Especially in places such as Grand Traverse County where winters often reach subfreezing temperatures, static electricity can pose a major problem. Many factors contribute to static buildup, and that static can pose legitimate issues, from simple annoyance to hazards to your electronics.
Causes of static electricity
Static is created when two objects touch or rub together. This causes an exchange of electrons and results in one positively charged item and one that’s negatively charged. When another item with an opposite (or neutral) charge is touched, those electrons flow in the form of static charge.
Contributing factors to static
One major factor is the materials involved in the static exchange. If the materials readily conduct electricity, the static will be more pronounced. The most controllable factor, however, is humidity. When humidity is low, static becomes worse. Winter months, therefore, when the air is typically drier, tend to produce more static.
A little static shock isn’t going to physically harm you, outside of a minor zap when you touch a particular doorknob, but static can actually be dangerous to some appliances and accessories.
Computers, in particular, are sensitive to voltage. If you open your laptop to add additional RAM or an add-in card, the static transferred from you to the computer might be small enough to be undetected but large enough to fry those inner workings. Particularly frustrating is that the damage can be latent, so the electronics can seem to function well only to pose problems later.
How to limit static
One simple way to cut back on static electricity is by increasing the humidity in your home. This can be accomplished through basic humidifier installation. To boost humidity temporarily, boil water on the stove or add a few houseplants to your décor.
There are also numerous anti-static chemicals which can be applied to rugs and carpets to diminish static buildup in the first place.
For more information about static electricity or any other issue related to home comfort, contact the experts at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We’ve been diligently serving Grand Traverse County for over 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about static electricity and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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