Six Sample Chapters from Silencing the Fields


To give a flavor of the material contained in Silencing the Fields, six chapters are given here, ranging from basic material, to other material that is more difficult and may not be familiar even to the expert.

(These chapters are copyrighted, but a chapter-length or less may be quoted or reproduced without advance permission, provided the source, Silencing the Fields by Ed Leeper, and this web address,, are mentioned.)

Doing a "Water Line Job"

It is explained on another page of this site, under Field Production by Water Line Currents, how the flow of electric current into a metallic city water system can cause high fields in a house, and how relocating the "service wires" that bring power to a house may help us dodge some of the fields produced.

But sometimes water-line-current fields can be more completely eliminated by blocking the current's all-metal path to the water main. Chapter 31, given here, explains how. Further chapters in Silencing the Fields outline some drawbacks of cost or safety -- while co-author Stewart Maurer provides a chapter with a different viewpoint on these concerns. In addition, appendices give instructions for the electrician and plumber who perform such a water line job.

Read Chapter 31

(Note that a new Appendix 5 is now inserted that describes a kind of grounding usable in new construction that somewhat defuses this conflict between safety and low fields.)

Fields from Electric Blankets

In the past, a large source of magnetic field exposure for many people was the use of an older type of electric blanket that is no longer sold -- but many of which are still in use. Newer blankets generally produce lower fields.

Read Chapter 93

Also discussed in Silencing the Fields are fields from other appliances -- ranging from hair dryers to electric shavers to TV sets to conventional computer monitors. In many cases, including flat-screen LCD computer monitors, fields have changed substantially as appliances are redesigned. Doing one's own appliance measurements may be necessary.

Balancing Power Company Primary Lines

Part V (34 pages) of Silencing the Fields describes the various ways that power company neighborhood distribution wiring may produce fields. As always, "net currents" on these lines are an important factor.

One way that such net currents may arise is where a "primary line," one of the medium-high-voltage lines that comes from a substation to supply the neighborhood transformers, has an "unbalanced load" (because one of the three phase wires serves more than its share of transformers). If such a net current exists (which we can determine), the remedy by "rebalancing" may be far less expensive than others, such as moving the line. And balancing the load on a three-phase line is something a power company tries to do anyway, for energy-conservation reasons.

In dealing with your power company, it helps to know where they are coming from, and what constraints (mainly financial) they have to work with.

Read Chapter 65

Household Wiring Defects

A homeowner has somewhat more control over reducing those fields generated inside the house (if such problems exist, as they often do).

Part IV (40 pages) of Silencing the Fields deals with the various ways that field-producing "net current loops" can arise within a house -- and how they can be diagnosed and corrected, with a minimum of expensive electrician's time.

"Subpanel grounding errors" are an important category of such wiring mistakes, and they create characteristic fields that a homeowner can spot. But although some subpanel errors are obvious ones, easy for an electrician to find and remedy, when requested, other errors or defects that involve a subpanel can be more elusive, because the actual mistake is elsewhere, on one of the circuits served from the subpanel -- perhaps inside a wall. This can and does get complex.

Read Chapter 54

What Field Level is Safe?

A commonly-asked question is what a "safe level" is for AC magnetic fields at a house (i.e. for the average of fields seen throughout the house - since "hot spots" near certain plumbing pipes and wires are almost always much higher). But for various reasons, that health effects question is extremely difficult to answer with any certainty and clarity.

Silencing the Fields does not try to provide such an answer - except to suggest a simpler, more pragmatic approach that asks instead whether fields at a house are unusually high. In a way, taking such an approach recognizes implicitly that any degree of risk yet observed by the health effects research is fairly small (compared with some other risks we may take in our lives); but it also recognizes the fact that field reductions may prove easy and inexpensive to achieve, in many situations.

Read Chapters 4 and 5

See also another page of this site The Question of Risk

Hunting For a Low-Field House

If one is concerned about the possible health effects of high magnetic fields, looking for a house with low fields (to buy or rent) can present a problem. If one is rushed, this can be hectic - especially if one first confronts the issue of fields only after one is already actively house-hunting. Perhaps one has already located a desirable house at a good price, but noticed that it looks as if it might have high fields, perhaps because of nearby power lines.

Note that looking for a low-field house is quite difficult unless one can buy or borrow an AC magnetic field meter (even the most inexpensive are better than none). Also note that the proximity of a power company transformer is no longer a reliable indicator for the presence of high magnetic fields, except very close to a ground-level transformer.

Read Chapter 7

Silencing the Fields - A Practical Guide to Reducing AC Magnetic Fields

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