Clean Power Vs Dirty Power: What’s The Difference?

The energy that does not experience voltage spikes or drops is generally considered clean power. An alternative term for clean power is green electricity. Its nonpolluting electricity is made from photovoltaics, geothermal, wind, tidal, and rainwater harvesting.

On the other hand, voltage ripples and noise are sometimes called dirty power. Electronics, especially microelectronics, can perform poorly due to dirty power. It’s destructive, costly, and inconvenient whenever there’s a power problem.

Fortunately, most dirty power issues are associated with the electric meter on the customer’s side. It means customers can fix it themselves. Additionally, it will increase energy efficiency, lower costs, and prevent costly disruptions. Knowing the difference between dirty and clean electricity is crucial for hospitals, schools, homes, and offices.

Here are some facts about clean and dirty power to help you understand the difference. Let’s dig into it.

What Are the Symptoms of Dirty Power?

There are many symptoms of dirty power that you can observe in your home. This term refers to a wide array of electrical problems. Each of these issues has varying degrees of disruption to your daily operations. And they can be expensive to deal with at times.

Several symptoms may indicate dirty power, such as flickering and blinking lights, equipment vibrations, and noises.

Additionally, transformers can experience problems such as excessive heat, noise, or premature failure. If it is dirty power, then the panels, neutral wiring, and other distribution equipment become hot which may lead to accidents.

Voltage spikes, for example, can cause damage to electronic components, both immediate and long-term, as well as the loss of computer memory and the error of programs and operating systems.

There is also the possibility of motors failing prematurely, equipment shutting down unexpectedly, contactors failing, and the power factor being low. Countless other problems will result, including utility penalties, poor network communications, lower-than-expected system capacity, and a variety of other things.

Clean Power VS Dirty Power

The term “Clean Power” refers to electricity generated using power sockets. There is almost no electrical noise associated with this type of energy. It is important to note that electronic noise does not necessarily mean audible noise, although it may appear under certain conditions.

It indicates, generally, that any power supply that is expected to operate is not capable of handling electromagnetic frequency.

Compared to that, a dirty power supply contains electromagnetic noise that interferes with it. Depending on where the noise comes from, it can be coming from electrical wires outside or from within your home.

The source of dirty electricity is usually both inside and outside the home. Lights and unnatural sources like utility switches can affect the quality of power even before it gets to your house. Electrical hazards may also accumulate due to daily fluctuations in internal electrical equipment.

Most people indeed tend to ignore or downplay minor pollution power issues, such as flashing lights, which are usually related to the environment.

Power problems caused by pollution can lead to more serious problems if left unattended. Fortunately, the majority of power problems occur at the home of the user of the meter. Therefore, you can take appropriate steps to correct the problem.

Through the implementation of these measures, it will be possible to avoid costly power outages, improve energy efficiency, and reduce overall costs. We need to identify what caused the dirty electricity in the first place to start the process.

What Is the Reason for Dirt Power?

A dirty power source is usually a device that manipulates current through a circuit, such as an AC or DC electric device. In addition to creating high frequencies, it can cause spikes and surges that can radiate through your stuff. 

A low power source, voltage sags, and noise harmonics may also adversely affect HVAC equipment. There are some general dirt power disturbances listed below.

  • Over-voltage: Over-voltage can occur as a result of rapid load reduction and utility switching. 
  • Zero-volt state: Creating zero-volt conditions is one of the dirty power sources caused by lightning, accidents, and ground fault equipment failures. 
  • Common mode disturbance: A common mode disturbance occurs when voltage or current fluctuates between the power line and the ground. In most cases, an electrical wire connects the victim’s circuit to the disturbance source. Whenever a disturbance occurs, it passes through the circuit connecting the victim to the cause.
  • Normal mode noises: Usually, common mode noise occurs when a noise current has leaked from the power supply line through a stray capacitance. 
  • Ringing transient: Normally, a pulse, and ringing transient occur when there is a narrow rise in voltage over a short time. Among the causes are utility switches, switch-on and switch-off of loads, and lightning strikes. 
  • Low-voltage condition: If your lights appear dim, you may have low voltage due to overloading the electrical system, faulty wiring, or a conductor wire supplying inadequate current. In the event of a loose connection to metal appliances or surfaces around your home, electrical shock may occur.

How Can You Test Dirty Power?

Most dirty electricity comes from electronic devices and appliances that convert AC to DC. There are two commonly used methods of testing dirty power. 

Graham-Stetzer meter

Therefore, it is super simple to use the Graham-Stetzer meter. Simply plug the meter into each circuit in your home to determine what it indicates. Your house will have approximately one circuit per room, so you must enter each room individually.

You should visit at least one of the rooms on the same circuit if several are on the same circuit. You will need to test both wirings if there are multiple plugs in a room from different circuits.

Sometimes there will be more than one outlet on the same circuit in a room, such as a bedroom. A large room, such as a kitchen, may have multiple circuits. 

For most houses, a reading under 200 gs is considered safe. In the case of power readings that exceed 200gs or if power expressed as 2000gs is greater than 200gs, power filtering is required. The meter can detect frequencies between 10 kHz and 100 kHz. 

AM radio

AM radio is a common type of EMI detector. By turning the AM dial to the left (500 kHz) and right (2 MHz), the radio will indicate the presence or absence of static based on the electromagnetic environment.

It is a highly effective method for detecting dirty power supplies in the home.

How Can You Solve the Dirty Power Issue?

In your home, too much dirty power could cause electromagnetic interference (EMI) or even health-threatening electromagnetic fields (EMFs).

It is always a good idea to solve whether the power in our office or home is dirty. But, sometimes it is challenging to solve. Here are some solutions to solve the dirty power issue. 

Measuring results

You should contact a qualified electrician to get assistance with this. To determine the severity of the problem in your home, your electrician will use a dirty power meter.

Fortunately, dirty electricity filters are relatively easy to install, so you can reduce the “noise” and any hazards associated with dirty electricity. It is usually quite affordable in most cases.

Choose your appliances wisely

Think about that before you buy an appliance if research shows that one uses less electricity than the other. In any case, avoid using devices that pollute your electricity, like Dimmer switches, battery chargers, TVs, and computers.

You can turn things on and off

Despite the proliferation of dirty power in homes, certain aspects remain unchanged. “Ensure that anything you are not using is turned off” remains sound advice.

Smart meters aren’t always the most reliable

Smart meters are capable of reducing your home’s overall energy consumption. Moreover, they may contribute to the emissions of dirty electricity.

Note- If you want to reduce the dirty power of your audio devices, you can use a good-rated power conditioner that can completely reduce any noise and unexpected power of your device to produce better quality audio.


You must understand the difference between clean and dirty power whenever you experience transformer problems or noise. For a system to be more effective, it is necessary to figure out what causes these disturbances and put in place some solutions. 

Hopefully, you have acquired some electrical knowledge that can aid you in distinguishing dirty power from clean power.  Fortunately, it is possible to fix most dirty power problems by yourself.

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