Dirty Electricity

Dirty electricity is erratic spikes and surges of electrical energy traveling along power lines and building wiring where only standard 50/60-Hertz AC electricity should be. Also called electrical noise, line noise, and power line EMI, it is one fast-growing source of electro-pollution in homes, schools, and businesses today.

Common Sources of Dirty Electricity

  • Light dimmer switches
  • Fluorescent light bulbs and tubes
  • Computers and laptops
  • Printers and scanners
  • Televisions
  • Music Entertainment Systems
  • Video game systems
  • Cordless phone systems
  • SMART meters and appliances
  • Wi-Fi routers and modems
  • Battery charging devices for cell phones, tablets, etc.
  • Microwave Ovens
  • Blenders and mixers
  • Hair Dryers
  • Multi-Speed Fans
  • Solar power systems

How Dirty Electricity Is Created

Dirty electricity is created by many electronics, appliances, energy-efficient lights, and other devices that run on electricity. It is more common now than ever before. Why? Because many modern devices no longer use standard AC electricity “as is.” Instead, they must “manipulate” electrical current in one way or another in order to operate.

For example, many electrical devices today must convert standard 50/60-Hertz AC electricity (alternating current) into other forms of electricity — such as low voltage direct current (DC) or higher frequency AC — in order to operate. And many devices now draw power from wiring intermittently, in short burst, rather than continuously. They do this by turning the flow of power to a device “on” and “off” repeatedly, often thousands of times per second. These processes interrupt the smooth flow of standard 50/60-Hertz AC electricity, which creates harmonics and erratic surges and spikes of electrical energy (i.e., voltage transients).

Once created, this unusable dirty electricity spreads throughout a building and even to other buildings via wiring and power lines. As it travels, it radiates potentially harmful electromagnetic fields (EMF) into living and work environments.

Spikes and surges of dirty electricity as shown by a prototype of
Greenwave’s Advanced Spectrum EMI Meter.
Coming Soon!


A dimmer switch lets us adjust light levels from bright to dim by turning a know or sliding a lever. It controls the amount of light produced by turning the flow of electrical current to the bulb(s) “on” and “off” repeatedly. It does this very rapidly for bright light and more slowly for dim light. While this repetitive “on/off” sequence saves energy and creates nice “mood” lighting, it disrupts the normal flow of 50/60-Hertz AC electricity and produces dirty electricity that travels along building wiring and radiates into rooms.



A compact fluorescent light bulb runs on high frequency AC electricity (alternating current) rather than standard 50/60-Hertz AC. The high frequency current helps CFLs use energy efficiently and significantly reduces the flicker, humming, and slow starting problems associated with old-style fluorescent tubes.

The bulb contains an electronic ballast that converts standard AC electricity first into DC (direct current) and then into high frequency AC (usually between 20,000 – 60,000 Hertz). It also regulates the flow of current through the bulb. Unfortunately, as the ballast produces and regulates high frequency alternating current (AC), it “chops up” the standard 50/60-Hertz AC sine wave, creating spikes and surges of electricity energy (i.e., dirty electricity) that contaminate the normal electricity flowing through building wires.

Example:  COMPUTER

A modern computer runs on low voltage DC electricity (direct current) rather than standard 50/60-Hertz AC electricity (alternating current). And, different parts of the computer require different DC voltages. For example, cooling fans need approximately 12-volt direct current (DC), while the various circuit boards require 3- to 5-Volt DC.

A computer uses a linear transformer and/or chip-based transformers (switch-mode power supplies) to convert standard 50/60-Hertz, 100-127 Volt (or 220-240 Volt) AC electricity into the different DC voltages the computer needs. As transformers change AC to DC and decrease voltage (multiple times), electrical noise is created.

Dirty Electricity Concerns

Dirty electricity can interfere with the proper functioning of appliances and electronic equipment, a phenomenon known as electromagnetic interference or power line EMI.

Today, when an electrical device draws power from a building’s wiring, its not only getting the standard AC electricity it needs as initial input, but also the erratic spikes and surges of energy (i.e., the dirty electricity) also present on the wiring. This can be problematic for electrical devices that are not well equipped to deal with this dirty electricity.

It also appears that dirty electricity may disrupt important electrical processes within our bodies, the most sensitive “electrical equipment” we have. Exposure to this type of electro-pollution has been associated with a wide variety of health problems such as cancer, asthma, sleep disturbances, fatigue, skin rashes and tingling sensations, allergy symptoms, headaches, muscle and joint pain, brain fog, memory loss, ADD/ADHD symptoms, depression, and more.


Measuring Dirty Electricity

The most accurate, practical, and cost efficient way to measure how much dirty electricity there is in a home or another building is to measure the amount present on the structure’s wiring. This can be done easily with a plug-in dirty electricity meter, such as the Greenwave Broadband EMI Meter shown here.

Plug-in dirty electricity meters are easy to use. Simply plug them into outlets to see how much electrical noise is present on nearby wiring. Doing this before and after installing dirty electricity filters can help you see the difference these filters make in reducing the dirty electricity on your wiring. These meters are also very helpful for guiding the installation of dirty electricity filters. They can help you identify significant sources of dirty electricity in your environment and determine the best number of filter to install in each room for optimal results.

NOTE: Meters designed to measure AC electric fields, AC magnetic fields, and wireless radiation (i.e., radio frequency/microwave radiation) present in the air are not good for accurately measuring dirty electricity.

Cleaning It Up

In general, dirty electricity is easier to “clean up” in homes and other settings than wireless radiation. To start, try these simple steps.

  • Install dirty electricity filters in your home and other places where you spend a lot of time. The Greenwave Filters shown here are easy to use. Simply plug them into electrical outlets to significantly reduce the amount of dirty electricity present on the wiring in your environment. The less dirty electricity there is flowing along your wires, the less that will radiate into rooms.
  • Whenever possible, turn OFF electronics, appliances, energy-efficient lights, and other electrical devices when you are not actively using them.
  • If you use compact fluorescent light bulbs in your environment, consider replacing them with incandescent bulbs or LED bulbs. If you opt for LED bulbs, make sure to choose a brand that does not produce high levels of dirty electricity. You can test this with a dirty electricity meter such as the Greenwave Broadband EMI Meter.
  • If you have a SMART utility meter on your home, get it replaced with an analog meter if possible.

Learn More about Dirty Electricity and Greenwave’s Solution for Cleaning It Up!

Greenwave International on Worldwide Business with kathy ireland®

Aired Fall 2016 as sponsored programming on Fox Business Network.