All electrical systems are based on a supply of power at a certain voltage and frequency. Dirty power or electrical noise is any electrical current that varies by more than 10% from the usual 120 volts. Dirty power refers to variations in voltage or current that are often random, usually of relatively low amplitude, and always undesirable. It is an abnormality in the power quality that is being delivered to a system. These abnormalities can include low power factors, voltage variations, frequency variations, and surges. Power spikes, surges, sags, and brownouts, the results of dirty power, can ruin expensive equipment.
To guard your controllers and hardware against dirty power, it is recommended to plug your equipment into a surge protector to guard against such power annoyances.
How to know if your electricity is dirty
A line noise EMI meter measures the harmonics or dirty electricity on the electrical lines. An EMI meter measures a wide range of frequencies and translates these frequencies into millivolts (mV) or Volts. An EMI Meter measures the level of electrical noise, line noise, power line EMI present on the electrical wiring in buildings. Simply plug it into electrical outlets to find out how much dirty electricity (EMI) is present on nearby wiring.
Causes of Dirty Power
- Rapid load changes
- Ground faults
Ways To Reduce/Prevent EMF and Dirty Electricity Exposure
Use a line conditioner
Use an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS)
Use an EMF Meter. An EMF meter will become an invaluable resource when trying to detect dirty power. The meter will be a valuable tool for finding dirty electricity and make changes to make it safer.
Use shielded extension cords when possible.
Bluetooth headsets, although convenient, emit an alarming amount of radiation.
Wifi is known for causing dirty power. Whenever possible, connect your laptop or desktop to an ethernet connection and avoid using wifi. In addition, when you don’t need wifi, turn the router off if possible, as the range of your wifi connection is also the range of the radiation it’s giving off.
Lightbulbs - Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs are one of the number one producers of dirty electricity. These bulbs use high-frequency AC electricity instead of the standard 60 Hertz.
- Dimmer switches turn the flow of the electrical current “on” and “off” thousands of times every second. For the highest brightness it does this very quickly, and much slower for dimmer light. This breaks up the typical electrical flow and produces dirty electricity.
You may also refer to the following Power Management video for additional overview information about power.