Transformer at back yard

Asked by Grace Lin, Sunnyvale West, Sunnyvale, CA Wed Mar 19, 2014

I am interested in a house in Santa Clara, CA. But there is an electric pole with a transformer on it at the back yard. Would that transformer cause any safety or health problems or even decrease the resale value in the future?

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Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Wed Mar 19, 2014
Both Don and Annette have touched upon important issues that should be taken into consideration.
The fact of the matter is that negative features such as this do not go away but can become bigger issues.

Of additional concern should be the need for the power company to have access to the electric pole for maintenance purposes. Keep in mind that many communities have regulations that restrict pools from being in a close proximity to a pool. Also keep in mind that you can plan on passing along to future buyers at least the same amount of savings you will enjoy for any future sale.

If this is a big enough concern for you, it might be time to consider exploring other options.

Good luck,

1 vote
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Wed Mar 19, 2014
One can assume that since this property has a utility pole in the back yard that the entire community is one which DOES NOT have buried utilities. The value influence has been factored into the values of the community. Homes with buried utilities seem to have higher values. This also is influenced by the ages of the home and community also.

As long as the transformer stays intact, you are safe. Brush fires, high winds toppling trees, heavy rains, earth quakes, mud slides are more likely to influence your life than that transformer.

If we could learn to live without electricity so many of our problems would go away.
Hmmm, I think I'll stick with the problems I know.
1 vote
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Wed Mar 19, 2014
It may or may not be a health hazard. There's conflicting data on whether nearby transformers or high power lines cause problems.

However, it will depress the resale value. Some people believe that there are health issues and simply won't buy. Other's just don't like the appearance and will pay less because of it.

Having said that, clearly houses get built and sold with power lines, transformers, etc., nearby. It's just that they can take longer to sell, and often sell for somewhat less than other nearby houses.

Check with your Realtor for more details.

Hope that helps.
1 vote
Sam Shueh, , San Jose, CA
Sat May 31, 2014
The high frequency emitter radiation like cellular tower has not been studied much. It is always thought the radiation given it be 10 milli-watt is inversely proportional to one's body. Doctors do not babies to be close or use cell phone due to thin skull wall thickness.

For low frequency emitting such as telephone exchange, transformer humming, high voltage power the studies done since WW2 are mixed. Some European studies suggest it may be harmful. Many dispute lack of using control in the experiment. You can order a ghost chaser detector (preferably high freq and low freq) you will notice a difference. One thing that tells you any kind of radiation is being generated. Your microwave oven shield leaks, router emits high power of radiation. All wireless devices carry fair amount of radiation that one day can be declared unsafe.

I personally do not want to be close to these devices. But someone has to live close to transformers. SC is a competitive place in terms of housing.
0 votes
Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Fri May 30, 2014
Hi Grace

It comes down to what a PG&E inspection indicates as to the EMF reading.

Make a decision based on that reading.

Good luck.

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0 votes
fteixeira, Home Owner, Santa Clara, CA
Wed Apr 2, 2014
Long time Santa Clara resident here.

Santa Clara homes have the utility services (power, cable, etc) along the property lines in the back of the homes. Yes, I can see why this is a concern for some. But, it does make the street side of the homes less cluttered with no wires running every which way. The power line voltage have been stepped down (7200V typically) and are not the ultra-high voltage that is used for long-haul transmission. Any servicing by the power company is much easier than buried lines. And, as an added plus, Santa Clara has a city-owned power company called Silicon Valley Power. Rates are much less than what PG&E charge.
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