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Electricity Causing Radio Static

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Carol in Florida about some appliances. How can we help you, Carol?

    CAROL: Oh gee, thank you. I’m so pleased to be able to give you my question here. Every time I play my radio I get nothing but static on it. And if I – I have a, what I call a dimmer switch …

    TOM: (chuckling) OK.

    CAROL: … that is on my porch. It operates the fan and the light. And when that is on my radio goes crazy here in the kitchen. Now my porch is right off the kitchen. It’s a closed in room. It’s like a Florida room. But I can’t figure out why if I put that on, everything goes nuts. Just like if you run the microwave.

    TOM: Well, around any wire, when the circuit is hot, there’s a magnetic field. And obviously what’s happening is that’s competing in some way with the radio signal just based on what’s in your house. And that’s why, when you activate that circuit, you get static.

    CAROL: Is there any way that I can overcome that? It’s just very, very annoying.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, the antenna position for the radio would probably be the right thing to do but, you know, short of finding a way to extend that or moving it into a different area – you know, some radios are going to be more sensitive to that than others. But it doesn’t sound like that much of an unusual occurrence; even though it really bugs you, Carol.

    CAROL: Oh, OK. Well, would it help if I took and had the light that switches on from the kitchen out to the porch – if I had that just on a regular switch rather than a diffuser?

    TOM: You know, it might. You mean it’s a variable speed?

    CAROL: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah, it might. It’s very possible that that could help. But you know, it also might be cheaper to buy another radio. (Leslie and Carol laugh) Alright, Carol? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: It’s so funny. The same thing happens if I put my cell phone near the clock radio in a hotel while I’m on the road. I can tell if the cell phone’s about to ring because the radio goes like (humming sound); starts to vibrate or make a humming noise because of the magnetic competition. (Tom chuckles) Interesting. 

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