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Homeowners Want to Limit EMF Exposure by AC Units

  1. Aug 6, 2013 #1

    I work in the construction industry. I have a homeowner that would like to protect herself from electromagentic field (EMF) exposure. (She fears cancer from EMF's.) The airconditioning unit in their AC room produces a large electromagnetic field. She wants to prevent this field from extending past the AC unit room.

    We are considering at this time installing copper around the entire room, in the walls, around the door, all around, to prevent the EMF field from escaping. Would this be an effective approach? Is copper appropriate? Should it be a different metal? How thick should the copper be? Do you need to know the EMF strength of the AC in order to figure this out?

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2013 #2
    The electromagentic field exists at all points in space, its not something you can shield yourself from. You are talking about electromagentic radiation? How do you know the AC is producing it?

    Honestly, it sounds like a bunch of gibberish. Sometimes people believe weird things and there isn't much you can do. When I was growing up my friends mom thought that color TV gives you cancer, so we had to turn the color down and watch everything in black and white. Who knows where she got that idea, but she believed it with all her heart.

    edit - Just realized she may be confusing air conditioning (A/C) with alternating current (AC).
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  4. Aug 6, 2013 #3
    Thanks for the input. I just remembered that the whole planet consists of a magnetic field to prevent solar radiation from the sun (hence the north and South Pole).

    She takes a meter around to detect what she says "EMF." perhaps she is actually thinking of radiation. If it is the radiation she is attempting to shield herself from, then how would we approach that?
  5. Aug 6, 2013 #4


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    It is very non-trivial to make an effectively shielded room. Here is a company that specializes in shielded enclosures and rooms:

    ETS-Lindgren: http://www.ets-lindgren.com/RFShieldedEnclosures

    You have to pay attention to welded seams, and use conductive gasketing for any doors or other openings. And power that is run through the walls needs to be filtered to remove RF noise from it.

    What is she planning on having in this shielded room? Does she want any powered appliances? Kind of defeats the purpose if she is going to microwave popcorn and watch her favorite TV shows on her bigscreen TV...
  6. Aug 6, 2013 #5


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    This is an old hoax that she remembered from the '70s or heard of and fell for more recently. A reporter basically fabricated a story about power lines causing cancer and as a result, people (who are aware of it without knowing it is fraudulent) believe any AC power EMF can cause cancer.

    But, that's not your problem. She wants shielding and wants to pay for it? Who are you to argue? So build her a faraday cage around the AC closet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage
  7. Aug 6, 2013 #6
    Thanks everyone for the input. I think we may make some sort of attempt at the Faraday cage. I think it may have to do with the "power line" belief but she is already scanning her house with an EMF meter so I don't think there is any getting her to change her mind. Ill remind them about the TV and microwave. Thanks again!
  8. Aug 6, 2013 #7


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    Staff: Mentor

    That may have been because of the higher anode voltage used by color CRTs. Of course, turning down the color would not have changed the anode voltage... :smile:
  9. Aug 6, 2013 #8


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    Time for a tin-foil hat.
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