RF Radiation From Power Transmitters In Smart Appliances

We recently bought a new American style refrigerator for our kitchen at home.

I make a point of testing with my RF (radio frequency) meter everything electrical I bring into my home. Here is the video of what I found:

You can see that RF (microwave) radiation is being emitted from the refrigerator because I only get a reading when the fridge is plugged in. My old fridge did not give off any such radiation, as you can also see in the video.

Why is that?

This is because this fridge is a smart appliance.

RF Power Transmitters On Electrical Appliances

Smart appliances are electrical appliances which have been fitted with a power transmitter. The power transmitter connects to the wireless smart meter installed in your home via a WiFi like network signal. This then connects to the ‘smart’ grid via the ‘home area network.’ (HAN).

How Does The Smart Meter Network Work?

Smart Meters networks can work in different ways. One way is as shown in this diagram. Inside the home there is a Home  Area  Network  (HAN)  and  then a  cell  phone signal type network, Wide  Area  Network  (WAN)  sends data  back  to  the  utility  company.

radiation from smart appliancesWhere it says “in-home conservation and demand management services” what this actually means is that we are being bathed in more electrosmog (electromagnetic fields) from all the electrical appliances in our homes which are fitted with these wireless power transmitters.

Is Smart Appliance Radiation Dangerous?

Richard Tell an electrical engineer formerly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a 2008 report on Smart Grids for Hydro One Networks, Inc./Toronto  established that antennas on smart appliances may transmit at a density of .18watts, each at about 4.5 seconds per hour.

Cumulative Effects Of RF Power Transmitters On Smart Appliances

This may sound low but it’s the cumulative effects of the EMFs from these RF power transmitters that are the problem. Imagine 3 or 4 or 5 smart appliances (or more possibly) giving out RF radiation in your home in addition to exposures from your neighbors’ smart appliances.

Cumulative Effects of Smart Meters and Smart Appliances

Smart appliances work independently of  smart meters. This means that you get zapped with the radiation from smart appliances whether you have a smart meter or not.

But if your home is fitted with a smart meter, your exposure is higher in 2 ways:

1. Smart meters are continuously sending HAN information both to the in-house display (if you have one) and to the smart appliances using WiFi, Z-Wave, Zigbee or other wireless communication protocols.

2. There is a separate, higher powered signal being sent to and from the utility company. This signal may be sent every few seconds or every few minutes depending on your provider.

Update June 2012: the Energy Star rating is currently under revision to include information about smart meter connectivity, see here.

How To Protect Yourself From RF Radiation From Smart Appliances

I found the solution to my problem by sending the fridge back. When I now buy any appliances, fridge, oven, washing machine, dishwasher etc. I make a point of going in the shop first and asking them if I can test with my RF meter before I buy. I've found a local electrical retailer sympathetic to my concerns. When I go to see him, he switches everything off in the shop, WiFi router, cordless phones etc. for a few moments so I can do my testing. This can raise a few eyebrows from passersby, but what the heck! RF radiation from smart appliances have no place in my home!

The RF meter I used in the video is the Acoustimeter AM-10.  The Acoustimeter is really an excellent RF meter and if you're experiencing symptoms around EMFs it's what I recommend. You can read my review here.

If you're not electrically hyper sensitive a cheaper alternative is the Cornet ED88T which offers multi-functionality, see here.

This post was last updated June 2016.

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  • Karla said,

    You’ve done it again Lloyd!! Shocking information but good to know. Thanks a million Karla

  • Bernd Walther said,

    I think Dr. Richard Duncan is right if he estimates in his Olduvai theory, that the industrial age will be only a short intermezzo in human history of under 100 years total lifetime (1930-2025), the electrical grid which supplies all our beloved appliances with fossil power will be gone by the year 2025. The age of over-consumption and convenient appliances will be over as soon as easy oil and cheap resources are depleted. That’s why I don’t think that Smart Meters and Appliances will have a great future. Within 10 years the great majority will live in scarcity and with much less or even no electric power consumption at all. The days of radiating consumer products are counted.

  • Kenny said,

    I didn’t know that home appliances are now emitting radiation too. Thanks for keeping me up to date on this development. This is very very valuable to me. You’re lucky to be able to test in the store. I’m in NYC and I don’t know anyone here who would shut anything off for anyone. More likely they’d take out their cellphone and start making calls and posts to tell their friends about a weird person in their store who is sensitive to radio fields. I hate the “wireless world” I feel like I’m a fugitive from the past running to keep from being caught by an evil leader. No one seem to understand, care or I’m resented for suffering or complaining about the toxic emissions from their “wireless” device. Am I trapped or is their some hope short of leaving my life in NYC for a less radioactive environment?

  • Renee said,

    EE GADS! I thought this was a future roll-out – did not know they were already fitting new appliances with RF transmitters.
    Article this week: ‘CIA director David Petraeus has said that the rise of new “smart” gadgets means that Americans are effectively bugging their own homes, saving US spy agencies a job when it identifies any “persons of interest”.’ from Wired.com
    Link – http://www.infowars.com/cia-head-we-will-spy-on-americans-through-electrical-appliances/

  • M Schultz said,

    Can these appliance transmitters be deactivated?

    How can we insulate our home from outside EMFs?

  • Lloyd said,

    In theory RF power transmitters on appliances can be deactivated…you would need to pinpoint where the transmitter was located in the body of the appliance (probably on the motherboard) and then remove it without affecting the operation of the appliance…tricky.
    For advice on shielding from external EMFs see https://electricsense.com/1299/cell-phone-tower-protection-tips-what-to-do-if-a-cell-phone-tower-is-erected-next-to-your-home/.

  • George said,

    Hi Lloyd,

    I am an ES sufferer and have been for the past four decades.

    When CFS and ME first came onto the medical scene back in the 1980s. I was diagnosed such in 1984, but I was suffering the same symptoms when I returned home to Australia from Vietnam in 1969. I served a long time in the Regular Army in the Corps of Signals and worked with some of the most dangerous transmitters known to man, and lived under a 1,000-watt transmitter. I know exactly what EMR and EMF can do. All my mates are dead.

    In this article you were speaking about your refrigerator being referred to as a SMART appliance, and this could explain why I am also suffering from radiation from our next-door neighbour’s refrigerator.

    I have a good understanding of EMR and EMF, and I own a Trifield and an ED65 Cornet metre, including a cheap RF detector.

    I have painted our room with Yshield, and the EMF from the refrigerator is 150 milligauss directly behind the refrigerator on our side of the firewall. I suffer from electronic hits when the refrigerator turns ON.

    I assumed that if there is any radiation from a fridge it must come from the motor and I’ve always believed that the motor is located at floor level. Well the radiation I am receiving is at head height, and as I record the readings from left to right, and up and down of the area I end up with a rectangle area of approximately 700 x 600mm.

    I get tingling and burning sensations all the time while the refrigerators is ON, and it feels like microwave, but the ED65 doesn’t indicate microwave, as the metre has a broad spectrum from 100mhz to 6ghz. Is there a possibility that the frequency emission is either side of the range?

    Your explanation on your refrigerator being a smart appliance does explain what is going on. The next-door neighbour’s refrigerator is a Simpson, and it could have been made in America. When I first experienced this extreme radiation in 2007 I spoke to my neighbour and to show her the radiation in her home, which was over 150 milligauss, but they didn’t want to know.

    But since then our power company has installed “electronic metres” in 2009, which I believe is a lie and are “smart metres”, and has further complicated my health, then there are the cheap cordless home communications equipment all around me.

    I live in a 120 unit retirement village.


  • Lloyd said,

    Hi George
    With regard to the neighbors fridge; it bothers you when it kicks in but you are unable to get an RF reading on your ED65. Can I ask, are you 100% sure it’s their fridge? Have you been next door and got a reading when the fridge has switched on? If you have effectively shielded then you should not been feeling any RF radiation at all in your room, effective shielding means testing before shielding, and after, AND earthing your shielding.
    Its possible that the radiation is below 100mhz or above 6ghz, but unlikely. Are you sure that your meter is reliable? They can need recalibrating from time to time. I don’t really understanding where the 150mG reading fits in, if you are being exposed to this level of magnetic radiation could this not be the cause of your hits…not the RF radiation.

  • George said,

    Yep Lloyd, I did say above that it was worse in the neighbour’s unit. Even the RF (bug) detector picked up a signal in their unit.

    The YShield is grounded, but the ELF still comes through this stuff.

    The ED65 is brand new, in fact I have two of them, to ensure their accuracy, and they both pick up all the Wi Fi rubbish, cordless and mobile phones, including smart metres. The metre reads:

    Sensitivity from -55dBm to 0
    Peak power measurement 0.0015 mw/m2 to 580
    Field Strength measurement 0.025 v/m to 14.8

    The internals consist of an electric field sensor with internal sensing antenna.

    Milli gauss is the ELF reading, or that is the magnetic field reading.

    The fridge is no doubt faulty, because it runs for 45 minutes, and turns OFF for ten minutes.

  • Lloyd said,

    From what you are telling the problem is the magnetic radiation. 150mG is a very high reading. The Yshield is only effective against RF radiation. Shielding from magnetic radiation is practically impossible (cost prohibitive). To be blunt I would not want to live in the vicinity of a 150mG field, if the neighbors are not willing to do anything with their fridge I would move house.

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