Smart Meter Radiation & Distance: How Close Is Too Close?

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If you’re concerned about smart meter radiation, distance is your best friend.

Let’s talk about why:

In the past, professional meter readers would visit your property to find out how much electricity or gas you’ve used. Now, utility companies are switching over to “smart” meters that simply transmit the information themselves.

You’ve heard stories about how microwaves and cell phones cause health problems, right?

Well, the same thing is being said about smart meters that emit similar types of radio frequency and microwaves.

This is the smart meter cover I recommend to all my clients.

While there is no question about that, there are still questions about the effects that these frequencies and microwaves have on the body. 

Still, there’s one thing not up for debate:

Overexposure to such radiation is dangerous.

Luckily, radio frequencies and radiation weaken with distance, so if you are forced into this equipment, distance should be your top priority.

Why Smart Meter Radiation Is a Concern

When utility companies defend their smart meters, they’ll often compare them to cell phones in terms of radiation output, but the similarities between these two devices are the actual concern.

Smart meters give off the same kind of radio frequency (RF) waves that cell phones do, but studies show that the radiation from smart meters is even stronger.

Smart meter radiation also exceeds that of microwaves and other common devices, but the difference is that smart meters don’t get turned off.

There have been numerous studies suggesting the dangers of electromagnetic fields (EMF) due to the fact that our bodies are electromagnetic.

The fear is that the extra exposure is throwing off bodily functions and breaking down DNA among other things.

EMFs are said to knock calcium ions off of cell membranes, for example, which can result in a lot of different health effects.

Smart meters are said to emit radiation potentially thousands of times a day, so if the concerns about EMF are legitimate, it’s no wonder smart meters have become a part of the discussion.

The biggest health concern, though not exclusive to smart meters, is cancer.

The International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC) called RF radiation a possible carcinogen, as did the World Health Organization (WHO), meaning they think it might cause cancer.

Other possible symptoms related to smart meters include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  • Concentration and memory issues
  • Eye problems

Why Distance Is Important

How much RF radiation people are exposed to depends on where the energy is coming from, and distance plays a huge role.

Smart meters are located outside of the home, so people already have walls to separate them. That’s more than can be said about cell phones, which most people carry with them all day long.

Still, having the meters outside doesn’t eliminate exposure, and the further away one can be, the safer it is.

This is because EMFs get less intense as a person gets farther away, and the decrease in radiation is pretty rapid. Some electromagnetic fields will fall to as low as 1/8th of their original intensity at just double the distance.

This is why there has been such a concern over cell phones, which are held closer than any other radiation-emitting device or appliance.

Still, the smart meters are right at home, and if they emit stronger radiation, the distance may not be adequate in some cases.

What Is a Safe Distance From a Smart Meter?

So, what is a “safe” distance?

The right distance can depend on a few factors. Radiofrequency obviously travels far, which is why it’s used for communication such as this.

Walls and other obstructions make a difference, but in general, it’s recommended that you maintain a 40-foot distance between you and your smart meter.

If you can avoid attaching it directly to the house, you might want to do that if you are truly concerned.

Some utility companies may force homeowners to upgrade to a smart meter, and if this is the case, there are a few things you can do to reduce radiation:

For example, some people install a metal plate behind the smart meter, adding an extra layer of protection between the meter and the home.

It’s even better if this sheet of metal is grounded so that the signal is carried into the earth. 

If you really want to make sure, you can measure the radiation in your area. There are professionals that conduct EMF surveys on properties, or you can purchase an RF meter that is sophisticated enough to catch smart meter transmissions (they are usually very brief).

For peace of mind protection, I suggest a smart meter cover like this one that blocks about 98% of the radiation emitted.

If you’re interested, check out our Complete Guide to Smart Meter Covers.

What Do the Experts Say?

There is some debate regarding the effects of EMFs and RF radiation, and there are studies that support both sides of the argument.

It’s a difficult thing to prove or disprove.

For obvious reasons, people are skeptical of how the utility companies report on the situation. They aren’t very open about how much radiation the devices emit, but they claim it is less than cell phones.

Scientific experts have done studies on this and found that the radiation from smart meters is actually more than cell phones and other appliances.

There are also studies that suggest frequencies from smart meters can disrupt the human nervous system. Some research has even shown that EMFs break down DNA bonds and affect calcium in the body, which are both sources of a variety of health issues.

The FCC has put limitations on EMFs, but many experts will tell you that these regulations are outdated. 

Both WHO and the IARC have labeled RF radiation as a possible carcinogen, but other organizations, such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are less convinced.

So there is clearly some debate, but much of the evidence points to the idea that smart meters pose a threat and carry unnecessary risks.

It’s also unclear whether or not utility companies are behind any efforts to downplay the effects of their smart meters.

When it comes down to it, we are the ones who decide if and how we protect our homes from smart meter radiation.

I personally take the “better safe than sorry” approach.

How about you? Do you think you should keep a safe distance from your smart meter? Let me know in the comments below!

Sources:

https://hbelc.org/pdf/Resources/SmartMeter_Sierck.pdf

https://www.iarc.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/pr208_E.pdf

http://www.committeetobridgethegap.org/pdf/110212_RFrad_comments.pdf

Side Note: I just want to quickly address the times we’re living in. Many people are feeling hopeless, depressed, confused, isolated…just overwhelmed. Can you relate? If you need a dose of hope right now, please click here to read my personal note to you.

37 thoughts on “Smart Meter Radiation & Distance: How Close Is Too Close?”

  1. I just bought the smart meter cover shown on your jpage. How can I shield my family from rf that comes from my wireless rotor?

    Reply
  2. The UK smart meters are placed inside out

    houses mine are 6ft away from my bedroom

    They are also square shaped and would need

    a different shapes cover which are not available

    as yet in this country

    Reply
    • Hi Mark,

      That’s actually really good news that your smart meters are 6 feet away. Obviously, it’d be nice if they weren’t there at all, but the effects of EMF dissipate greatly with distance.

      As for shielding your smart meter, you can make your own pretty easily. I have a tutorial here you can check out, though of course, you’d have to make adjustments to make it square: https://beatemf.com/smart-meter-faraday-cage/

      Reply
  3. There has been a smart meter placed outside the house right outside the bedroom. There is a metal plate behind it on the inside of the house which is the panel circuit switched for electricity. Is this more dangerous?

    ALS since the smart Meyer replaced the old meter and is not 40 fert away can I get the guy to come and put it on an outside pole? It seems they want me to pay for pole etc. I think not since they are not complying with 40 foot rule away from radiation. So it should be no cost to me. The house is very small and only 1 floor.

    Reply
    • Hi Patricia,

      The 40 ft recommendation is just that – a recommendation. It’s not law or even standard process with utility companies, so they’re technically not breaking any “rule.”

      Having it right outside the bedroom is certainly the most dangerous spot as that’s where most of us spend 7-10 hours a day. I’d continue fighting to get it moved, but it sounds like they’re going to make it pretty hard/expensive to do so.

      Check out your options for smart meter shielding like these and consider rearranging your room to put your bed as far away from that exterior wall as possible.

      Reply
  4. yikes. we are about to move into a house where there are 2 smart meters outside our bedroom walls. both near the bed itself. what do we need to do about soemthing that is already installed?

    Reply
    • Yeah, that stinks, but it’s the unfortunate reality for so many of us. So the first (and free) thing you can do is rearrange your room so that your bed is on the opposite wall as the exterior wall. Distance is so, so important. Your other options are to get a smart meter shield like this one or build your own with some cheap materials – here’s a tutorial for that.

      And if you can’t move your bed, I’d get some kind of shielded barrier to hang on the wall directly opposite of the smart meters – like this poster (listed in the home/office category). EMF paint is another option (and paint the wall the smart meters are on), but that gets pricey fast and labor-intensive.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  5. what about a water meter is that the same as a smart meter they want to install on my house and why do they need to come in my home to do that

    Reply
    • While water meters are not the same as smart meters for electricity tracking purposes, they can be “smart” in that they communicate to the utility company wirelessly. If it does, then yes, the danger is still there.

      My hubby actually works for our city as a water meter technician (installations and repairs), and he told me that they don’t have to come into your home. I don’t know if there are certain systems in other cities/states that would require them to, but yeah that’s weird. I would call your water company and ask!

      Reply
  6. I have a question about the direction of the radiation from smart meters. Is the worst exposure from front and back or does it also emit radiation to the sides of the meter? And does it help ifI’m in a second story apartment and the meters are on the first floor? In other words, does the radiation also travel upward? Thanks.

    Reply
  7. Hello. I live in a mobile home park. My bedroom is in the very back of my trailer. Outside, about 6 feet behind my trailer, there is a wooden board on a utility pole that has 8 electric meters attached to it. There is also a transformer(?)towards the top of the pole with multiple cable lines (from other mobile homes) running up the pole to the transformer(? It’s a 1.5″×3′ canister looking thing). My gas meter is about a foot behind my trailer and is freestanding with a hose going into and underneath my trailer. My trailer is 14×70. Is this a bad situation?? I’ve never felt comfortable or slept well in that room. Something just doesn’t feel right. What do you suggest I do? This has bothered me for years.

    Reply
    • Hi Cathy,

      That situation certainly isn’t ideal. If it’s at all possible to get a different plot, I would try to do that. However, I know that might not be possible. Don’t be discouraged…there are certainly some protective things you can do:

      – Is it possible to turn your trailer around so that your bedroom is on the far opposite end from the pole with all the meters? This would be the fastest, easiest option.
      – You can paint the interior wall of your bedroom with shielded paint. Unfortunately, it’s usually black, but you can paint over it with a color of your choice.
      – A cheaper and less permanent route would be to simply line the walls with aluminum sheeting (could even use something like mylar blankets). I know it’s not “stylish” but it’s cheap.
      – You could print out pamphlets about smart meter radiation to pass out to your neighbors and see if you can get them to agree to use covers on their meters (and you buy one for yours). This would be ideal.
      – About your gas meter, is it “smart”? Does it send data wirelessly or does someone from the utility company come out and read it periodically? If it’s the latter, you’re good to go. If it’s smart, they make shielded covers for those too, so that’s an easy fix.

      If you decide to do any interior shielding, I highly recommend you get a meter first so you can take before and after measurements to test your shielding solutions.

      As far as the breaker box being in your bedroom, that may or may not be a problem. The problem there would be dirty electricity. You can get a DE meter and see what it measures. If the reading is high, you could just tape up a mylar blanket over it, making sure all sides are sealed, no holes/gaps/leaks. That way, it’s easy to take down whenever you need to access it.

      I hope this helped you, Cathy.

      Please feel free to email me with any other questions – jordan@beatemf.com

      Reply
  8. I live in a apt.building we just got notices we will be getting smart meters. Here is my concern.my apt. Is on the other side of the wall from theses meters for all the apts on at least my floor9 apts.all that is between me and them is a cinder block wall. My mom died from breast cancer,I just had cancer removed from my face. Ia. Worried about theses meters.

    Reply
    • Ugh, so sorry you have to deal with this. Honestly, I would have to move. If I couldn’t leave the complex, I’d see if another apartment further away from the meter bank is available.

      If that’s not at all possible, you may be able to mount some RF-shielding mesh on that wall (depending on the apartment complex’s rules). You would need to cover the entire wall. Shielded paint would be another option, but again, I don’t know if you’re allowed to paint if you’re renting.

      Reply
  9. does aluminum foil help block stuff, i watched some vids where people using emf meters wrapped the foil around phone and it blocked the signal and the emf meter hardly picked up anything

    Reply
  10. Hello I’m concerned about this as I live in a condo and my meter is right in my bedroom.
    I haven’t used gas in years and the gas company says it’s locked but does that
    for sure mean it’s not giving off any waves or frequencies? Let me know what
    you think or any advice on how to find out would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
  11. Hi Jordan,

    There is a electronic panel and a smart meter right outside of my bedroom, it is on the outside of the house . I moved my bed to the other side of the bedroom so the bed is not against the wall. However I have a 8 months baby who shares a room with us. If I want to use the aluminum foil to cover the wall, does it matter which side goes on? (Shiny or dull) and also I read someone use aluminum foil to boost WiFi signal. So my question is how do I use it correctly? Do I need to cover the wall of the entire room or just one side? Thank you!

    Reply
  12. I recently discovered e.on installed an electric smart meter at my sister’s property which is a tiny chalet bungalow. It has an open-plan lounge/kitchen – probably less than 15 feet in length. The meter is inside the property within a kitchen cupboard. My worry is that when stood at her kitchen sink she is only a couple of feet away from the meter. In the circumstances, I don’t believe the meter should have been changed. What is your opinion?
    My sister is in her 70’s and has stage 3 cancer and is an alcoholic.

    Reply
    • Hi Patricia,

      You are right to be concerned. That’s not a good situation they’ve put her in. But as far as them having the “right” to do that, they do.

      There is shielding you can put into place, but this falls under something I reserve for my smart meter consults as I would need pictures and such to provide the best recommendations. If you think it would help, you can book one here.

      Reply
  13. Will your smart meter Farraday cage cut down on RFI (radio frequency interference) eminating from smart meters???

    Reply
  14. Hi. I live in a 12-story apt blg – smart meters will be installed on Monday. I have 4 apts on my floor, with 4 meters on the outside of one of my walls near my back door. I can opt to keep my analog meter, but will that make any difference if the neighbors’ have their 3 smart meters on that wall and smart meters on all of the other floors? Does my individual meter create higher rf because it’s monitoring my electrical use? Thanks I’m thinking of buying the metal sheets to cover the one wall affected by the new meters. I’ve read that some of these types of blocking devices can also be harmful.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Polly,

      EMF exposure (or in this particular case, RF exposure) is cumulative, so any reduction you can make is worth it. So yes, keeping your analog meter is worth it. But you would still want to shield that wall. A combination of reflective material and an absorption material is the “gold standard.” I recommend this smart meter shield kit.

      Reply
  15. Hi,
    I am moving into a condo and I’m pregnant with twins. There is a bank of six smart meters mounted outside my living room. I am considering painting the interior side of the wall as I have to paint anyway. The smart meters are located near a corner. Do I need to paint the entire wall? Or should I just paint behind the meters? Or extend around the corner? Do I need to shield a close-by window as well? Last question – would putting individual meter shields over the meters help?
    Thanks so much!

    Reply
  16. Smart meters superimpose a carrier signal onto the line, this means any power outlet emitts emf. I have built a high pass filter draining these higher frequencies to neutral (ground). This can be done with line filters and ferrite chokes cheaply.

    Reply
  17. Any idea what the effect is and ideal distance when there’s a bank of 13 of them? I’m in a huge apartment complex, and there are 13 meters all right next to each other on the building across from my apartment, not even 40 feet away.

    Reply
    • Hi Tonya,

      The cumulative amount of RF coming from 13 smart meters is definitely a concern. As for a safe distance from them, you’d need a meter to show you at which point the RF levels drop to within safe limits. I would guess that 40 feet is not far enough to be within biologically safe limits unfortunately.

      Reply
  18. I moved into a senior apartment living place 3 years ago. Outside of my bedroom is the end of the building and I have 16 smart meters on the wall right outside my bedroom and bathroom. I’ve always been told that wasn’t a great thing by my son. What can I do about it? And definitely I would think 16 me was horrible to have outside my bedroom wall.

    Reply
  19. Do you have recommended leaflet to hand to a neighbour who has just had a smart meter installed. Don’t yet know how near to our house it is.

    Reply
  20. Hi thanks for great information. My metre comes in a metal box to begin with on the outside of the house. If i place another metal sheet behind it to shield the interior would this go behind box on exterior wall or on inside wall inside?
    Also re earthing metal sheet – how is this achieved and is it better in power point earth or ground?
    Last question: in areas with low receptivity electricity companies at times use a small antenae on outside of metal box. What if any precautions can be taken to mitigate against this other than moving box and distance…?
    Thanks so much for awesome info
    Nicolette

    Reply

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