that you have won a free gift would you keep listening or would you hang up?   Most of us would hang up.  Why?  Nothing is free, there is always a catch.  Everything costs something even if you don’t pay for it– someone else does.  This ideology for some reason fades to black when it comes to electronics.  We assume that the latest and greatest gadget comes with no strings attached; we see it as a testament to our remarkable handle on technology and superiority of our environment.   At least that is what we would like to think.

There is a cost to energy efficiency that they don’t tell you about.  There is a cost to the latest wireless gadget that you own.  There is a cost to the convenience or easier lifestyle that we all have become accustomed to.   The costs associated with these items are different for everyone.   The cost of items like your laptops, TV’s, desktops, CFLs (curly-Q lightbulbs), dimmer switches, dimmable LEDs, fluorescent lighting and just about all the wired electronics that you have in your home, are costly because of the way they use electricity.   They do not use electricity continuously, therefore they give off what is called high frequency voltage transients also known as dirty electricity.  Dirty electricity has been the cause of many health problems found in a number of research papers.  It would also appear that the amount of dirty electricity is growing.

Next, consider your cell phones, cell towers, smart meters, tablets, Wi-Fi, and any other wireless technology that we now have at the tips of our fingers.  Please ask yourself some simple questions.  If a signal can travel through a brick wall and/or multiple walls of my home, do you think that it can also travel through you?  What is that effect of the signal passing through your body?  Do you think that that signal passing through your body then has an effect?  What happens when you add energy to a system that doesn’t need it or require it?

If you look at the track record in our country, it not impressive when it comes to protecting the health of its people.  For example, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that they there were warnings attached to cigarettes.  It took until 1972 for the government to pass laws to deal with toxic waste and raw sewage being dumped into our waterways.  Some other well know examples are:  DDT, asbestos, lead based paints, and the list goes on and on.  The government is not fast to react.  It would appear that there needs to be a pile of bodies before any action is taken by government, especially when money is involved.

This is where everyone can help and you don’t have to voice an opinion or sign a paper.  It is simply done by what you buy and what you ask for.   Companies will make what consumers want in order to make money.  Companies are in the business to make money.  If people demand better products, companies will make them.  Or you could also just wait for the government to step in and set standards.  Whatever you decide, neither way will happen overnight.

In the meantime, you can have your home inspected and control the things that you can control.  In the last few days there has been interest in what a home inspection costs.  So I thought I would lay it all out for you, for it is my philosophy that the best place to hide is often in the open.   The home inspection fee is $400.  In addition, you will have the opportunity to have filters installed in your home (which I would do) but that cost would be extra (for the filters not the installation).  The filters are designed to ‘clean up’ the dirty electricity in your home.  An average home (2000 ft2) will take about 20 filters.  Just using one or two is not effective or recommended.   Each filter is $30 + tax.  The amount you need will depend on what you have in your house.  I would also recommend a meter so that going forward you would be able to monitor your environment where ever you go.  The meter is $100 + tax.   This would mean that all together you are looking at cost of about $1100 + tax give or take based on the amount of filters needed.  The filters should last a lifetime and you can take them with you if you ever move, the same with the meter.   This is not something that you should need to repeat in the future, granted your home environment stays more or less the same.   It should be a one-time expense per house.  The inspection will take approximately 2-3 hours.   A day or two later I will mail or email you a report, copies of the wave forms that I collect, and a summary of what was talked about and recommendations.

 

I am willing to travel to where ever you are but know that I am based in Altoona, WI.  So everything within 2 hours driving I include in the cost.  Locations more than 2 hours away may have an extra charge based on travel time.  Discounts are offered for groups of home inspections, or referrals given at the time service.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at darnell@flutterbusters.com

The places you live and work are dirty

What is your reaction to when something bad happens to someone else?  Most often you assume that person has had some bad luck or were unfortunate for a reason that surely you yourself can avoid for whatever reason.   I often think this when I pass a car on the road that has been pulled over by a police officer.  What happens if you found out that what was affecting the person with the problem, or causing the problem, was also affecting you.  What would you do then?  What if their problem was also your problem?  Would you fix it?

This is where the realization starts.  Your homes are dirty.  They are not dirty with dirt per say they are dirty with things that you can can’t see, can’t taste, and most people can’t feel.   In your walls you have high frequency voltage transients (dirty electricity) riding on your 60 Hz cycle.   How then can you tell what your levels are?  You measure it.  You buy equipment that is designed to measure it.  I have that equipment; some of it is expensive and some of it is not.  The purpose of having it is to show people what they can’t see, taste, or feel.   Electricity is not the only thing in our lives that acts like this.  There are many things like this, the most obvious in a home is radon gas.

How did everything get so dirty?   Without launching into a book, it has to deal with the way all of the modern electronics that we have use power and the growing number of them in people’s homes.   We are accumulating more and more electronics and it is making our homes dirtier and dirtier.   The more that you have, or even your neighbors have, the dirtier your homes will be.

In general, the dirtier that you are, the more likely that you are to get sick.  This holds true for actual dirt as well as dirty electricity.  For most of us this the effect is not acute but chronic.   As you well know chronic illnesses are much harder to deal with.   The high frequency that is riding on these waves can cause a host of problems for humans as shown in research paper after research paper.  The high frequency voltage transients have been linked in research papers and epidemiology studies to, but not limited to, cancer (like brain and leukemia).  In addition, it causes a lot of problems with the central nervous systems and can be traced to disorders such as depression, Lou Gehrig disease, headaches, dizziness, ADHD, immune deficiency, and a host of other problems.

For those that are skeptical, you need not take my word for it.  I can show you on a meter and in many cases more than one kind.   In these instances, I will add filters to address some of these issues;  you will see a change in the measurement every time a filter is added or subtracted.  It is not voodoo.  It is not magic.  It is simply science.

DIY your EMF environment

This is a helpful guide to help you clean up your own EMF environment prior to a home inspection or just a guide for a do it yourself type of person.  Anything that you can do to alleviate stress to your body is a good thing.  Control what you can control, minimize anything you can’t control.

First and foremost is to get rid of anything wireless that you can do without.  This will include anything that sends or receives information wirelessly.  Items included would be: Wi-Fi, many models of cordless phones, baby monitors, anything that connects via Bluetooth or wirelessly (such as tablets, laptops, and cellphones).  Many of these items you will have to disable the wireless features in the device settings.

There are many people that no longer have a home phone but for those that do many have a type of cordless phone.  Many of these cordless phone bases will emit a signal even if not in use.  It is this constant emission that is harmful.  Finding a phone that only emits when in use is a better option however finding these types of phones is more difficult.  Buying a phone that uses a cord is your safest and cheapest option.

For many people getting rid of their Wi-Fi is a hard sell.  However, if you are not willing to stand in a microwave oven then you should really rethink your Wi-Fi usage.  Both of these devices operate in the same wave spectrum, which is in microwaves.  A temporary fix until you can have your internet hard wired would be to have your Wi-Fi router on a timer so that it turns off at night, and then turns back on in the morning or during the times that you would need it.  These timers are inexpensive.  There is no reason to have your Wi-Fi on when you are sleeping.  Any device that connects to your router will also emit a signal, you should either shut off that device or deactivate the wireless option when not in use.  If you are using a hand held device, use it in airplane mode as much as possible, if you must use it at all.  Wireless pollution poses the most risk to children; please keep that in mind.

Everywhere that you go you see many items that are advertised as energy efficient which range from light bulbs to all sorts of electronics.  All of these items will create high frequency voltage transients, otherwise known as dirty electricity.  For some of these items, an alternative item could be chosen, and for others using a type of filter would be helpful.  Such items that create dirty electricity are the following: compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL or “cork-screw lightbulbs”), dimmable LED lights, dimmer switches, most electronic devices, and anything that has a variable frequency drive (example is a treadmill).  All of these devices will create high frequency voltage transients (referred to as dirty electricity or dirty power).

Dimmer switches should be replaced with regular convectional switches with just a simple switch that has an on/off function.  CFL not only create dirty power they also emit a radio frequency so you get two forms of EMF pollution from one device.  These should be replaced as soon as possible.  Suitable replacements would be your old incandescent light bulbs which don’t create either dirty power or radio frequencies but they do use more energy.  Another suitable replacement is LED lights.  However most LED lights that are sold now are dimmable and these all create dirty electricity like CFL light bulbs.

Almost all of your electronics will create dirty power.  I am not advocating getting rid of all your electronics and living like an Old Order Amish, but if you are going to use electronics, use them as safely as possible.  There are filters that will ‘clean up’ part of the pollution that these devices cause.  Installing them where you have electronics makes the filters most effective.  In order to receive the max benefit from the filters you should install them in your whole house.  One filter will not fix all of your house.  This is something that is analyzed during a home inspection and installed at your request as part of the service (the cost of the filters is extra).  The number of filters you will need will be dependent on how many electronics that you have and size of your home.  The average home needs about 20 filters.  High frequency voltage transients can cause many health problems and have been linked to many health problems, most notably cancer.

Variable frequency drives, like a treadmill, should be avoided at all times for they cause an enormous amount of dirty power.  It doesn’t even have to be turned on to create dirty power either, just plugged in.  Running outside is always better and it is free, though admittedly it is much hard during the winter months.

In a perfect world there would be no ground current.  It would all travel in the wires buried in the ground and the poles that we see everywhere.  We don’t live in a perfect world and know that there is ground current everywhere and more than likely it is traveling through your home as well.  There are steps that you can do to minimize these effects, however knowing how much you have is the best way to approach this.  With contact current, every time that you touch something you will receive a charge as current travels through you.  Over the course of the day, all of these charges add up.  There are small things that you can do to minimize this, like using a laptop on battery instead of plugged into the wall.  Another is to get into the habit of “discharging” at night.  What this does is equalize the polarities in your system.  This will help bring you body into balance.  This can be done two ways.  One is simply standing on a piece of aluminum foil at night before you go to bed for minute or two.  All you have to do is stand there don’t touch anything else.  My family and I do this while we brush our teeth before bed.  You can use any type of conductive metal—I use aluminum foil because it is the cheapest.  Another more time consuming, though more relaxing, way to accomplish this, is an Epsom salt bath.  Epsom salt baths have many other beneficial effects that people enjoy and you can add discharging to that list.

Finally, there are number of small things that you can do to improve your environment.  There are many items that we would not think of that can create a rather large magnetic field.  By large I am referring to >100mg.  Some of these items would include digital alarm clocks (that plug into the wall), hair driers, electric toothbrushes, small fans, anything that has a small motor, anything that converts electricity to heat (blankets, car seats, heating pads), and anything else that will take 120v from an outlet and transform it down to a lower usable voltage.  The key with all of these devices is to keep your distance.  They will all create a magnetic field.  This doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of all of them just do not be constantly in the field or near the objects.  The father away that you get the more the magnetic field will dissipate.  This is very important when it comes to the items that you have around your head at night when you sleep.

 

In summary, key points to consider:

  • Put your Wi-Fi on a timer so it goes off at night
  • Place all of your Wi-Fi devices on “Airplane” mode when not in use
  • Remove your CFL (corkscrew) light bulbs and replace dimmer switches
  • Do not use a treadmill-enjoy the great outdoors!
  • Replace electronic toothbrushes
  • Do not use heating blankets or heated mattress pads, especially when sleeping
  • Place your alarm clock across the room-not so close to your head
  • “Discharge” at night-using aluminum foil or taking an Epsom Salt bath
  • Consider installation of filters in your home