Power Lines in Backyard: Everything You Need to Know

  • By: Mike Hale
  • Date: July 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

There will be cases where we live in homes with designs that tend to be out of our control because we bought the home pre-made. This includes having power lines in the backyard of the house. That said, how safe are power lines in the backyard?

The evidence that there are dangers when it comes to living near power lines is weak. Nevertheless, there is also nothing that states that it is completely safe for you to live near power lines. That’s why there are some people who would rather not buy houses that have power lines in the backyard.

Truthfully, there aren’t a lot of problems with living in a house with power lines in the backyard. However, that’s not to say that they are not dangerous as well. That’s why you have to weigh in the pros and cons and learn more about why it can be safe or unsafe to live in a house with power lines in the backyard.

power lines

Is it dangerous to have power lines in your backyard?

When hunting for houses, it can be pretty difficult for one to be able to choose a proper house because of how there can be possible red flags that come with it despite how lovely and well-designed the actual home may be. After all, a house is an investment that you have to be smart about or else your property value might end up dropping if you don’t know how to choose a proper home.

In that regard, many people would rather not live in houses with power lines in the backyard or with power lines nearby for different reasons. Whatever their reasons may be, the widely accepted belief is that it is dangerous to live in a house with power lines in the backyard. But how true is that?

One of the beliefs that many Americans have is that power lines can cause cancer. To that effect, the American Physical Society or APS said in 1995 that “the scientific literature and the reports of reviews by other panels show no consistent, significant link between cancer and power line fields”.

Then, in 1999, the National Academy of Sciences published a series of works that talked about the electromagnetic fields or EMF within the power lines that are close to houses. The study basically concluded that there is weak evidence that suggested that there is a possible link between the EMF in the power lines and cancer is weak and that there is no clear reason to believe that power lines can be dangerous to human health.

Nevertheless, the same studies also concluded that, even though EMF fields found in power lines and human exposure to such has no clear connection to cancer, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are completely safe. In short, the fact that the evidence is weak is not a clear indication that power lines near houses are perfectly safe and are not hazardous to human health. There is still a slight chance that they could actually be bad for human health, and that is what most people fear about living in houses that have power lines in the backyard or in houses that are close to power lines. However, you also have to consider the fact that the government won’t allow houses to be built close to power lines if they were that dangerous to human health.

How far away from power lines should you live?

Nevertheless, power lines in a neighborhood can be unavoidable especially when we consider how important they are when it comes to distributing the power to the houses. But what is important to consider here is how far the power lines are to the house.

While we have said that there are no clear indications that power lines near homes are dangerous, there are still some reasons why you should probably live a “safe” distance from the power lines especially if you want your home to retain its value and your quality of life to be the same.

So, to know how far you should be living from a power line, you should have the EMF measured. After having the EMF checked, here is a quick guide that you may want to follow:

  • 133 kV – at least 100 feet away
  • 230 kV- at least 150 away
  • 345 – at least 250 feet away
  • 550 – at least 350 feet away

How much do power lines affect property value?

Another reason why you should live far away from power lines is that living close to them can affect your property value even though they actually are not that hazardous to your health. The reason here is that some people have still not accepted the safety of power lines while also thinking that power lines can mess up the aesthetics of the house.

That said, power lines can actually lower the value of a property from anywhere between 10 and 40 percent. It is needless to say that power lines do affect the value of a property whenever they are too close to the house.

Can you build a pond under power lines?

Another reason why you should live far from power lines is that the government mandates that you allow a certain space as an easement under the power lines. That means that, even though you may own the property under the power lines near your home, you should not build anything that can block the way under the power lines.

In short, ponds and other types of improvements to your home should never be built right under power lines because of how the government strictly mandates that you should keep that spot open as an easement.

Should I buy a house next to power lines?

The question as to whether or not you should buy a house next to or quite close to power lines may be a difficult one to answer. After all, property values tend to be lower when it comes to houses that are close to power lines.

So, if you believe that there are no safety hazards involved when you live near a power line and that you are planning for the house to be your forever home with no plans in the future of selling it, then you might want to buy it. However, if you care about your property value and the possible health risks that are often associated with power lines, you probably should look for a home that isn’t close to power lines.