Why Do I Keep Getting Static Electricity At Home? This is a Shocker!
During the cold season, the air becomes dry and cold, and this makes it hard for electrons to move around freely. The electrons build up in large numbers on the skin, causing the mild, but annoying, shock that you experience when you wear clothes or when you touch other surfaces in the house.
Having come from a family with a heritage of allergies and air-quality related illnesses, I developed an interest in comfort in my living spaces.
That is why in this blog, I have consistently written about sensitive topics such as humidifier sickness symptoms explaining why a humidifier could be giving you an illness called humidifier lung.
Today, I want to talk to you about something that is hardly talked about – the causes of static electricity in the house.
Why is my house full of static electricity?
Fore beginners, and perhaps for people who live in high humidity Florida, I shall start with the elephant in the room.
What is static shock?
Static shock or electricity is the quick and mild zap that you feel when you touch a doorknob, or a surface in the house. You will realize that you experience this kind of shock only during the cold season.
When there is an imbalance of electric charges between two materials that are in contact with each other, or on the surface of a standalone material, the charge stays there, until there is an opportunity to discharge the electrons.
If you slide two surfaces against each other and then keep them apart, they will create static electricity. When another body with an opposite charge is brought close, the electrons are discharged causing static shock, sometimes with sparks flying. This happens as the charge is neutralized.
Why do I get static electricity in my house?
All matter is made of atoms. The atoms are then made up of neutrons, protons, and electrons. Protons are positively charged particles, while electrons are negatively charged.
The electrons need to be on the move always. When they accumulate on a surface too long, they need to be discharged. If the static has accumulated on your skin, the electron transfer from your body to the surface that it comes into contact with. This is what gives you mild, and sometimes, painful shock.
The reason why your house is full of static electricity is mainly because of low humidity. However, there are other reasons too, such as some synthetic items rubbing across surfaces in the house. For instance, walking in rubber shoes on laminate floors causes transfer of electrons from one to the other. It can cause static electricity.
In the winter, the indoor temperature drops, so you have to heat the air. The heat dries out the air moisture in your house, and it allows static electricity to accumulate. If you are in the house, static electricity builds up on your skin and when you touch something, the electrons are discharged, giving you a mild zap.
If you have carpets in the house, you are more likely to experience static shock than when you have wooden floors.
How to stop static electricity: 5 Ways
Once you know what causes a problem, you are halfway to solving it. In this case, we already know what causes static shock in the house. Now, we will find out how to stop it.
Use a hygrometer and run a humidifier
You need to stay on top of the humidity level in your house, all the time of the year. To help you, you should run a humidifier in winter.
But at times, it is hard to see the symptoms of dry air in the house. To remove all guesswork from the picture, just use a hygrometer.
A hygrometer helps you to see the level of indoor humidity. If it is below 50 percent, you need to switch on the humidifier.
If the humidity is above 50 percent, you need to use a dehumidifier to lower it. Because of the heat, toxic black mold can grow fast in your house when the humidity stays above 50 percent.
When you maintain the recommended humidity level, there will be no more static electricity in the house.
Spray the carpets and rugs with anti-static treatment
You can buy anti-static spray on Amazon.com, or you can make your own at home using fabric softener.
Once you spray it on the carpets, you will kill the static shock, or prevent the accumulation of the same. The good thing is that you can only spray the high traffic sections of the carpet and leave the rest.
Increase indoor air moisture using indoor plants
There are plants that can lower humidity naturally. Likewise, there are some indoor plant that release moisture to the surrounding and such raise the humidity level.
The good thing is by buying indoor plants that raise humidity is that it is like hitting two birds with one stone.
Indoor plants are such a big home improvement trend today, so they will improve your interior decor a great deal. They will also raise the humidity level and prevent the build-up of static electricity.
Some indoor plants to use include:
- Jade plant
- Spider plant
- Corn plant
- Areca palm
- Dumb cane
- Dwarf umbrella tree
- Parlor palm
Walk barefoot on carpets and rugs
Static electricity builds up easily when two synthetic materials are in contract against each other and there is friction. Thus, wearing synthetic socks and walking on carpets creates static shock. Thus, it is best to stay barefoot in your house.
Even some natural materials such as wool can cause static electricity build-up. So can silk, and rubber. Therefore, if you must wear shoes, make sure they have leather soles. If you must wear socks, make sure they are made of cotton.
The same applies to the clothes that you wear. Silk, wool, rayon, and polyester clothing items can hit you with static shock.
Cook a lot, take hot showers to raise humidity
Cooking generates a lot of steam. This helps to raise the humidity in the kitchen and eventually, it spreads to the rest of the house.
Taking hot showers and baths with the window closed will raise the humidity. When the air moisture level increases, there is no static shock build up.
Use a small humidifier in the closet
The small spaces in the house get neglected a lot. Therefore, if you have silk pajamas in the closet, consider running a small humidifier for the closet. It is going to prevent the build up of static electricity in the house.
Wrapping it up
The main cause of static shock in the house is low humidity. Therefore, you can easily fix this by using indoor plants, running a humidifier and generally keeping an eye on the humidity levels.
Normally, all materials have the same number of protons and electrons, so they are neutral. However, rubbing two materials together causes the flow of electrons from one to the other, and this might cause a charge imbalance. If it comes into contact with another item that has the opposite charge, they create a spark.
Also check my other articles on: