What we call static electricity is the phenomenon of electrical charges building up on the surfaces of objects. Static discharge is what happens when the charge neutralises, flowing between two surfaces until both surfaces have an equal and neutral charge. When static charge builds up in your body, it sometimes discharges painfully. It hurts, and it can cause damage to your electronics. It is not possible to completely prevent the build-up of static charge in your body or in electronics, but you can reduce it.
Increase the humidity. Use a humidifier where you want to prevent static discharge.
Wear leather soles. Wearing leather instead of rubber soles in your shoes can help to reduce static charge in your body.
Reduce static discharge in your car by rubbing car seats with fabric softener sheets.
Avoid wearing wool and synthetic materials. These materials cause static electricity to build up in your body.
Check the grounding of your electrical sockets. Wiring checkers are inexpensive, and they will tell you if you can rely on the electrical ground of your socket to reduce static discharge. Follow the instructions included in your wiring checker.
Avoid using a rolling desk chair. If you are concerned about causing a static discharge while working on your computer, avoid this kind of chair. These chairs can cause static charge to build up in your body, resulting in a discharge between you and your electronics. This can be painful to you and damaging to your electronics.
Wear a wrist strap if you are working on electronics, such as at your computer or while opening them to make adjustments. A wrist strap attaches to the electrical ground and keeps your body at a neutral charge relative to your electronics.
Use grounded pads beneath your electronics. These will help to keep your electronics at a neutral charge and prevent static discharge.
- Electrostatics.net; Static Shocks and How to Avoid Them; March 15, 2011
- ESD Journal; Is Your House a High Static Environment?; Steve Fowler; October 28, 2006
- BBC; Static Electric Discharges and How To Prevent Them Zapping You; December 29, 2005
- PC World; Avoid Static Damage to Your PC; Stan Miastkowski; Jan 31, 2002