EMF Dallas Houston Austin San Antonio Fort Worth: REVISED AUG 2021 (~ 2.5 YEARS LATER after Initial Announcement in Jan 2019)
(feel free to skip down to Part 6 in BOLD RED for the latest lowdown)
Dear Residential & Other Homeowners,
It was not an easy decision to make to move away from your market sector for the following reasons:
1) Most of my residential clients are VERY nice people and I don’t like turning away individuals who are concerned about an issue that is difficult to get the straight truth on and has a lot of conflicting and even predatory opinions on the Internet. By predatory, I mean there are a number of companies who make money off of your fears of EMF / cell phones / dirty electricity, “electrosmog” and so forth.
2) It does feel rewarding in a manner that is different than commercial work. I’ve had housewives and other family members thank me for coming over because they were actually losing sleep and only by employing ScanTech could they get the educated and balanced answers they were looking for.
3) What amazed me is how many people seemed very comfortable with me in their home. If they did not accompany me, (which was surprisingly common) I always asked: “Are there any areas of the house where you do not want me to go?” Even with their pets and young children in other rooms by themselves, they would say: “Go wherever you need in order to complete your survey.” I still think back on that and am gratified that I engendered such trust immediately in others and I NEVER had a problem or a complaint about my services.
4) What also impresses me is how gracefully the this decision was taken. No one has written angry emails, said bad things about ScanTech on the Internet, called me and cussed me out; none of that. AND I have noticed a decrease in these calls, so this filter is evidently working.
5) Interestingly, when I try to give people the short answer of: “Save your money and don’t worry about EMF, cell phones, etc.” no one wants to hear that. The only way I can convince them is to show up, take the readings and then demonstrate what I am talking about and then accept their money. (or talk to them at length on the phone for free which doesn’t work from a business standpoint)
6) I am not announcing a reversal of my decision, but I believe I am evolving a valid system that works for everyone as I don’t want to leave people stranded and at the mercy of amateurs so I have updated this page to have most of your questions are answered below – sound fair?
Now that I am out of the residential market there are a few other questions I CAN answer:
Q1. How much is an EMF survey?
In the beginning nearly 20 years ago, I charged around $150 – $220 depending on the size of the home as a larger home takes longer to do a survey on. I found that the “pain point” or limit that most homeowners were willing to pay was around $200 + and above that point the “decline” status started to sharply increase. The exception was doing EMF surveys in distant cities which had no EMF consultants to speak of in which case I would try to “bundle” several clients at once in order to give them a discount. Then it was more like $350 + depending on the logistics. I remember one weekend in Houston where I did 7 jobs and 3 of them were back to back on time but with no rest in-between which is VERY challenging because you want to answer the homeowner’s questions without rushing them and at the same time make your other appointments on time.
But I am not an event planner and prefer to limit the logistics to no more than 2 jobs in a day.
Not too long ago, I had a friendly competitor (a company that preferred residential and did not like traveling outside of the DFW Metroplex) that recently retired. Their flat rate was $400 with a few stipulations on size and travel distance. Frankly, I was pretty annoyed that someone who did not have nearly my experience and education in this field was charging a rate in Dallas / Fort Worth that I rarely ever charged unless it was bundled with another service like air quality and radon / mold testing.
Now I understand there is a company in Houston that charges around $1000 for a residential and I am including this just to give you the range of what to expect which is to pay between $400 – $1000+ for a residential survey but what kind of answers you get from that, I can’t say with any confidence as I have never hired or worked with these companies. Again, I am a bit put out by some of the relative newcomers (less than 5 years in business) because I have done thousands of surveys, have a degree in Electrical Engineering, and have a strong background in biomedical / bioelectromagnetics and I never charged that kind of rate except for the largest houses (upwards of 10,000 sq. feet) located in other cities. But this is capitalism, it’s a free market, and they can run their business how they see fit without my approval.
But I would be very careful about a business that does an assessment and then sells products to “mitigate” that issue for reasons of potential bias. For example, in the more heavily regulated areas of mold, it is ILLEGAL in the State of Texas to do the initial testing AND to perform the mitigation.
Q2. EMF / EMFs: should I worry about them?
Unless you have a biomedical implant (which is becoming more common) then my long research and experience in the field of bioelectromagnetics says NO. At least as far as the radiated electromagnetic fields go but here are the exceptions:
1) EMF 60 Hz Power Lines: be sure that your home is not in the “fall zone” which is the height of the high voltage power line vs. the distance from your property, including your fence if you have one. Ideally, the distance should be greater then the height with some extra safety room. So the question to ask is: “If a windstorm, tornado and / or structural defect brings the tower or one of the high voltage phase lines down, could it physically impact and / or cause an electrical fire?”
I have actually seen high voltage power line not only go right over someone’s backyard, but in one case, the most EXPENSIVE home I ever surveyed (well into the 8 figures) had HV lines running directly over the home as the builder lied on the permit and had it classified as a “REMODEL” which it wasn’t. I have photographic proof of the lines and the blueprint. How the builder got this past the inspectors, I don’t know except that I am sure it had to do with money.
2) EMF Green transformer boxes with Elevated 60 Hz Magnetic Fields: These are invariably used in new suburban neighborhoods where the secondary feeders are buried underground in which case the transformers are either out in the alley, or by the front yard sidewalk in the utility easement strip depending on if the secondary feeders are in front or out back. While they look imposing and do have a strong magnetic field at point blank range, the falloff is VERY rapid and falls off with 1 / r^3 which means that EMF levels fall of to ambient within a foot or two. Unless the transformer itself is electrically defective (which can cause a wide range of problems) I wouldn’t worry about it.
3) Internal Electrical Issues 60 Hz EMF: The most common problem I saw with magnetic field issues INSIDE of a home was 3 way lighting (one light controlled by two switches) in the kitchen / living room / some bathroom) in which the electrician used two wire runner instead of 3 wire runner which winds up separating the current and thus elevates the magnetic fields. Another problem was a borrowed neutral or separate breaker circuit and this was found in cases where an auxiliary system such as landscaping lighting or pool equipment was hooked up at the last minute or after the home was finished and the electricians would just hook into any available power they could find.
The elevated EMF is only a clue that something is amiss as the above practices are prohibited by the NEC electrical code. So the biggest concern is not the magnetic field itself, but how it was caused by improper wiring. If the home is improperly wired, then there could be other dangerous conditions that should be investigated.
4) Microwave Radiation Cell Towers / Cellular Phones / Wireless Routers / Computer Monitor EMF: I used to work on cellular phones at the component level in the 1980’s while I was still in high school. These were large metal boxes that were installed in a vehicle (typically under the driver’s seat) and had to have external antennas installed on the car. In sharp contrast to the concerns about the EMF put out by these systems these days, I had more than one customer ask me to “bump UP the power” so that they had better range and clarity of conversation. These units had a typical radiated power of 2 Watts – 4 Watts. Compare this to cell towers that usually run at less than 0.5 Watts and cell phones that radiate considerably less.
It is in the interests of cell tower / cellular providers and cell phone manufacturers to use the LEAST amount of power and to direct it away from the ground as this reduces the number of towers needed and also increases the battery life of cell phones as they continually “ping” the nearest towers on a continual basis.
There is a concern I have about cell phones, wireless networks, PCs, etc. but it has nothing to do with the radiated RF power which is often minuscule. (wireless routers are also about 0.5 Watts) The main concern is the impact on our communication styles and interaction with others. You have no doubt walked into a restaurant and seen everyone completely focused on their phone, couples in the same room texting each other, and an entire generation who is brought up with the idea that you need a PHYSICAL EXTERNAL DEVICE in order to communicate with another human being.
Do you understand what this is doing to our humanity? Then there is the issue of “blue light” and how our circadian rhythms are being disrupted. In a recent discussion during a lecture for another certification I am pursuing, someone brought up an interesting article on the “Carcinogenic Effects of Night Shift Work”.
So while I may not agree with the DIRECT cause and effect issues that some alarmist organizations connect the dots with in terms of EMF radiation exposure, I believe them to be a necessary counterpoint view that we should not completely dismiss. While the science and epidemiology of EMF may be difficult to pin down or agree on, the social effects are DEFINITELY there.
Also, the “Distraction Effect” of cell phones cannot be argued which is why virtually every state has laws that regulate the use of mobile devices while driving. They reduce situational awareness which can be as low-level as walking into a tree or other obstacle while texting and walking to becoming an easy target for crime. (plus a lot of individuals are mugged FOR their cell phones)
Mold & Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
ORIGINAL POSTING CONTINUED BELOW:
PLEASE do NOT call or otherwise contact me if you are a homeowner, rental occupant, etc. who either wants to “Just ask a few questions” (it ALWAYS turns into a 45 minute + conversation for free) or “Who do you recommend?” (EMF consultants are rare in most parts of the USA and good ones are REALLY rare and I don’t keep a current directory)
For over 2 years this has posted right under the phone number, but I still get periodic calls or requests through the Comments section of the website or email.
BTW, this includes tenants of apartments, condos, huge mansions, etc.
So UNLESS you are an actual commercial company – PLEASE DO NOT CALL OR CONTACT ME.
The reasons for this are simple:
1) Insufficient time to take these calls; especially with the volume of telemarketers calling on my line wanting to offer me a loan, buy my home / company, extend my vehicle warranty, etc.
2) You are probably interrupting work or I am on the other line with a paying client or some other task that requires focus such as driving / navigating to a jobsite.
3) Due to education, long experience and a fair list of credentials and commercial clients, ScanTech has largely priced itself out of the residential market.
4) Another problem is that a lot of calls are from people looking to purchase homes in the Houston, Austin, Dallas DFW Area among other Texas metropolitan areas and the market is TOO HOT right now. (and has been for awhile) You would THINK that would be good for business, but it isn’t. Why?
Because when you have a market where people are paying above list price, paying cash in full, etc. because of a scarcity of homes in Texas, then the window time allowed for inspections narrows towards zero. Someone joked that there are more real estate agents than listings available, and as it turned out, someone did a bit of research and found about 16,000 licensed agents in Dallas and just over 10,000 active listings. I’ve had people call me several times in a row and ask me if I can come out to Las Colinas, Frisco, etc. right away that morning and I have to explain that ScanTech does not do residential and we don’t operate like 911 or some other home emergency service.
As for the most common questions:
Q1) “Can you please just answer a few questions about EMF, air quality, etc.?”
A1) No I can’t outside of what has already been answered on this website (which is a LOT of information – particularly if you include the blogs) so the burden is on you to read and comprehend what I have already documented. I cannot afford to work or consult for free, nor should I be asked to. Do you call doctors expecting free medical advice? It is also a liability exposure to my company just as it would be for them. For commercial companies I can spend an appropriate amount of time interviewing to see if it is a job that falls inside my normal scope of work / project schedule and is feasible to engage in.
Q2) “Is there someone else you can recommend or an EMF survey / consulting service provider in my area?”
A2) Regarding if there is a service provider in your area, EMF consultants are fairly rare (good ones are EXTREMELY RARE) and most of them are on the West Coast in California and there are a few on the East Coast. I have requests for “Who can measure EMF in [insert random small town in the middle of nowhere]?” or other regions and my answers for that are:
- I can’t track every company or consultant that may or may not perform EMF / indoor air quality consultations, etc. and I likely cannot offer an opinion as to whether they can help you. This could also expose ScanTech to liability.
- I’m not a search engine or referral service. Google gets paid to do that, not ScanTech.
- I am not employed as a receptionist for other companies that may or may not be able to provide services.
- There is already a webpage resource that I have spent a long time developing as a free resource and I don’t like having to repeat something I have already written again and again.
It is located here:
The final straws came when someone called me and started in with:
“I know your website says that you don’t do residential, but I thought that was just temporary and you might be available now.”
Then there was the clueless individual who called at 8 PM on a Saturday night and asked if she could intern with my company.
I mean I don’t do residential and I am not hiring rude and unprofessional “interns” on a weekend night; period.
So thanks to dense humans like this, I have written an entire page and typed slowly to explain the position of ScanTech.
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