Winter weather brings along many small annoyances: getting all bundled up before a quick run to the grocery store, freezing fingertips while driving, cold and flu season, and the occasional static electricity. Each time you reach for the door handle or your pet, there’s a moment of hesitation, wondering if this will be the moment of shock. A static electricity shock is not painful, but it can be surprising and unpleasant. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you reduce the prevalence of static electricity in your Petersburg, Texas, home this winter.
Cause of Static Electricity
Where does static electricity come from? Why is it only common in the winter? And why do I get shocked every time I pet my dog or cat? There are many questions surrounding static electricity, and we’re here to provide the answers. One of the biggest factors in static electricity is humidity. That pesky weather factor that causes sweating in the summer? Yep! Its opposite, lack of humidity, causes static electricity in the winter.
When the air in your home gets dry, there are a number of symptoms that it can cause. Dry air can produce itchy skin as well as irritated sinuses, eyes, and noses, and you become more vulnerable to contracting a cold. Turning on the heat can further lower the humidity in your home. Essentially, it can feel like a losing battle.
More specifically, static electricity is caused by a buildup of energy on the surface of an object, which is released when touched. For example, when fabrics rub together, the energy builds up on your body, and then when you reach for the doorknob, a shock is released.
Let’s Fix It!
One of the simplest ways to fix low humidity in your home is to add a humidifier. You can purchase a basic humidifier at most stores or online or, if this is a big concern for your family, you can install one to your existing HVAC system. Maintaining your home’s humidity will help reduce static electricity, improve health and indoor air quality, and will make sure that your home’s structural health is good. So if you’re really tired of getting those static electricity shocks, the simplest solution is to purchase a humidifier and monitor the humidity, keeping it between 40 and 60 percent in your home.
If you’re not interested in purchasing a humidifier, there are some easy ways to increase your home’s humidity. When taking a shower or bath, the heat and steam from the water will increase the humidity. Don’t be afraid to leave off the fan and keep the windows closed. Boiling water on the stove and indoor plants can also be an easy way to increase humidity.
Choose Your Clothing Wisely
But, humidity is not the only factor in static electricity. What you wear and how you move around your home can increase or decrease the chances of getting shocked. Wearing natural fibers, such as cotton, reduce the likelihood of a static shock. To keep away static cling, consider using dryer sheets. They can be used in the dryer, on your hair, and even on your clothes once you’re already dressed.
As we’ve covered, static is attracted to dry air. Another simple way of getting rid of static and reducing your chance of shock is by putting on lotion. When you get out of the shower, or even throughout the day, put on some lotion to keep your skin moist. The more hydrated your skin is, the less likely you are to receive a shock and to have your clothes hugging your body from static cling. Adding conditioner to your showering routine can also help by keeping your hair from standing on end from static.
If your home seems to have a lot of static electricity buildup, you can also treat your carpets with an anti-static chemical. We hope these tips will come in handy this winter season and prevent you, your family, and your pets from receiving the nasty surprise of a static electricity shock. If you have any HVAC questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning a call at 806-589-1014.
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