Pros and Cons of Living Near Power Lines

Buying a new home can often be a process fraught with emotion, with all the decision-making that goes into it and the things one must consider. Location is essential, which raises a million questions when looking for a house. Do you want to live near an airport? What are the noise levels? How close do you want to be to your neighbors? One of those things to consider that many people don’t think about is whether you should live near power lines. Here are some pros and cons of living near power lines to ponder.

Pros and cons of living near power lines
Photo by wonho kim on Unsplash

Pros of living near Power Lines 

Power lines do not pose any immediate danger

Electric companies almost always install power lines at a safe distance from residential areas and homes. So you won’t have to worry about things like emissions or any other disturbances which may be a genuine cause for concern. The only things to worry about would be fires and electrocuting yourself if they’re downed The latter should be easy to avoid as long as you’re mindful. Fires are another issue but depend on where you live.

No reported health issues from power lines

We’ve all probably heard the rumors about electromagnetic fields (EMFs) causing health issues like cancer, birth defects, Downs SYndrome, liver defects, and heart defects. The good news is this isn’t likely true.

After carrying out extensive research, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has concluded that power lines do not pose any health issues to those living close to them. The electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are not strong enough to cause any problems. It is important to note that research into this is still ongoing.

Homes close to power lines are cheaper 

People sell properties that are close to power lines or have power lines passing through them at lower prices – surprisingly affordable, in some cases. In studies over the last decade, in some instances, power lines lowered property value by as much as thirty percent. Thirty percent is on the higher end, but it illustrates what a steal a home near power lines can be.  

Homes are expensive, so take any price reduction you can. Maybe one of these houses will end up being your dream home.

Even if they’re cheaper, they don’t experience vacancy at higher rates than other homes. If it’s hard to sell, you will be able to rent it out with no issues.

Faster service in case of a power outage

Electricity companies tend to respond relatively quickly to emergency calls or service calls received from those living close to power lines. Power outages and other issues won’t affect you as quickly, and you can easily monitor progress right outside your window.

This is great if you live in a place where storms often take the power out. You can rest comfortably knowing that you’ll be one of the first to get power back.

A certain element of privacy

If you prefer living in secluded areas or like to keep mostly to yourself, then living near power lines is the right choice. Developers tend to space the houses out to make room. Because of this, you’re much less likely to interact with your neighbors. Looking over your backyard fence, all you’ll see are empty fields with the occasional power lines.

If you’re like us, privacy is a huge selling point when looking at houses.

Free yard maintenance

If you live somewhere with a lot of trees like the Pacific Northwest, then yard maintenance is a big issue. A storm could put a tree through your house if you’re not careful, so you have to be diligent about trimming them. This is very expensive – the average cost of a tree trim is $460, which you will have to fork over regularly.

If you live near power lines, this is often not your problem. The power company can be liable for fires and want to keep down times to a minimum. They have teams that will regularly take care of these pesky trees for you.

Cons of living near Power Lines

Risk of fire

Even though power lines are built and installed in a way to withstand weather and environmental elements, torrential rains and storms can sometimes destroy them within minutes or even seconds. In the summer, there’s also the potential risk of fire.

If the fire department fails to respond on time, you may be looking at property damage. PG&E power lines caused the Camp Fire in California in 2018, which destroyed 19,000 homes and killed 85 people. 

This will of course be case by case. You only really have to worry about this in places that are susceptible to wildfires like California, Oregon, and Arizona.

Reduced property value

Properties close to power lines or those with power lines running through them typically have a lower market value. So while there are benefits to buying them, if you think of your house as an investment, it will accrue less value over time than other homes.  

More recently, there have even been some studies saying that power lines don’t affect property value much at all. This might be an outlier, but you could be only looking at a 2 – 9% reduction in value.

‘Buzzing’ sounds might be annoying

Have you ever noticed the buzzing sound near power lines? Corona discharge is what causes this sound as air particles become ionized by the conductor.  

If your home is close enough to a network of power lines, then you might find it off-putting having to get used to the constant ‘buzzing’ and ‘humming’ sounds. 

Some people are highly sensitive to these sounds. If being around household appliances make you hear or feel the electricity, avoid buying a home near power lines that generate massive amounts of power. You’ll definitely regret it.

More construction by your house

Power lines need constant maintenance. If you live near power lines, the power company will constantly be near your home doing work. Imagine if something like a flood happens that destroys the underground copper and aluminum lines leading to the powerlines.

Electric company workers could be in your neighborhood for months repairing them. Suddenly, your quiet and secluded house will be like Fifth Avenue. Who wants that?

It can be tough to sell your home

If you’re looking at this article, you’re likely skeptical about buying a house near power lines. You will be faced with people just like you if you were to sell your property. In a worst-case scenario, you might not get a reasonable price for your home, or it may take a while before someone agrees to buy it. 

As we mentioned before, vacancies aren’t more common. Consider turning it into a rental if you can’t sell it and then try again once the market is better.

They’re just plain ugly

There’s no beating around the bush. Power lines are an eyesore. It’s not like you can avoid looking at them either. Even small ones will tower over your fence and be in your line of sight. If you’re like me and want to pretend for one second that I’m not surrounded by people, these hulking metal structures will make that very difficult.

Should you live near power lines?

When looking at the pros and cons of living near power lines, you begin to realize that a lot of it comes down to personal preference. If you can put up with the buzzing, and live with the selling and fire risk, then there are no reasons power lines should affect the home buying process.

Alan Behrens

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