Q:

How do I eliminate static electricity in my house?

A:

There are several methods that reduce the static electricity buildup in the home including adding moisture to the air through a home humidifier, adding moisture to the skin through lotions, and choosing less static-enhancing clothes. During the winter months, the drier air inside the house allows static electricity charges to build up.

Static electricity is the buildup of electric charge on the surface of objects, and the shock comes from the transfer of that buildup from a charged surface, such as a human hand, to a conductor, such as a metal doorknob. Whole-home humidifiers or room humidifiers add moisture to the air, reducing the amount of static buildup. They may be expensive, so a less-expensive option is to boil water on the stove or to add houseplants, both of which add moisture to the air.

A big contributor to static buildup is the friction between dry skin and clothing, so moisturizing skin may reduce the friction that generates static electricity. Attention to clothing choices also reduces shocks. For example, rubber-soled shoes are an insulator that allows a large amount of static charge to build up as one walks, so wearing leather-soled shoes or cotton socks helps reduce the charge.

Grounding oneself also reduces the power of a static shock. Discharge static buildup harmlessly by touching wood, or another nonconducting object, before touching metal or another electrical conductor.


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