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Do You Know The Difference Between EMF and RF?

Posted on: November 26th, 2014 by Peter Sierck No Comments

Do you know the difference between electromagnetic fields and radio frequency?

Do you ever wonder if you are getting exposed to electricity from things in your home or at work?

Do you ever think you might be exposed to something in the air from all the wireless things we now use?

Even if you don’t use wireless things yourself, are you still being exposed by others?

If you wonder about any of these things you are thinking about electromagnetic fields and radio frequencies.

Electromagnetic fields or EMF’s usually refer to AC low frequency magnetic fields. Magnetic fields are created by electricity flowing through wires. Common EMF sources are power and transmission lines, internal building wiring system, electrical panels, transformers, motors and appliances. Elevated EMF fields are often caused from wiring problems, stray current or bad grounding.

Radio Frequency Radiation or RF’s usually are high frequency electromagnetic radiation due to the use of wireless equipment, devices and data transmission. Common RF sources are radio and television transmissions, cell towers and antennas, portable phones, cell phones, wireless computer networks (WLAN) and radar equipment. In-house wireless network installations have become a significant source of RF radiation in our homes and offices.

To make it easier to see what is EMF and what is RF, here is a table I put together of examples of what things are measured as EMF’s and which are measured as RF’s.

EMF (AC magnetic) RF(High Frequency Electromagnetic Fields)
Measures Wired power systems

Power lines


Internal building wiring

Electrical panels



Influence of power lines and transformers

Electrical wiring problemsCellular antennas

Cell towers

Cell phones

Wireless information




Cordless phones

Baby monitors

Wireless computers

Wireless game systems


If you want to know what the EMF or RF readings are at your residence or workplace, you can have measurements taken by a professional testing company using professional calibrated equipment.

EMF measurements can be taken outside to see what the magnetic field levels are from various things including power lines, transformers and circuit breaker boxes.  EMF measurements inside the residence or workplace can be taken sa well. Measurements can be taken once with as many electrical devices turned off as possible and a second time with electrical devices turned on. The results are then analyzed by professionals to see if levels are high and if they are, what improvements can be made to lower the levels. Sometimes the high levels are caused by wiring problems that can repaired by an electrician or electrical appliances that need to be fixed or replaced.

RF measurements can be taken outside to see what the levels are and if there are any influences from things like cell phone towers or antennas. RF measurements can be taken inside to see if there are any high levels from your wireless devices. Similar to the EMF results, they are analyzed by professionals to see if there are any high levels and if there are and what can be done to lower these levels.  Sometimes, it is as simple as moving wireless devices to other rooms or switching to hard wired instead wireless.

I hope you found this helpful. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Thanks for reading!




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