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How to Avoid Static Electricity When Working on Laptops

Updated July 20, 2017

One of the quickest ways to destroy a computer is through static electricity. PC components are especially vulnerable to static build-up and one good shock could kill a laptop. The risk is amplified when the parts are exposed, such as during the completion of an upgrade. Any time you work on a laptop, precautions need to be taken before and during the procedure to protect it from damage.

Create a clutter-free work area on a hard surface like a table. Clean it and remove all accessories and other objects that may get in the way. Some things are more prone to static than others. Remove everything other than the laptop to reduce the risk.

Use a wrist strap. A wrist strap will keep you grounded, preventing you from shocking the already sensitive components. It is worn around the wrist, with a piece of metal that stays in direct contact with your skin. The other end must be attached to another metal object. They can be found in any electronics store that has PC parts and accessories.

Open a window. If there is very little moisture in the air, static can build at a faster rate. Opening a window will increase the humidity indoors if you're in a high humidity area. The easy way to increase humidity is to raise the humidity level from your ventilation system. If this isn't possible, turn off the air conditioning while you complete the repair/upgrade.

Avoid walking on carpet prior to opening the laptop. It is best to do the procedure in a room with hardwood floors or tile. If no other surfaces are available, take your socks and shoes off to reduce the amount of friction with the carpet.

Discharge static build-up by touching a metal surface. Any metal object will do, as long as you touch it right before you begin. If you must get up and return to the table, touch a metal object each time you return to the table.

Tip

Another way to discharge static is by turning off the laptop, disconnecting the power cord and pressing the power button. This dissipates static built up within the laptop, but you still need to eliminate it from other sources using the methods described.

Things You'll Need

  • Bare table
  • Wrist strap
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About the Author

Cee Jay began writing professionally in 2009 with work appearing on various websites. She has been repairing computers since 2000 and focuses on topics related to PC support/repair. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Franklin University and also studied advanced language arts at the Center for Arts and Sciences.