In this article I demonstrate four ways to measure dirty electricity or EMI (electromagnetic interference) on your home electrical system:
Four Methods To Measure Dirty Electricity
1.) AM Radio: My favorite simple EMI detector is a basic AM radio. You turn the AM dial all the way to the left (500 KHz) and right (2 MHz) and the radio will show you a difference in static based on changes in the electromagnetic environment. This is especially good for detecting dirty electricity in a home. I do this at the circuit panel to find sources. You can always contact me to learn how to do this.
I partly demonstrate this in this video. The process can also be used in a car to detect EMI that is being generated when the car is running/in motion. I recommend the older Radio Shack AM/FM Model 12-467. You can usually find one on eBay for about $20. Most of the newer models, like the 12-586, have noise suppression technology when you are not on a station. This completely makes the AM radio useless for purposes of detecting EMI.
2.) Graham-Stetzer Meter: This meter measures the harmonics or dirty electricity on your home’s electrical wiring. It measures this in its own Graham-Stetzer (GS) units. It states that the readings are ideally below 50 GS units. However, this is quite rare and I find that homes with readings below 200 GS are usually safe for most people. If the home has readings above this or that max out the meter at 2,000 GS units, then some sort of power line filtering is definitely needed. This meter picks up frequencies in the range from 10 KHz to 100 KHz.
3.) Line Noise EMI Meter: The Line Noise EMI Meter measures the harmonics or dirty electricity on the electrical lines of your home. However, this meter measures a much wider range of frequencies and translates these frequencies into milliVolts (mV) or Volts. It measures line frequencies from 10 KHz to 10 MHz, which is multiple orders of magnitude wider than the Stetzer meter. I like this meter better because it uses a measurement unit (milliVolts) that is accepted by engineers everywhere. Acceptable readings are generally between 200 and 400 mV (some EHS people need readings below 100 mV).
High readings are over 800 mV and can reach 1,500 to 2,000 mV when solar technology is used on your home or a nearby home. It also has a sound function. Greenwave sells their own dirty electricity filters that will lower the line harmonics in the electric field within this range (the filters may increase the harmonics on the magnetic field component though). As I mention in this article, there are many other things that I recommend you do within a home to lower the dirty electricity levels before using the filters. I discuss how you can purchase the Line EMI Meter for $130 on this page.
4.) Use an Oscilloscope or Spectrum Analyzer: The following video shows how this can be accomplished by an EMF professional. It also shows the use of the Graham-Stetzer meter. The PicoScope 2200 Series Oscilloscope is a great option for the price. Contact me if you would like to learn how to use this device.
Videos to Help You Measure EMI
The following video is an excellent demonstration on why the Stetzer and Greenwave powerline filters are not always a good idea to implement.
Hopefully this article helps you understand more about EMI. If you would like specific help in measuring dirty electricity and wish to learn more about my AM radio protocol, please contact me for an EMF consulting session.
This article was updated March 2023.
Disclosure: EMF Analysis is partly supported by a small commission for purchases made through some product links on this page. This income enables me to continue to research and write about this important topic.