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Living Next To Transmission Lines: Will I Get Sick?

 

The internet is great. It facilitates access to essentially all of the accumulated knowledge on Earth. The open source architecture of the internet allows anyone to create content, which for the most part is in the public interest. However, as most people are aware, there is content on the web which is created either for malicious intent (ie. to sell you something), or simply out of plain old ignorance. This brief blog aims at dispelling a certain myth perpetuated by both of those latter circumstances.

 

That myth is: Transmission lines cause, among other ailments, cancer and neurological disorders.

 

Transmission lines are so commonplace that most people are simply immune to their presence within their field of vision. However, when you are purchasing a house, they stick out like a sore thumb. Other than the obvious aesthetic drawbacks to a large transmission line neighboring your backyard, there is a worry about the negative health effects which accompany them.

The debate around the harmfulness of transmission lines is fueled directly from a fundamental misunderstanding of what “radiation” is. There are two types of radiation, non-ionizing and ionizing. Non-ionizing radiation does not possess the energy required to strip electrons (or ionize) from atoms. Ionizing radiation carries enough energy to knock electrons from their orbit, thus being able to change molecular compositions, which in turn may alter cellular DNA.

Transmission lines, microwave ovens, cellular telephones, FM and AM radio, and all household electrical appliances emit non-ionizing radiation.

Ionizing radiation can come from many sources, which may include cosmic radiation, medical imaging, industrial sterilization, and smoke detectors.

At this point, the debate should be over. Transmission lines do NOT emit the type of radiation necessary to impact humans in any negative way.

 

However, as this common misconception is still alive and well, below is further discussion on the subject.

Here are some excerpts from sources asserting that electromagnetic fields (EMF) from transmission lines are a direct cause of health ailments in humans.

From safespace (www.safespaceprotection.com):

“Strong, artificial EMFs that radiate from power lines can scramble and interfere with your body’s natural EMF, affecting everything from your sleep cycles and stress levels to your immune response and DNA!”

There is no evidence to suggest that the EMF propagated from transmission lines have any causal relationship with anything stated above. A 2002 study commissioned by the WHO (World Health Organization) titled “IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans” says the following:

“There is little experimental or theoretical evidence that mutations could be directly caused by ELF [extremely low frequency] magnetic fields… There is little evidence that ELF electric or magnetic fields can cause malignant transformation of cells in culture.”

A convenient graphic is also shown, which based on your proximity to the transmission line, puts you at risk of many illnesses and disorders.

This graphic, while hilariously incorrect, does raise an important question: what exactly is the field strength based on the proximity to transmission lines?

 

Well, this is easily determined with a high amount of accuracy, and is shown by the below graphic.

Source: Atco Electric

A typical 240kV transmission line right-of-way is about 60m in width. This means that if you are standing directly adjacent to the right of way, the highest magnetic field you would be exposed to is about 8 milligauss. For reference, standing a foot away from your electric stove or a fluorescent desk lamp would expose you to over three times that amount.

From Life Energy Designs (www.lifeenergysolutions.com):

“Another, well researched, way in which EMF interacts with our bodies is through the pineal gland and melatonin reduction… Cancer and other serious conditions are possible results of interrupting this bodily repair cycle.”

Again, this statement is easily refutable. A study produced in 2013 by Elliott et al (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23337237), came up with the following conclusion:

“Our results do not support an epidemiologic association of adult cancers with residential magnetic fields in proximity to high-voltage overhead power lines.”

 

Of course, as per the scientific method, it is impossible to prove that there is anything on the planet which is correlated with no known health risks. Research can only tell us that no observable correlation to negative health effects exists in any one study. After that, it all comes down to a simple risk/reward approach.

Transmission lines do not cause cancer or any other illness as some may suggest.

They may however, block a tad bit of your view.

 

Daniel Lang, P.Eng.

 

Connect with Daniel here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven Qualities of a Great Realtor

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Your home is one of the most important places in your life. It can be your most valuable asset, the place where you make your fondest memories, and live your greatest dreams – home is where the heart is, after all! Buying or selling your home is an exciting process, and deciding on your realtor is one of the first steps. Like any other professional service industry, the realty industry is made up of all kinds of realtors with differing styles, and selecting a realtor should be a thoughtful decision. Below are seven qualities of a great real estate agent, exactly what you should expect from your realtor.

Your agent should be…

1) An Excellent Communicator

No two deals are the same when it comes to buying and selling, and not every deal is going happen without a hitch. Your real estate agent should be communicating with you continually, updating you with every detail of your deal. To top it off, buying and selling is quite time-sensitive, so having a realtor who is always ready to talk to you about what’s best for you, what your next steps should be, and what’s happening with the deal is definitely an important quality.

I pride myself on always getting back to my clients emails, text messages, or phone calls within only a couple hours of receiving them. Even if I am busy showing homes to someone else, I will reach out to my client saying “I have received your communication and will respond before ___ time” – buying and selling real estate is always a big deal, and I know that you don’t want to be sitting at home wondering if I got your message. I always communicate in a timely fashion.

 

2) Very Proactive

Your agent should be proactive in working with you, either as a current, past, or potential client. They should be reaching out to you regularly and always on top of ways to keep your deals going smoothly. They should be thinking about you and how to improve your current real estate situation even when they are not around you – these are the agents who have your best interest in mind, and the ones you will want to work with for every real estate deal.

Aligning myself with my clients goals is very important to making our time together fun and productive. I will ask tons of questions so that I fully understand the motivation behind all of your needs and wants. This way I can make your goals my goals, making us a seamless team!

 

3) A Great Listener

Real estate agents are generally great at talking up a storm – however, they need to be great listeners too! They must be able to listen to what you’re saying, and understand your situation, your needs, and your wants. If you’re working with an agent who is actively listening to you, you’ll be that much more confident in your relationship.

I believe in forming a strong working relationship – key word relationship. Strong relationships are built on communication and trust. Part of good communication is listening, my father always said “you have two ears and one mouth” –it just makes sense.

 

4) Adaptable! 

Your needs and wants might change from time to time, and your agent should have no trouble adapting to your situation. Your agent should be able to change their style in order to conform to yours – if you prefer face-to-face meetings instead of texting or emailing, the realtor you are dealing with should be able to work with your needs.

Being a millennial, I have tons of experience with the latest technology and trends including going paperless and electronic signatures. But that is not for everyone, and rest assured that once we meet together we can discuss the systems that suite your needs best.

 

5) Able to Give Great References!

Companies don’t hire people without first checking their references, you shouldn’t work with a realtor without checking theirs either. Your agent should be happy to share past client testimonials with you, and if they don’t, that might be your clue to look for a different agent. I keep some of my testimonials online, you can click here to check them out.

My past clients are so happy with our time together that they are willing to get in touch with new clients to give a reference. Just ask!

 

6) Knowledgeable of Your Situation 

This goes hand in hand with being a great listener – your agent should be able to understand and be knowledgeable of why you’re buying or selling, whether it’s for investment purposes, personal family situations, or something different. A good agent will be mindful about the situation, and will know the steps to take to make your real estate experience as smooth as possible.

 

7) Able to Work with Your Time-frame 

Real estate deals are time sensitive, and your realtor should be able to gain a clear understanding of your timeframe – and how to work effectively within that allotment. They should be able to think quick on their toes in order to get each and every detail worked out in the time you need.

 

I love being a Realtor, and I am passionate about my clients and their current real estate needs. I work hard to make my clients’ experience smooth and tailored to what they need.

Do you have questions about your current real estate situation? Let’s chat! Click here to get in touch.

 

Source: http://www.remonline.com/7-qualities-great-real-estate-agent/ 

Why Use a Realtor to Buy a New Home?

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Many people think that when you are purchasing a new build, you might not need a Realtor. However, I highly recommend you have a Realtor to represent you – there are so many factors that go into buying a new home! As your agent, I can help with all aspects of your transaction, including:

  • The location, design, layout, and features of your new home – I have a unique aspect and can help you see what qualities are better for resale value in your new home
  • I can help you understand all that paperwork – what it all means, what can go wrong, and what to expect
  • I have so much experience in negotiating, and I can help you get the right price, the perfect upgrades, and the contract terms that suit you
  • I will be facilitating in the buying process from beginning to end – going through step by step and what to expect after each phase, including who to call and talk to, and when
  • I can give you objective professional advice and insight during all phases of the process, such as contract, construction, walkthrough, and closing
  • While the sale representative will always give the appearance that sales prices are non-negotiable, I am able to use recent and historical sales data to aid in the negotiation, data that is not available during new construction.
  • I have knowledge of and the ability to leverage contracts, real estate law and the real estate community when/if things go awry with the builder
  • Working with me will give you access to my contact sphere of vetted professionals who I have spent many years building relationships with, including mortgage brokers, bank managers, builders, contractors, tradesmen, lawyers, and home inspectors
  • I can help you with information on Alberta New Home Warranty

When buying a new home, it is easy to forget that the salesperson is working for the builder. They are friendly, knowledgeable, and trained to make you feel comfortable. When working with a Realtor you have someone who is legally mandated to look out for you and your best interests before, during, and even after your transaction!

Just the other day I had a client who had purchased a brand new Brookfield home. He spotted a foundation crack with water leaking in to his basement. He was obviously panicked. He sent me a text at 10:00 pm at night, and because I am a bit of a workaholic I was up and working and jumped at the chance to help. I connected him with his warranty partner, explained how the process will work, and within 24 hours he had all he needed to start the process of fixing the issue.

Buying a new home is a very emotional and exciting time, and sometimes this can cause some “blindness” in buyers. My ten years of experience selling homes (old and new) has made me immune to the emotion when buying. This allows me to be unbiased and because I always align myself with my client’s goals I am able to see things from your point of view but as a professional realtor.

Still have questions about buying a new home? Let’s chat! Click here to send me a quick email.

How To Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Smoothly

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I am very particular with the referral partners I work with. Referring my clients to a house inspector who will educate, understand, and go the extra mile for my clients is so important. Brad Hanson from Hanson Inspections has proven himself to be one of the best home inspectors I have had to privilege to work with over the years. Here is Brad letting giving us a few tips on how to maintain and upgrade a few specific rooms in our homes.

The warmer days of summer are upon us again. Some days may be too warm, and that’s when you can really appreciate a good central air conditioning system. Here are some tips and suggestions to help keep yours running smoothly.

A building’s central air-conditioning system must be periodically inspected and maintained in order to function properly. While an annual inspection performed by a trained professional is recommended, homeowners can do a lot of the work themselves by following the tips offered here.

 

Clean the Exterior Condenser Unit and Components

The exterior condenser unit is the large box located on the side of the house that’s designed to push heat from the indoors to the outdoors. Inside of the box are coils of pipe that are surrounded by thousands of thin metal “fins” that allow the coils more surface area to exchange heat.

Follow these tips when cleaning the exterior condenser unit and its inner components – after turning off power to the unit, of course.

  • Remove any leaves, spider webs and other debris from the unit’s exterior. Trim foliage back several feet from the unit to ensure proper airflow.
  • Remove the cover grille to clean any debris from the unit’s interior. A garden hose can be helpful for this task.
  • Straighten any bent fins with a tool called a fin comb.
  • Add lubricating oil to the motor. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
  • Clean the evaporator coil and condenser coil at least once a year. When they collect dirt, they may not function properly.
  • Inspect the Condensate Drain Line

Condensate drain lines collect condensed water and drain it away from the unit. They’re located on the side of the inside fan unit. Sometimes there are two drain lines—a primary drain line that’s built into the unit, and a secondary drain line that can drain if the first line becomes blocked.

Homeowners can inspect the drain line by using the following tips, which take very little time and require no specialized tools:

  • Inspect the drain line for obstructions, such as algae and debris. If the line becomes blocked, water will back up into the drain pan and overflow, potentially causing a safety hazard or water damage to your home.
  • Make sure the hoses are secured and fit properly.
  • Clean the Air Filter

Air filters remove pollen, dust and other particles that would otherwise circulate indoors. Most filters are typically rectangular in shape and about 20 x 16 inches, and about 1 inch thick. They slide into the main ductwork near the inside fan unit. The filter should be periodically washed or replaced, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. A dirty air filter will not only degrade the quality of the home’s indoor, but it will also strain the motor to work harder to move air through it, increasing energy costs and reducing energy efficiency. The filter should be replaced monthly during heavy use during the cooling seasons. You may need to change the filter more often if the air conditioner is in constant use, if any family members have respiratory problems, if you have pets with fur, or if it’s particularly dusty indoors.

 

Cover the Exterior Unit

When the cooling season is over, you should cover the exterior condenser unit in preparation for winter. If it isn’t being used, why expose it to the elements? This measure will prevent ice, leaves and dirt from entering the unit, which can harm components and require additional maintenance in the spring. A cover can be purchased, or you can make one yourself by taping together plastic trash bags. Be sure to turn the unit off before covering it.

 

Have a few more questions about home inspections? Connect with Brad through his website.

7 Roofing Related Tips to Look Out For When Buying a Home

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When you are buying a new house, it is extremely important to check the roof. Knowing about the roof will give you an idea of what kind of maintenance you should expect. Roof damage can be a deal-breaker because roof repairs aren’t something you would want to deal with when you move in.

This article from Crest Roofing gives you 7 roof-related tips to look out for when buying a home.

1) Check what type of roof it is.

As a general rule, the simpler the roof, the easier it is to maintain. There are many types of roofs and for Alberta’s climate, certain types of roofs hold up better than others over the years.

Gable and hip roofs are both simple, easy to maintain, and they are very durable against Alberta weather elements. Check Crest Roofing’s blog for more pros and cons of each type of roof.

Is it a flat roof?

If you’re looking at a flat roof, check to see what kind of material it’s made of. Each type of roofing material for a flat roof has a different lifespan and maintenance requirements. With flat roofs it is also best to have an experienced roofing contractor or roof inspector come do an assessment. Flat roofs can make for beautiful and elegant homes, but if not done right they can cause problems.

2) How old is the roof?

It depends on what the roofing material is and you have to check with the manufacturer for specifics, but here is the general guideline for roofing material lifespans:

Shingled roof: 15-20 years

Tar and gravel roof: Up to 30 years or more

EPDM Roof: 20-30 years

SBS Membrane roof: Up to 30 years or more

Metal Roof: Up to 50 years

Keep in mind that these numbers reflect ideals and to meet these lifespans, the roof will require regular and proactive maintenance.

3) Are there problems with the shingles?

Curling, cracking, buckling or missing shingles are all signs that you may need to get them replaced soon. Here are 5 Signs your Shingle Roof Needs Replacement or Repairs.

4) Check the roof gutters

They may look all right from the ground, but if you actually go up and look into the gutters, you can look for the following things:

  • What shape are they in? Check for rust, dents, and gaps.
  • Where do the downspouts go? Make sure the downspouts run off somewhere away from the house like into a draining system, rain barrel, the street.
  • Is there debris in them? Check for gutter gunk and for shingle granules building up in the gutters. Shingle granules could mean the shingles are nearing the end of their lifespan.
  • Are they draining properly? Check to see if there is water sitting in the gutters. It should drain properly to avoid turning your troughs into a garden along the eaves of the roof.

5) Is the roof soft to walk on?

There are only two reasons why a roof will be soft:

  1. The plywood/supports are rotten or weak.
  2. It is a flat roof that is made with rigid fiberglass insulation. It feels spongy, not soft. (Usually with commercial roofs)

If you buy a house with a soft roof, repairs or replacement are going to have to happen soon.

6) Are there lots of trees near the house?

Trees are wonderful to have on a property. They’re great for shade, you can mark a milestone by planting one, they can provide fruit, and they’re just lovely to look at. Unfortunately they can also be risky to have around homes.

Winter storms that dump huge amounts of snow in a short time can make trees or branches fall onto your roof. It happens every year in Alberta. Especially in Edmonton where we have a lot of old, impressively sized, Elm trees (Did you know? Edmonton has one of the largest concentrations of uninfected American elms left in the world?)

Branches can rub on the shingles and rip or tear them. It might not be happening now, but look for trees that have the potential to make contact with the roof. On flat tar and gravel roofs, trees brush away the gravel and leave the membranes exposed to the sun, which can cause cracking, blisters, and premature wear.

Trees that hang over your roof drop seeds, leaves, and pollen. These seeds can potentially grow under and between your shingles and cause damage. Seeds, leaves, and pollen can also clog up your gutters so at the very least you’d have to be vigilant about cleaning your gutters.

Wildfire danger is significantly increased if there are a lot of old, dry trees around your property and/or neighbourhood. This summer we experienced major home loss due to wildfires, even as close as St. Albert and any damage that you can prevent by not having a ton of trees near your home and roof could potentially save your neighbourhood.

7) Are there water stains on the ceiling or walls?

Water stains look like brown circles on the ceiling inside of the home. They can be caused by leaking pipes, but if the ceiling is on the top floor, it could mean a leak in the roof – make sure and get a proper inspection of the roof done before purchasing a home.

Are you looking for a home in the Edmonton area? We can help you find a home that’s right for your needs, give us a call – let’s chat!

If you are currently house-hunting and looking for experienced roofing pros to inspect your potential home’s roof, get in contact with the roofing experts at Crest Roofing.