Picture of Smart-Meter radiation shield
The new smart meters that our electrical utility company installed on my house sends out powerful "WiFi" signals in bursts.  I am concerned about the long-term health effects of these microwaves and so I decided to make a shield to stop them.  Now, as you may know, the whole reason they installed it (in the short -term, anyway) is to be able to read my monthly use remotely so they could lay off an army of meter-readers.  I have an issue with that too, but I have no shield for their jobs.  Blocking the transmissions of data will force them to come out to read it manually anyway.  Too bad:  Nobody asked ME if they could put a powerful transmitter on my house, so they will have to deal.  
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Step 1:

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Here's how:  Aluminum window screen, available at most hardware stores, TOTALY blocks this type of microwave radiation.  A single layer is enough.  One could simply tape a big piece over the whole thing, but I wanted something more user-friendly and more long-lived.  First, wear some leather gloves.  This material is hazardous and WILL poke your hands but GOOD countless times if you don't ! I used sheet metal shears to cut it, but some good heavy kitchen shears will work.  You may find them more dull afterward though.  It's pretty easy to cut.  I used a hot glue gun with clear sticks to bond the base to the cylinder, and shown in the photos.  I used some small aluminum pop-rivets to attach the sign, and nylon thread (waxed) to attach the "lid".

Step 2:

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 I bought about 4' x 3' off of a roll, and cut the piece that the base would be made from.  I designed it to be double-thickness for stability and durability.  Just cut about 14" x 28", fold it in half and then fold about 1" over itself on the edges to thicken it.

Step 3:

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Then mark and cut a round hole in the center of that square that is  1" SMALLER than the cylinder you need to enclose the meter.
ironsmiter4 months ago

I am only mildly paranoid about the radiation. What is currently cheesing me off is... every 15 min or so, most of my wifi devices get disconnected from the router(2.4Ghz cable modem/wifi router). The other side effect is, cell phones and tablets are burning through their batteries about 50% faster. This started happening 15 min after they switched the meter on(about 2 weeks ago).

Forget the health risks, this is killing Netflix and online gaming! Not COOL!

As a side effect, smart meters are suppose to save power, you know, by requiring more frequent charging of laptops, phones and tablets as all wifi devices(including the router) go into max-power radio broadcast mode to try and compensate for the interference.

After reading this, I have to look at the meter install, and see if I can get the shielding BETWEEN the house and meter.

LinaBB6 months ago

but how about inside of your house? because the meter transmits inside too..?

dalmond12 years ago
The problem I see with this faraday Cage is that it is only making it safer for your neighbours, being that the back of your smart meter, the part facing into your house is still unshielded... a faraday cage to be effective needs to Fully surround the entire device, or at least in the sense of a dome type have coverage of the gound and the deivce, with no gaps this may well be "grounded" but the direction left uncovered is still exposing the inside of your home to radiation (levels of which I make no claim to be or not dangeous)

to complete the project you have started you will need to employ a electricain to come and add another section of your screen contiuning from what you have already done and to cover the back of the meter... otherwise there is no protection into your home .. you have only made it safer for people standing around the outside of your home.

The metal box the smart meter is mounted on does in-fact protect from RF radiation from the back. The only part of the meter that emits RF radiation is the front plastic\glass enclosure. So, in theory, this instructable should work even if it's not properly grounded. Although, for best reslults, it's easy enough to make sure the screen makes contact with the metal box.

sun1one10 months ago

Nobody can say for sure that this type of radiation is safe. As for how long it pulses: It depends on the type of smart meter your town has set up. Some pulse once per day, others pulse every few seconds. I believe that the ones that pulse once per day would be the ones that are in towns that have installed/built a special tower for this. We've all tried to avoid radiation..powerlines, etc. But for some reason we're embracing all the RF/EMF that comes along with cell phones, and smart meters. There's too much of it. The World Health Organization has now said that EMF and RF may cause cancer. They have put it in the same class as radon, asbestos, and deetz. Yet very few people will pay attention because it may mean an inconvenience for them. Remember when people thought that soda was good for babies and that smoking was good because it made you look and feel better??? All those ads made people believe that these things were fine.. when in fact they were not. It is a fact that children's young cells are more affected by this. Why would anyone gamble with their child's health?

ryazwinski11 months ago FWIW

jdavenport911 months ago
Realistically there is such a small amonnt of data to transmit each day because the meter reading is only a few digits long. because of this the meters transmit for only a few seconds each day.
Baughb11 months ago

This is a poor instructable, in my opinion. The premise that users need to be protected from these transmitters is faulty, the design of the device supposedly providing the protection is faulty, and there's no suggestion by the author that any testing was performed to determine if it actually has an effect. I really don't think this clears the bar that should be set for this site.

Thats tremendous
interesting one
Do you have any testing proof?? And what about the back side of the device?
lisalike1 year ago
Thank for useful article, I needed just exterior protection, interior I order already for all my relatives, smart meter shielding solution from this guys - http// , and it's works great! Now I don't worry about health effects, my house is protected! Smartmeterprotection company is the best, they are very helpful!
thejet951 year ago
I have been a cynical towards people who worry about smart meters for a couple years, even was an early adopter nearly 5 years ago. The last year I have been experiencing a chronic soar throat that my doctors can't explain, my kids are developing learning disabilities, among other strange health issues. The more I read, the more I'm concerned about the microwave radiation the give off. Look at this article that cites studies on them from around the globe. It's not looking too good. I'm planning to get mine removed, and until then, a faraday shield isn't the worst idea of heard of.
sir_puppy2 years ago
For anyone curious: There are Access Points that are mounted on every few power poles along your street/block, usually 1 per block, 2 if it's densely populated, which use a high frequency bandwidth. Most iCredit-500 meters (for single phase wiring) don't generate any interference of any kind from my experience with any devices. I am not sure about the SPRINT 3 phase ones, but that shouldn't be needed for a lot of homes I assume. All smart meters can ALSO communicate using the ZigBee frequency for In Home Displays, and other personal devices (same as your WiFi/wireless phone, but proprietary and lower frequency spectrum I believe), but some meters have this disabled. Contact your distributor or power company for more info on that.
ericheredia2 years ago
I am one of the people that lost their jobs because of these stupid things.
Now I'm unemployed with a family to take care of.
So start a business making and selling smart meter shields.
I'm glad that I don't have this type of meter. Do they create radio interference with other devices in the house?
I would be more worried about interference than it actually causing harm to anybody near it.
A typical home has dozens of radio emitters, operating anywhere between a few MHz to ~5GHz. They very rarely interfere with each other. This is by design. This is why you can have a WiFi router, a Nitendo Wii, a notebook, an iPhone, an iPad, and a wireless keyboard all in the same room, all working just fine.
Those are all digital devices that can correct their errors or resend the corrupted data. Analog devices will get noise and interference that it very noticeable.
When I make or receive a cellphone call it emits a powerful burst of rf that causes static on a lot of different things around my house and makes be want to throw the phone out the window.
Analog devices - are you suggesting these meters are analog? They are not.

The reason your cell phone results in noise from your speaker or headphone is because it is transmitting at an output of 1-3W. That's quite a lot of power, some of which is picked up by analog audio circuits and amplified, resulting in noise.

However, note that it never interferes with your local wifi, or with the operation of your PC, or any other device. That's because those devices are very good at rejecting signals not intended for them.

Smart meters come in a number of different types. The most common use wifi. Wifi power output is limited to 100mW.
I'm not suggesting they are analog. I am worried that they will interfere with analog devices.
Are you equally concerned that wifi routers, cell phones, tablets, notebooks, wireless peripherals, game consoles etc will also interfere with these analog devices?
I didn't realize they were just using wifi. I thought it was some sort of long range high powered connection or something because the author was worried about shielding himself from it..
I don't have one of these on my bench to rip apart and poke around inside. Where I live everyone has the standard mechanical meters.
I don't have any problems with wifi interfering with things, just cellphones.
You can limit the audio noise from a cellphone by placing a piece of anti-static bag (the ones used for packaging electronics and computer cards) inside the battery cover of your cell phone. Just cut it as large as you can fit in the area, place, and put the cover back on.

Saw it on Lifehacker, I believe. Works great. Used a setup like this when I had computer speakers on my work computer.

Partially damper your cell signal as well, but I live in town and have no issues with the lower signal strength.
dduley zabolyx2 years ago
Nope pure rubbish. Again without a solid connection to ground it won't attenuate anything. Your hand holding the phone will attenuate the signal more than any bit of antistatic bag. You are, after all, a big grounded bag of conductive salt water (I mean that in the nicest possible way). If in this millennium of technological enlightenment we still fall for this stuff then there is little hope.
There are smart meters that use the cell network, sending the data over the network off-peak. They are less common than wifi ones, but they exist.

Even if this is such a meter, the emission will be very short, much shorter than a cell phone call.
nthom62 years ago
Here's my experience for what it's worth.

My utility installed one of these (without asking) about 2 weeks ago. My camper (where I sleep at night) is parked about 10 feet from the meter.

Immediately after installation I noticed static interference in my radio inside the camper, especially in the early hours of the morning. Plus I experienced a much more restless sleep. About a week later it dawned on me that the new meter might be the source of these problems.

So I looked up how the meter is constructed and how it works. The small (3/4" or so) window within the meter is the source of the signals that it puts out. So I found a small piece of lead flashing (about 3" x 3") that mason's use around chimneys and taped it so as to cover the window. (I wasn't aware of grounding or cages, etc.).

Since doing this there has been no radio interference and I have been sleeping like a baby.

All I can claim for this is empirical evidence of a change. I know nothing of the physics of it all.

I should add, my old meter could be read remotely (so the meter readers were sent to pasture quite a while ago). These smart meters are sending out additional information, presumably about usage and presumably to enable the utility to operate more efficiently in regard to peak and non peak loads.
EcoMotive2 years ago
I think this is still a great instructable whether or not these meters actually do or don't give off harmful amounts of radiation. It addresses a problem and offers a clever and effective do-it-yourself solution. Truly, this is what Instructables is all about.
A couple people mentioned that the cage should go all the way around the meter, covering the back and all sides. However, I think that the metal enclosure itself is at least partly effective at blocking RF. Many instruction manuals I've read for radio and WiFi equipment mention that metal structures block signals and hinder the performance of the device.
What we need is an independent third party study done on these meters, by a reputable scientific community with the results published and made for all to see. Only then can we close this debate.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks for sharing these links. It does appear that these Smart Meters do not emit a harmful level of RF, even from a bank of ten meters at one foot away. It appears that a cell phone call can emit as much as ten times the radiation. I should mention however, that it says a typical transmission duty cycle is 72 minutes per day, instead of fractions of a second, like some people here pointed out.
As for the ground, perhaps the author intended for the cage to be grounded through the metal enclosure? I'm not sure as I am not an expert on Faraday cages. Thanks for your input.
mri19722 years ago
Great Project, if they ever implement these around me I will be sure to do this. Not for fear of radiation but to stop interference.

And all these people saying it is only on a second a day I have a few questions. If its only transmitting a second a day does that mean the meter reading vehicle has to be driving by at that exact time, if not what receives the signal? Wifi does not have the greatest distance through buildings and the number of access points needed to cover a town would be cost prohibitive I would think.

In my own opinion not enough data data has been released to the public on these things.
TheShabz2 years ago
I love this. I sent it to all my coworkers at the utility i work at that has implemented the smart meter. These things turn on for a fraction of a second a day and send out radio waves. We get calls from customers complaining about the health risks. Our favorite part is when the calls are being made from their cellphones, which, during that call to complain alone, will put out more RF than the smart meter will in its lifespan.

If it looks like I'm trying to make the author look bad here, I apologize. That's not the intent. I merely want to bring some logic into this issue, as it is near and dear to my heart. Before one concerns him/herself about the health issues of the fraction of a second a day (you probably wont be home anyway) that the meter is transmitting, one must have already removed all microwaves, cell phones, and computers from the household, as having those and protecting the meter is like fixing the leaky pipe while the dam is bursting. Further, one would have to avoid all shops that offer free wifi and avoid all humans who carry a cell phone.

Also, as far as the meter readers are concerned, at least at my company, a vast majority of them are being crosstrained as call center and program outreach employees, jobs that both pay more and offer less stress on the body.

In the time it took you to read this comment, you exposed yourself to more "harmful" rays than your home's smart meter will likely ever put out in it's lifespan.
Cool idea but if your that concerned about it you better keep plenty of the materials on hand. Every time they come out to read the meter they will probably tear the cage off the meter. If they don't talk to you about putting things on the meter after the first incident you can bet you'll hear about it if they have to remove it again.
jwright322 years ago
May want to look in tot he legal issues are as well. Tampering with the meter and interfering with the hydro companies "access" to the meter will result in additional charges on your bill. Similar attempts with the "I do not give you permission to change my meter" campaigns resulted in customers being billed for return trips to do the actual meter change at a later date.

Protecting your home by directing the signal away from the living area would be safe but attempting to block it complete could end up costing you more.
zomfibame2 years ago
ehh, I'll start by admitting I am NOT a physicist, but I think it might depend on where the author of this ible's electric meter is located on there home. ... I'm not as worried about these Wifi signals as some people, but I'll be the first to admit that when they switched ours over to one of these things I did wonder about the long term affects... mainly because in my house the meter is just to the side of my bed and I do indeed wonder what eight hours a day for years at a time with my brain four feet from the thing might be doing....... I do think about it, but not enough to rearrange the furniture or sleep in the spare bedroom ;-) ....... also, I don't know if I'm crazy, but I'd be more prone to put some sort of shielding on the back-side of the box (or even on the sheet-rock inside the home) if I was going to do anything since I'd be most concerned about the portion of the signal that zaps through my home more than I would worry about the signals that ping across my yard. ... but like Kelseymh said, the electric meter is just another small drop in the bucket of radiation, so who knows if the meter even makes a noticeable difference. ....... the angry punk-rocker who still lives inside my 43 year old body however loves the slight "stick it to the man" aspect of putting a small wrench in the system when you do this. :-)