Do you feel like everything you touch shocks you during the winter? An electric shock when turning on a light switch first thing in the morning can be quite a jolt to the system. Luckily, there are a few things you can to do minimize the amount of static electricity in your home. While static electricity may seem unavoidable and relentless, especially during the dry winter months, eliminating static electricity is a lot easier than you would think.
Once you understand how static electricity is created and transferred, there are steps you can take to reduce the initial static electricity, and control how it transfers to you, reducing the electric shocks every time you touch something. Below we have explained a little more about static electricity and compiled a list of the best ways to avoid shock in your home.
So What is Static Electricity?
Without diving too deeply into the complicated lesson of electrostatics, it’s important to know what is causing the static shocks so you can avoid them. Static electricity “refers to the build-up of electric charge on the surface of objects”, meaning when electrons are moved from one surface to another through contact. If both of the surface are insulators, they’ll build up an electrical charge. One object will have a positive charge after losing electrons and one will have a negative charge because it gained electrons. If one of the charged objects touches a conductor, like a piece of metal, the charge will neutralize itself resulting in the painful static shock. So how can you avoid it? Keep reading!
There are a lot of insulators in your home, like the wool carpet in the living room and the rubber soles of your shoes. When walking on wool carpet, your body builds up a charge that it can’t get rid of because of the insulating soles of your shoes. Then, you touch that metal doorknob or light switch to feel a jolt of electricity. One of the easiest ways to avoid static shock is to pay attention to what you’re wearing and what kind of fabrics make up the furniture in your house.
Factor: Rubber-Soled Shoes
Solution: Leather or Cotton
Instead of rubber, walk around in leather soled shoes or wear cotton socks instead of wool. Leather soled shoes are also better when grocery shopping because shopping carts often cause a lot of static electricity.
Factor: Wool Sweaters
Wool sweaters are usually worn during the dry, cold winter months making you a walking target for electric charge. If you sit in a chair made out of the right fabric in a wool sweater, you’ll build up quite a bit of static.
Solution: Cotton Sweaters
Try wearing cotton clothes if you want to avoid nasty shocks. Certain furniture covers or antistatic sprays can also help alleviate this problem. Want to take it a step further? Use fabric softener and dryer sheets while doing laundry to remove any static caused.
Factor: Dry Air
Solution: Use a Humidifier
A humidifier can make the air in your home less dry which will lower the possibility of you getting shocked at home. We recommend you keep your home above 30% relative humidity, though 40% or 50% would be even better.
Factor: Dry Skin
Dry skin contributes to static electricity and static shock, so lotions and moisturizers help to prevent static electricity from accumulating on your body. Utah has particularly hard water making your skin dry, especially during the winter months.
Rub lotion on yourself when you get out of the shower and before getting dressed, or rub it on your hands as needed throughout the day.
That may have been more information than you wanted on static shock, but when you’re dealing with the harsh Utah winter months, the shocks start getting irritating day in and day out. Use these simple tricks to help you eliminate the common household annoyance. For more help on alleviating static shock in your home or other nuisances, feel free to contact Fieldstone Homes!