Some science behind the scenes

Domestic electrical equipment

Domestic equipment produces a background magnetic field. In houses connected to the electricity mains, the typical background level of the magnetic field from the power supply is between 0.02 and 0.04 microtesla (μ-T). These exposures are normally superimposed by magnetic fields from electrical appliances inside the building. Exposure can be significantly higher in the immediate vicinity of appliances that produce strong magnetic fields:

  • High consumption appliances that generate heat, e.g. cookers, boilers, hairdryers, clothes irons
  • Appliances with magnetic coils or transformers, e.g. TV sets, low-voltage halogen lamps, clock radios
  • Appliances equipped with an electric motor, e.g. drills, food mixers, vacuum cleaners.

As a rule, our exposure to magnetic fields from appliances like those cited above is only short term because they are not in permanent use. However, the situation is different when it comes to appliances that are in use all the time, e.g. clock radios. 

The other sorts of appliances that can affect us include:

  • Domestic installations, i.e. fixed distribution and fuse boxes/panels, electricity cables, mains sockets, as well as extension cables
  • Screens - Cathode ray monitors for computers and TV sets generate different types of fields and radiation: electrostatic fields, low frequency electric and magnetic fields, high-frequency non-ionising radiation and weak X-rays , flat screens also generate low-frequency electric and magnetic fields

Although magnetic fields are generally generated by electrical equipment, you can get some odd effects from metal domestic equipment. 

Electric fans can generate magnetic fields. Plumbing can generate magnetic fields.