This time of year, static electricity in your home can cause painful shocks when you touch a light switch, a metal doorknob or another person, and make it difficult to separate laundry that’s fresh from the dryer or even comb your hair. Even worse, these random electrical discharges can also permanently damage electronics and appliances, like your computer, TV, cell phone or microwave.
Why Static Electricity Occurs
Static electrical charges are created by the transfer of electrons when two materials come in contact. One ends up with a positive charge, and the other with a negative charge. Opposite charges attract, and when materials or objects with excess charges come close together, the extra electrons leap across the gap, and the charge is released with a jolt or shock.
Dry Vs. Humid Air and Its Effect on Static Electricity
Static electrical shocks tend to occur in the winter because the air is dry. Cold air doesn’t retain moisture very well, and your heating system dries out your indoor air even more. When the air in your home is moist or humid enough though, water molecules collect on the surface of everything. Since water is a superb conductor, excess electrical charges can easily move between different materials without a jolt or shock.
Tips for Controlling Static Electricity
There are various ways to control static discharges to prevent discomfort and damage in your home:
- Wear clothing and socks made of natural fibers like cotton, and leather-soled shoes, because they pick up less static charge than synthetic materials.
- Spray diluted fabric softener or an anti-static product on your clothing, furniture and carpets to make the materials less conductive.
- Add some potted plants, and/or place containers of water in various spots around your home so water can evaporate into the air.
- Talk to your HVAC pro about installing a whole-house humidifier on your HVAC system so you can add a precise amount of humidity to the air circulating through your home in the wintertime.
To learn more about controlling static electricity in your Broken Arrow home with a whole-house humidifier, contact us at Air Assurance.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about home comfort and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 918-217-8273.
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