Power Lines (Wooden Poles) in the Back of House

Updated on May 16, 2013
L.J. asks from Dallas, TX
10 answers

Hi Moms,

We are looking at a house that has power lines in the very back corner of an acre lot. I have heard that if you live close to power lines it can be dangerous as it could cause cancer. These are wooden poles which are not supposed to be as bad as metal. Any advice? Thanks

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So What Happened?

Wow thank you so much moms for the insightful advice. We are going to make an offer on the house because I agree with you, I don't think it's a danger. With the layout of the lot, they are not an eyesore so I think resale value will be ok. Thank you again! So great to have this support group!

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answers from Dallas on

I agree with Wendy, the cancer issue is related to the high voltage power lines not the regular wooden pole power lines.

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answers from Dallas on

Health issues aside, I would be concerned about resale value . Weather or not the health issues are legitimate, a lot of people think they do and will not consider purchasing the property. So from an investment stand point, I would give it some very careful thought.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hi, good for you that you are "watchful" for you and your family! It is the BIG silver tower power lines that are the ones to be concerned about.



answers from Dallas on

Greetings Everyone,

I know this is an older topic, but the question is interesting, so I thought I would share my electrical engineering insight on this topic.

The composition of the poles has very little to do with the magnetic field at any distance away from the lines. (the field inside the structure itself is another story, but that has no bearing on health effects)

The magnetic field itself emanating from the lines is dependent on other factors instead such as the present current load, physical geometry and phasing of the lines.

I disagree that the "wooden pole" lines (which describe what is known as a 12.5 kilovolt feeder) will present a lower field in the living space of the home than the big silver towers which are usually 138 or 238 kV.

The reason why is because the smaller feeders are often much closer to home and increase the ambient field far more than a larger tower 150 - 500 feet away. I know this for a fact because I have inspected over a thousand homes near power lines and have observed these trends.

So the takeaway from this is that you can't tell by looking, and getting a professional onsite is the best way to get clear answers and peace of mind.

Best Regards,

J. G.
ScanTech Technical Consulting
"The Unusual Problem Specialist"



answers from Dallas on

the home I grew up in for 18 yrs has wooden pole power lines in the corner of the yard -- and it was a big backyard but not an acre. My parents still live there. We've never had any problems. I think once there was a power outage and the crew came out to work on it -- needed access thru our yard for like a day.
Other times, very rarely they come out to trim the trees around the power lines so when there's bad weather the tree limbs won't knock over the power lines.


answers from Dallas on

I think it is more of a personal choice. Would you be ok having a view of power lines?

It would bother me. When we were about to build, we looked at everything like water towers, power lines, etc. We just didn't want to view them on a daily basis from our home.

We opted for a wooded lot with trees and no other man-made distractions.

Simply personal choice in my opinion. I have heard the rumors of cancer but what does not cause cancer now? Rumer mill goes crazy on all sorts of things.


answers from Dallas on

We have wooden poles with power/phone lines on the back of our property (2.5 acres) and we never notice them. They are surrounded by trees. I've never heard of them causing cancer. The people around us are elderly and have lived here forever, and as far as I know they don't have cancer. We think our property is beautiful, but I think the poles might bother me if they weren't surrounded by trees. We've only had people working on them once when we were having phone trouble, and we've been here 10 years.



answers from Amarillo on

I am glad you asked that question. I don't have any helpful information but am curious to see what others have to say. I have heard that before too, and we have been looking at some property with the same issues.



answers from Washington DC on

When people talk about the supposed dangers of living close to "power lines," they mean the high voltage towers carrying lines cross country from the power plants to towns, not the bitty telephone poles between houses. If those are aesthetically displeasing to you, find a neighborhood where the power supply wires to houses are buried. Then you only have to hide the green boxes under shrubbery and fake rocks.



answers from Abilene on

Hi L.,

I worked for our local electric company for 20 years and my hubby still works for them. We had/have this question all the time.

The "danger" you hear about from the distribution line to your house is electromagnetic current. It is present in any electric line or device. The amount you receive from the lines in the back yard are probably less than the ones you receive from a cell phone.

The other hazard you will hear about is CFCs (I am sorry but I don't remember what that stands for). These are only present if you have a transformer (green "bucket") on the pole and then the only concern is if there is a leak.

These two things are not as bad as all the "hype" that you have heard. If they were, the Linemen would be in danger from them since they are constantly working around them. I have friends that have done this work for more than 20 years and they have no medical problems.

As for the look of the pole (or box for underground service), just remember, if you landscape around them and have problems, you could have damage to your shrubbery/flowers that the service provider is not responsible for. The linemen have to be able to climb the pole, so try to not plant anything close to the pole or any type of climbing vine. This makes it very difficult if someone has to climb the pole.

I have forgotten a lot since I left the company, but contact me if you have any questions. I can probably get answers for you.


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