Is it safe to live near power lines? Although most houses have regular power lines passing nearby, high voltage lines are not commonplace. A majority of people see it as a big issue to live near them. But are there advantages of living close to such power lines? What are the disadvantages?
Some myths surround this issue (especially health), so we will look at the pros and cons of living near power lines to separate facts from fiction. In the end, you will be able to make an informed decision if you are looking to buy a house. Let’s get started.
15 Benefits of Living Near Power Lines – Pros
1. More Privacy
Perhaps one of the best benefits of living close to power lines is the element of privacy. According to international regulations, houses built near such infrastructure must be far apart, which means you will have fewer neighbors and people on the streets.
2. No Chaos
With fewer neighbors and people on the streets, there will be little to no chaos. If you enjoy having a quiet life, living in such a place means experiencing less noise from parties, cars roaming with bass boosters, and muggings in extreme cases.
3. Minimal Power Supply Cuts
The further away you are from the main power lines, the higher the chances of experiencing power supply cuts. Along the lines, there might be line cuts due to accidents.
However, if you buy a house near high voltage lines, you will benefit from the first electricity supply where the lines going to your property will not have many interferences.
4. Quick Electricity Repairs
If there is a power outage, power company technicians respond faster to fix problems in areas near these main lines because they are critical infrastructure (backbones).
Living nearby is very convenient, especially if the area is prone to storms. You can rest easy knowing that you will be among the first ones to get the power supply restored.
5. Affordable Properties
Most people fear houses built near power lines due to medical and safety concerns. Due to this, such properties have low demand, and this causes a drop in their prices. You can take advantage of this to negotiate for the best deal.
6. Beautiful Properties/ Dream Homes
In addition to selling them at a low price, property developers make the houses beautiful and spacious to make them more marketable. If you look around, you might get the dream home you’ve always wanted at a reasonable offer.
7. Zero Reported Health Issues
Although there have been rumors of health issues associated with living near power lines, no scientific proof exists to support these claims. Health organizations, like the WHO, have not found concrete evidence about the health effects of EMF exposure.
8. Strict Restriction Laws
Governments usually have restriction laws regarding housing projects near power lines. According to the BPA, fences, underground pipes, cables, and other home sections must be at least 50 meters away from the nearest tower.
There are also laws about other activities, such as farming under the lines, flying (kites and model planes), shooting, etc., that make it safer to live nearby.
9. No Danger
Even though the properties are near power lines, they are at a safe distance. The space in-between minimizes the risk of ELF exposure or electrocution if there is an accidental power cut.
10. No Exposure to EMF
Due to the restriction laws, the safe distancing from the lines ensures you get little exposure to EMF (Electromagnetic Frequencies). Remember, there is no proof to show the health effects of EMF, so you are safe.
11. Easy to Find the EMF Strength
If you are still worried about high EMF exposure, you can request information about the frequency strength of the powerlines from the relevant power authority. You can also get substation survey reports, which comprehensively list the risks of residing close to power lines.
12. Free Yard Maintenance
It is risky to let the trees grow unpruned because they can fall on your house in case of a storm. Yard maintenance is necessary to control their growth, but it is also expensive and labor-intensive if the area has lots of trees.
However, if you live near the lines, the power company will take care of the trees for free because they can interfere with the grid. A cheap house with free yard maintenance? Sweet deal!
13. Perfect Hunting Grounds
The area under the power lines is usually open or with little vegetation, and it can be the perfect place to hunt deer. If you enjoy hunting, buying a house in such a place will be like killing two birds with one stone.
14. Safe Homes
With more spacing between homes, any accidents that might happen to your neighbors will not affect you. For instance, it will be easier to contain fires before they spread out to adjacent homes.
15. Greener Spaces
In most cases, vegetation will fill up the extra spaces and areas under the power lines, giving you more greenery and cleaner air to breathe.
Now that we’ve gone over numerous advantages of living near power lines, let’s dig into the drawbacks.
15 Drawbacks of Living Near Power Lines – Cons
16. Difficulty in Selling the Property
The same skepticism you had before buying that property is what other aspiring homeowners have when they find a house near power lines. If you put your property back on the market, you might have to wait a little longer to get someone who appreciates the benefits of residing in such a place.
17. Low Property Resale Value
In the process of trying to convince aspiring homeowners to buy your property, you might have to lower the price to make it more marketable. The price tag of real estate usually goes up over time, but such a house might not appreciate as quickly as homes in other areas.
18. Mortgage Issues
If you don’t have enough money to finance the purchase of your next home, you can always get a mortgage. However, banks know the risks associated with properties near power lines and might deny you the loan.
19. Property Restrictions
After buying that house, you might have plans to expand it or install additional amenities, such as a swimming pool. However, areas near power lines have property restrictions that limit what you can do. These projects can affect the power lines, especially if you are too close, so the laws might not permit the modifications.
20. Buzzing Sound
High voltage lines produce a buzzing sound as current passes through (corona discharge), which can be annoying if you are super sensitive to such sounds. The noise can also arouse fear in potential home buyers, making it more difficult to sell.
21. Ugly View
There is no better way to put it. Power lines and towers are plain ugly, and they will ruin your view if there are natural features like hills in the background. Additionally, they can spoil your home’s beauty.
22. Risk of Electrocution
Even though the restriction laws place homes at least 50 meters from the lines/towers, weather events like storms and hurricanes can bring the live wires dangerously close to your house. If this happens, there is a high risk of electrocution because overhead cables are usually naked. It is safer to leave your home if there’s a big storm headed your way.
23. Risk of Fire
In addition to electrocution, cut wires can create sparks that ignite the vegetation on the ground, especially during the summer. Such small flames can develop into wildfires and cause a lot of damage.
A classic example is the California campfire, which killed 85 people in 2018. PG&E power lines caused the fire that also destroyed 19,000 homes.
24. Regular Construction/Maintenance Work
Power lines need regular maintenance to keep the system safe and transmission more efficient. While you might have found a secluded neighborhood, technicians from the power company might visit the site several times to check whether everything is in order.
It can get worse if there are storm or flood damages. Workers might flock to your neighborhood to carry out the repairs.
25. Risk of Underground Line Destruction by Floods
Part of the grid might include underground wires, and these might also experience damages from extreme weather. Such events can unearth live wires, which is very risky.
Another issue is that underground wire repairs take a longer time to complete. You should expect noisy neighbors for quite some time.
26. Negative Perception
Even if you are okay with living near power lines, your friends and family might not be comfortable. It could be due to past experiences with the dangers of power lines or misinformation. Some of them might not enjoy visiting your home and will not even consider spending the night.
Many concerns are being thrown around about the effects of EMF. For instance, some indications show that the EMFs from mobile phones influence brain activity during sleep and might cause insomnia. However, other studies show this is not true. Since it is a grey area, you never know how these frequencies will affect your body.
28. ELF Radiation
Like EMF, ELF radiation intensifies the closer you get to the source. Therefore, the further away you are from the high voltage wires, the better. Research is still ongoing on the health effects of ELF as some suggest it has reproductive, carcinogenic, and neurological effects. It is also a gray area.
29. Concerns of Childhood Leukemia
Research in the 90s found a possible link between EMF and childhood leukemia, but recent studies found a weak relationship between them. The earlier research sowed doubt and concerns about the probability of causing this disease, which makes people fearful of such properties.
That said, cell phones, routers, and other electrical devices at home emit stronger EMFs than power lines, and they are closer to us. Although there is no conclusive evidence to support anything at the moment, the NIEHS recommends reducing exposure to EMFs as studies continue.
30. Fears of Multiple Health Issues
The concerns do not end with leukemia. Generally, most people fear EMFs can cause cancer, birth, heart & liver defects, and Down syndrome. Only research can put these concerns to rest; time will tell.
Living near power lines is mostly a matter of personal preference. If you can put up with the risks and concerns, buy that house. If not, settle somewhere away from the high voltage lines.
Studies are still ongoing to address most of the concerns, so if you see anything we might have missed or come across some new information, be sure to let us know in the comments section. You can also suggest topics of interest that we should cover.
Related: Pros and Cons of Living in a Duplex