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Sleepless in Berkeley, California (EMFs)
January 10, 2018
6:50 pm
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Hi, I’m wondering if anyone has had a similar experience or has any advice. I’m renting the first floor in a house that is not near any cell towers. I have never been able to sleep here as I seem to be having problems with my upstairs neighbors’ electricity.

My Cornet ED88T detects RF bursts every seven seconds both day and night. The bursts may be 1,000 xs above the base level and they seem to increase when my neighbors are running their many electronics. (It does not detect anything much in the magnetic or electric range.) I wake up before the heater starts blasting (repeatedly every night) and recently discovered it is on the same circuit breaker as the lights in my bedroom. (My refrigerator was also on this circuit and I had to move the bed away from the wall and across the room before the plumber/electrician agreed to move it to its own grounded circuit.) Their dish/clothes washers/dryers are above my bedroom and I can’t stand to be in the room when they are running.

We recently opted out on the SmartMeters from PG&E. However, the seven second bursts have not changed. There are two ADT alarm systems in the house, but the bursts occur independent of my alarm being on/off/disconnected. Not sure if this is a SmartMeter, alarm system or a wiring question. (?)

Thanks for any help. The soonest I can move out is May. 🙁

January 12, 2018
9:57 am
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peter williamson
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Hi Aline, welcome to the forum. It’s impossible to offer reliable advice without seeing your environment, but here are a few suggestions.
From your description it sounds as if you may have 2 separate problems – one with RF and one with power frequencies. Although I have heard reports of RF signals being transmitted over the power circuit I would start by assuming that they are separate problems. I assume you do not have wifi or a cordless phone and are careful with any mobile phones or wireless devices you may own.
The frequent burst of RF radiation does sound very characteristic of smart meters. Although you may have opted out of the smart meter program, if you still have a digital smart meter I would not assume that it is innocent. If you can wander round as much of the house as possible with the meter you may be able to get an idea of which device(s) are causing the problem – the signal will normally increase noticeably as you get close to the offending device. Can you get near to the meter(s)? If the neighbours are willing to co-operate you could maybe test their electronics as well.
According to the spec, the Cornet meter is not particularly sensitive for electric fields, so if you are very sensitive it is possible that the fields from their washer/dryers could be below the Cornet’s 10V/M threshold and could be affecting you. Likewise a very low magnetic field when the appliances are running could affect you.
If you can identify the offending appliances one option might be to screen the appliances, or the walls/ceilings/floors if the fields are coming in from other people’s rooms. Tin foil is quite effective for both RF and electric fields and can be used for screening on a trial basis, before going to the trouble/expense of a more permanent solution. Magnetic fields are extremely difficult to screen. For your sleeping area, bed canopies are available (but expensive) for screening RF, but you can get sleeping bags made of screening material which might be acceptable as a short-term measure until you can move out.
A third possibility is ‘dirty electricity’ (DE – see the main site here for more information). This is more likely to arise from electronics (or smart meters) rather than appliances, and requires a separate meter. If there is one appliance creating DE the whole house will probably be affected. DE can also come in from outside.
Depending on finances, you could consider getting a survey from a building biologist if there is one in your area – ideally with the co-operation of the neighbours to at least ensure that they can plug in their appliances while the survey is being done. This would help to identify the source of any problems and get advice on the best methods of remediation.

January 26, 2018
8:57 pm
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Hi Peter, Thank you for your response! This forum is an amazing find as I can only learn so much from books/web surfing.

The seven-second bursts are loudest near the new ‘opt-out’ gas meter/circuit breaker panel for the entire house. (They’re just a couple feet apart.) The new gas meter appears to be analog, but nothing has changed since its installation.

I found a note on the StopSmartMeters.org page that some analog ‘opt-out’ meters (‘Trojan horse’ https://stopsmartmeters.org/20…..estigated/) are still pulsing microwave radiation through a hidden transmitter. (?!) The model they list is an earlier model (Elster ABIR (‘StealthMeter’: http://www.eiwellspring.org/sm…..Meters.htm), ours is an ABIS). I can’t see a green circuit board or the Turtle transmitter on the S model. Is there any other likely explanation? Is the whole opt-out program a fraud?

How far from an appliance can a magnetic field be felt? Is there a better meter to measure the electric/magnetic fields? Between pulsing radio frequency and possible electric/magnetic fields, how would you know which is most problematic?

I have some wifi coming in from upstairs, but not much. My Graham-Stetzer filters probably help somewhat, but they’re not the entire solution. I initially bought the Cornet and found my computer was plugged into a 3-prong outlet that was not grounded. The electric fields on my mouse/keyboard and computer monitor were really high (and affected my sleep). I never realized that three-pronged outlets might not be grounded. (!)

January 29, 2018
2:16 pm
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peter williamson
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Hi Aline,
Regarding the gas meter – it is not unknown for utility companies to lie about transmissions from meters – see the documentary ‘Take Back Your Power’ (at 50’35” in the 2014 edition for an example). Presumably the gas meter has an electrical power supply – it might be possible to get the utility company or a qualified gas/electrical engineer (for safety reasons) to disconnect this temporarily to see if the emissions stop. An RF meter will not lie!
Magnetic field presence and strength is dependent on current flow, so it will vary. Typically fields from domestic appliances fall off within a few feet, but as always one has to measure. The Trifield is generally regarded as a good meter for magnetic fields.
Stetzer filters will not make any difference to the wifi from upstairs (you should be able to verify this with the Cornet meter), so you may have more than one problem here.
Many small electrical appliances (standard lamps, TV’s, power supplies etc) are not grounded. I find that grounding my laptop makes a big difference.
For electric (and magnetic) fields I use a Gigahertz ME3030B. Gigahertz meters generally have a very good reputation.
Since we are all bio-energetically individual the only ways I know of to determine which fields are most problematic are (1) eliminate them one at a time and see which makes the biggest difference or (2) find a doctor, naturopath or kinesiologist who can reliably test your body’s response to the different frequencies and modulations.
It still sounds as if your best option would be a professional survey.

April 10, 2018
5:45 pm
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Hi Peter,
Thanks for your response! I purchased a Gigahertz ME3830B. Now that I’m seeing much higher values (than with my Cornet ED88T), I’m wondering what’s considered reasonable for day time exposure?

The information card that came with the Gigahertz from Building Biology Evaluation Guidelines (for Sleeping Areas) lists V/m in excess of 10 as ‘Extreme’ and 1.5-10 as ‘Severe’. Granted those are for sleeping, but the Gigahertz will start clicking at about 60V/m in my living room by the piano near the door/dimmer switch/alarm system (both turned off). In the bedroom it starts clicking on the magnetic setting near the wall (with all the wiring) when the dishwasher is running upstairs. (This accounts for why I can’t be in the room when it’s running—thank you again!) I’m assuming prolonged exposure to these different fields could be less than conducive to a good night’s sleep? What are reasonable daytime levels?

April 11, 2018
3:12 pm
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peter williamson
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Hi Aline, I have been prowling round my house with a meter. I regard our house as reasonably good (this is a personal opinion, not any kind of ‘official’ recommendation I’m aware of) – not worth the cost and upheaval of rewiring – and field levels away from the immediate vicinity of appliances are mostly <30v/m.There is an area where no-one sits with fields around 50v/m – I would probably do something about that if it was a sitting area. Around some appliances I get over 60v/m. The worst is an ancient DVD player – much worse than the 32inch TV! Problem solved by unplugging.Things are not always as one would expect.
I don’t actually have a good answer for your question about reasonable daytime levels. The building biology level may be difficult to achieve without switching off circuits/appliances, but all situations are different. The meter will not lie.
A quick trawl round a few trusted sites suggests that 10v/m is a popular target, and 50 or greater may require attention. But if the high fields are in areas where no-one spends much time (eg an entrance hall) it is less important. Maybe I need to review my own exposure!
Regarding the door/dimmer switch/alarm systems. It may depend on where they are turned off. Any electrical wiring which is ‘live’ will produce an electric field, even if there is no current. So if the appliance is switched off at the wall or circuit breaker there should be no field. If the appliance is switched off by its own on/off switch but is still connected to the main electricity supply there will be a field from the electric supply/appliance cable, and maybe from the appliance itself depending on its internal wiring. Again if they are away from sitting/sleeping/working areas they may not be so important.

April 18, 2018
6:23 pm
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Hi Peter, Thank you for your response! I’m also finding about 10v/m or less in other buildings (‘Severe’). The problem is that it’s about 50v/m (‘Extreme’) at head-level sitting on the piano bench (It’s just a few feet from the dimmer switch/door) (and there’s nowhere else to move it). Where I (used to) sit on the sofa reading at night, it’s about 30v/m. 20v/m at the computer (crossing the room) and it’s only <10v/m at the kitchen table (at the extreme opposite side of the room). I’m not sure why this particular dimmer switch is sending so much electricity into the room, but it’s as much as 295v/m (touching). I have about nine Graham-Stetzer filters around, mostly in the bedroom. They seem to reduce the reading in the outlets (using the G-S meter) to as low as maybe 25 G-S units. There’s also a large field around a bathroom outlet measuring 50v/m a foot away that’s right by the entrance/towel rack/sink. It does not seem to change with the addition of a G-S filter, even though the G-S meter reading is reduced. (!) Is there anything that can be done short of disabling the dimmer switch? Should I ever play my piano again? Cry

April 20, 2018
2:31 pm
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peter williamson
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Hi Aline, I think the only resolution to your dimmer switch problem would be to call in an electrician who understands this stuff (may not be easy to find, but they do exist), or a building biologist who can check everything and advise on how to deal with the issues in priority order. Replacing the dimmer with a conventional switch may be a solution but there could be other wiring issues contributing to the problem which a qualified professional should be able to identify.
Congratulations on getting the DE readings down so low – the best I can usually manage is about 35-60. But adding DE filters will not affect the 50/60Hz field readings as DE is a much higher frequency electrical noise.

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