House with high tension power lines in backyard

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Watty
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by Watty »

One thing that has not been mentioned is that sometimes underground pipelines for oil or natural gas run along side power lines so your should also check on that.

The big question is not if they are a negative, they are, it is just if the price of the house is discounted enough to make it a good choice.
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HappyJack
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by HappyJack »

Thank you all.
Chris001122
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by Chris001122 »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:22 pm I will pass a house with high tension power lines nearby. This is not out of the so called health effects of low frequency electromagnetic field on human body. I don't believe such unproven wild ideas: I work with EM fields. I am concerned with a danger in any accidents such as live broken power lines. I am also concerned with the aesthetic aspects.
Agreed. Electrical engineer here.

Those lines are extremely dangerous. If they break or fall, you won't want to be around when they do.

Also, this:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=hi ... M%3DHDRSC3
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Sandtrap
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by Sandtrap »

Buying nearly any Real estate that may be difficult to resell is sometimes a marginal idea.

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bayview
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by bayview »

oldfort wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 4:23 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 4:17 pm
oldfort wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:49 pm
HappyJack wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:25 pm Main concerns:
1) health of high tension power lines
2) resale bc others are concerned with 1)
1) is baseless in my opinion.
See this for what the American Cancer Society has to say.
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-ca ... ation.html
2) Some buyers will hold on to all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories. At the margins, anything different about the home, will make it slightly more difficult to resale.
It doesn't really matter that much if it's some "crazy conspiracy theory". What matters for the house is if there is a relatively large percentage of prospective buyers who are in fact bothered by something enough not to want to buy it, or only at a much lower price. This latter assumes that the price OP paid is not already significantly "enough" lower to account for a lower future sale price. In that case, there could still be a longer "time to sell", for someone "not bothered" to show up and want to purchase it. And that depends in part on "how much less" OP would be paying, and also whether in the future this might be more of a concern to some others.

RM
I don't believe there is a relatively large percentage of prospective buyers who wouldn't buy the house for this reason. If most buyers wouldn't consider the house, then the OP should be able to negotiate a lower price for the house. In an efficient housing market, the OP wouldn't take a loss when it comes time to sell but not get any discount at the time of purchase.
I wouldn’t want to buy a house with power lines and towers nearby even if they were decommissioned. They’re ugly.

I don’t think that makes me a crazed anti-scientific paranoid nutball.

If OP is hesitant about buying it, so will future buyers be. Buying cheaper doesn’t always make a deal palatable.
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oldfort
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by oldfort »

OP you're 65. All the below will have a greater effect on your health than any theoretical and remote effect of power lines going forward.

1) Don't consume alcohol or any other drugs ever.
2) Don't use tobacco ever.
3) Exercise at least five hours every week.
4) Eat a healthy, low-sodium, low-fat, sugar free diet, primarily vegetables, low mercury fish, and lean, white meat
5) Don't spend any length of time in the sun without regularly applying sunscreen. Do not intentionally tan.
6) Buy a car with the latest safety features.
7) As long as COVID remains an issue, try to minimize contact with anyone outside your immediate family.
Picksburgh
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by Picksburgh »

Just passed on a perfect house because it had a cell tower right behind the house.
investingdad
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by investingdad »

Whenever these threads pop up somebody always states they lived near X and "got used to" the noise (hum in this case). Just sound proof.

And I'm not saying it isn't true for that person, but for many it's not the case. Our first house backed up to a noisy road and I never got used to it. I got more bothered as time went by.

Also, sound proofing isn't practical or feasible unless the home is sound proof designed during construction. Trying to do so afterward is practically impossible.
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Harry Livermore
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by Harry Livermore »

cashboy wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 2:17 pm
HappyJack wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:18 pm Looking at a house to buy. High tension power lines ( with the big towers) crosses just behind backyard. I have concerns. Any advice?
in general, probably best to pass on it, as other have mentioned

UNLESS

there is something so unique about this property and house that makes it 'perfect' for you - and you cannot easily find it anywhere else. for example, say you want to live close to your parents and they own the house across the street from this one (something like that).


good luck with the house hunting!

:sharebeer
cashboy makes a good point.
Our first home, which is now our SFH rental, has smaller old-school high tension towers about 1/4 mile away. The power line parallels train tracks for our commuter train branch line. Both are on the other side of the lovely little river behind the house, buffered by a flood plain with countless mature deciduous and evergreen trees. Very little visual impact and certainly no health concern at that distance.
The house had (and has) many pluses that outweigh those impediments. The charming, woodsy location, very private, small efficient home in a sea of much larger and more expensive homes, in a top school district statewide. The lazy river just behind the back door, with a rushing brook joining it by the side patio. In addition, the 5-minute walk to the commuter train is a "plus" for me (I understand that it would not be a plus for every buyer) But when I bought it, the house was VERY small and very tired. It had languished on the market for a long time. But I don't think it was because of the power lines. And I could see the potential for "special".
I was a little worried about train noise, so I arranged to meet the realtor for "another look" at a particular time of day, let's say like 5:46 pm :) I stood in the yard, looked across the river, and listened and watched the train. It was indeed a bit loud, and the whistle was blown. In the end I bought the house with slight trepidation. After a week it almost became like a grandfather clock... just something in the background, hardly noticed. Plus, it's like 4 trains in the morning and 4 trains in the evening. Not a ton of traffic. In the end, we were very happy there and the train just became part of our world. No biggie.
If the house is otherwise very ordinary, and the power lines are really close (right at the edge of your property?) I think I would pass. Your future self might thank you...
Cheers
CurlyDave
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by CurlyDave »

whodidntante wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:29 pm In a hot market, all manner of weirdness sells fast for full price+. In a slow market, weirdness requires patience and discount to unload.
+1

You have hit on the crux of the issue right there.

Sometimes people have to sell in a slow market. DW and I have made lots of money buying unloved houses as rentals in slow markets. But always with curable defects. One in particular had languished, empty, for well over a year just because of some ugly trees on the property. Mr. Chainsaw fixed that issue. High tension wires and it could have been empty for several years.

A lot of uncontrollable issues can force a sale: job loss, illness in the family, etc.

In a hot market, like today, the discount gets smaller and smaller. In a slow market the discount may be enormous. The risk is potentially huge and unknown. I would move on to a different house.
3feetpete
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by 3feetpete »

I owned a home that had them down the street from me. When I sold it one sale fell through because of them even though the utility came out and measured zero electromagnetic field. Every now and then a study comes out about the dangers of living near power lines.
Johnny Thinwallet
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by Johnny Thinwallet »

We ran into similar issues a few times when searching for houses 2-3 years ago. My dad always reminded me to think about one aspect when we were doing our house search: when the time comes to sell the house down the road, is there anything you already know about this house that will cause an issue for you to sell it?

Of course, the online photo listings never show these questionable concerns. Case in point two of our showings. The first time we see a house online, like the photos and book a showing for that evening. Upon driving up, we see a massive water tower right outside the back yard. That house became an immediate no before even opened the front door. The second time is similar, see a house online and like the photos. Then we drive up and see a massive cellphone tower right across the street. Again, that house also became an immediate no before we even opened the front door.
egrets
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by egrets »

Mordoch wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:03 pm
egrets wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 4:30 pm I trained as a scientist, but I view with skepticism claims that various items like this are harmless. There's too much motivation for companies and corrupt scientists to lie. Look at the history of such things. Plus high tension power lines are just ugly.
Unless you are simply a conspiracy theorist this does not work in this case. (Unless you believe essentially all your colleagues, or at least professional scientists, are corrupt and untrustworthy.)

What it comes down to is the issue was identified as a possible concern as early as at least 1979 and was a high profile concern for a long time, yet there is a striking utter lack of proper studies truly supporting this as a risk. During this period there have been plenty of studies, including from effectively independent researchers who did not have any motivation to cover things up for industry. It also should not have been that hard to prove if true and a significant risk since measuring physical proximity to high tension powerlines is a fairly straightforward thing to do. If this can only shown up as a concern in the last say 10 years it might be more likely industry has been able to conceal the risk, but that is not the case in this instance.

Basically in terms of health risks you are vastly better off focusing on other more relevant and clear ones such as your house's proximity to a highway.
Let's consider the lying that was done about tobacco, pollution, etc. It's one thing to believe in space aliens abducting people, it's a totally different much more rational thing to believe in corporate greed putting profits before lives.
oldfort
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by oldfort »

egrets wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:30 pm
Mordoch wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:03 pm
egrets wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 4:30 pm I trained as a scientist, but I view with skepticism claims that various items like this are harmless. There's too much motivation for companies and corrupt scientists to lie. Look at the history of such things. Plus high tension power lines are just ugly.
Unless you are simply a conspiracy theorist this does not work in this case. (Unless you believe essentially all your colleagues, or at least professional scientists, are corrupt and untrustworthy.)

What it comes down to is the issue was identified as a possible concern as early as at least 1979 and was a high profile concern for a long time, yet there is a striking utter lack of proper studies truly supporting this as a risk. During this period there have been plenty of studies, including from effectively independent researchers who did not have any motivation to cover things up for industry. It also should not have been that hard to prove if true and a significant risk since measuring physical proximity to high tension powerlines is a fairly straightforward thing to do. If this can only shown up as a concern in the last say 10 years it might be more likely industry has been able to conceal the risk, but that is not the case in this instance.

Basically in terms of health risks you are vastly better off focusing on other more relevant and clear ones such as your house's proximity to a highway.
Let's consider the lying that was done about tobacco, pollution, etc. It's one thing to believe in space aliens abducting people, it's a totally different much more rational thing to believe in corporate greed putting profits before lives.
This is the classic mentality of a conspiracy theorist. The absence of evidence is treated as proof of a how far reaching the conspiracy goes. You better destroy your cell phone while you're at it. On this very thread, someone said a RF engineer told them to never put their cell phone in a front pocket. It's much more rational to believe in Apple's corporate greed putting profits before lives.
Gnirk
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by Gnirk »

Location, location, location is one of the rules of real estate. Personally, I will never live in a house that has power lines running near it. They are ugly. And regardless of whether or not there is scientific proof that they are dangerous, there is definitely a stigma attached to them.....right or wrong, which may affect you selling the house in the future.
oldfatguy
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by oldfatguy »

This thread is fascinating to me, as I grew up in the shadow of very tall steel transmission towers, and have never heard of any concerns about them until now. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

In fact, we considered their presence a bonus. They ran through a large open field behind our backyard, which meant no neighbors behind us. That field was also an enormous playground for all the kids from the neighborhood. The low spots were perfect for ice skating and hockey in the winter; sometimes the grass would get high enough to hide in; other times, when it was mowed, it was a great spot for dirt bikes, hitting golf balls, or throwing a frisbee. Even the towers themselves were good for climbing, though we could never seem to get very high. It was also home to lots of wildlife - pheasants, turkeys, rabbits, deer, and red tailed hawks.
atikovi
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by atikovi »

The house I live in that my parents bought in '83 for $135K has one house between it and those transmission lines. They were concerned back then but it didn't stop them. Today its worth around $700K so it was actually a non-issue. The neighbor across the street that is directly next to the right of way specifically bought the house a few years ago because of the open space the towers are on so she could have a place for her dog to run around. The lines are only an issue if they are an issue to you. Unless you buy it to flip, the value will rise regardless of where it's located.
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Cubicle
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by Cubicle »

The chirping birds at my house can be annoying. Constant buzzing... be careful how it sounds after 1 year.
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hudson
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by hudson »

Useful discussion! I have high tension power lines behind my house. You can't see them from the house except during the winter because of the trees. Google Maps said the total distance is 310.03 ft (94.50 m). I've walked under these lines many times, but I've never heard any buzzing noises....maybe low power? I've noticed that similar power lines have affected my heart rate monitor; the readings are high while under the lines. I've notice the same thing when walking near underground cables during wet weather. In the early 70s near Columbus, Ga, a power line threw off my compass reading during a compass course causing me to get one leg of the course wrong. The compass said that my destination was the center of the Chattahoochee River.

Earlier, I lived between a railroad track and a busy 2 lane highway. The train arrived every night and exchanged box cars....lots of banging. The highway in front of the house had a low place; whenever a semi went by, the trailer would raise up a little and make a banging noise when it dropped. It annoyed me for the first week; after that, I never noticed again.

Bottom Line: When buying real estate, it pays to check out everything!
iamlucky13
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by iamlucky13 »

egrets wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 4:30 pm
Dandy wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:58 pm I wouldn't buy such a house.

Not only the power lines itself but if there is a path under the lines it is like a creature express way. Deer, wolves, bears and lesser wild life use the land under the power lines to roam free since few humans use that land. They may like to stop their journey and munch on people's gardens near by.

We have a narrow tract of woods behind a 6ft barbed wire fence put there by the land owner years ago. We have had deer, turkeys, snakes, fox, ground hogs, etc in our yard over the years. No bears - yet. Somehow they manage to go over, under or the long way around and get in our yard. The area is densely populated with lots of roads and traffic - yet these creatures survive. I can't imagine what houses next to power lines, if there is untended land underneath, would experience.
I would consider the animals a positive factor.

I trained as a scientist, but I view with skepticism claims that various items like this are harmless. There's too much motivation for companies and corrupt scientists to lie. Look at the history of such things. Plus high tension power lines are just ugly.
Companies with a vested interest can control their own research. They can't control the research of others, but I'll refrain from going into detail about the health research, per BH policy.

The aesthetic concern is obvious. Figuring out how to value the home is the tricky part. My main thought on this is to make sure you don't overpay.

There also can be noise, and it is weather dependent (high humidity and rain can increase the corona discharge effect), so I'd advise visiting on a rainy day if possible unless you're certain you don't care about buzzing.

Someone mentioned concern if the lines fail, which is a much more concrete safety concern than the speculated health risks. I think it's worth noting that most structures in the US are held to similar design margins (might be lower for remote lines), so the risk should not be significantly different than other engineering risks we face on a daily basis. I've never worked on this, but I've seen some of the calculations before, and they include factoring in the temperature when the line is tensioned, and also consider icing and wind loads. Unlike distribution lines, transmission lines are generally clear of risks like trees falling on them - trees are not subject to any engineering analysis. :twisted:

This is just an anecdote, but my grandparents lived almost directly underneath a line for 25+ years before they passed away of typical age-related causes. According the agency that owns the line, this was a 115,000 Volt line. I don't recall any specific instances of them complaining about it. They knew about it when they bought the place. Their property had a great view looking away from the nearest pylon, which no doubt helped them remain satisfied with the property.
criticalmass
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by criticalmass »

SB1234 wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:56 pm
HappyJack wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:25 pm Main concerns:
1) health of high tension power lines
2) resale bc others are concerned with 1)
In real estate terms power lines in the vicinity is known as a 'incurable defect'. Health effects due to high tension lines have been debunked in various studies. But the resale concerns are real. You should be able to get a discount in comparison to similar properties without this issue. Of course when you sell your will also get back proportionally less.
It depends on location. High tension wire in the front yard can still be very acceptable to buyers. Modest sized 2 bedroom homes with little front yard and a high tension transmission line about 60-75 feet outside the front door have been selling for over $800,000 in Falls Church Va. Technically not in the front yard but close enough. No concerns that the high tension wires are limiting buyers to pay below asking price, in fact some sell above asking price.
prairieman
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Re: House with high tension power lines in backyard

Post by prairieman »

My very elderly parents have owned a lovely house next to a large power line for about 40 years now. It has never bothered me or them so these thread responses have surprised me. I guess I know what to expect if I end up helping to sell the house some day.

One positive aspect is that there aren’t any houses on that side of their property and there is lots of wildlife that lives under the lines and visible from their windows. Actually, you can look out the windows and not even notice the lines because they are above your field of view. It’s almost park like.
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