Static electricity in your home may be the first indicator that your indoor air is too dry. That zap is not only irritating; it’s also a hazard for your electronics. When you discharge electricity on products that use low-voltage components, you can either damage them directly or shorten their functional lives. According to PC World magazine, touching computer components can transfer electricity from your hands to the components, without you even knowing it.
To assure that indoor air is humid enough to prevent static discharges, add humidity to the air. Not only will this prevent damage to computers or electronic devices; it also improves your health and that of your home. Air that has less than 30 percent relative humidity dries out the wood in your home, your skin, and actually promotes the spread of bacteria and viruses, which is why fall and winter are the primary cold and flu seasons. More humid air also feels warmer than dry air, allowing you to lower the thermostat and save on energy costs during the winter.
Options to help you increase the humidity in the winter include:
- Portable humidifiers. These create water vapor or steam for the areas where they’re placed. They require weekly cleaning to prevent bacterial or mold growth and have to be filled manually. They are not an adequate whole-house solution.
- Using kitchen and bathroom fans sparingly. Cooking and bathing create humidity, and when the air is dry in the winter, keeping that humidity indoors helps prevent static electricity.
- Whole-house humidifiers. These are the simplest and most convenient way to humidify your home. They attach to the air handler and use a pad or other medium soaked with water. When your air handler turns on, the air pulls the moisture through your home and increases the humidity. A humidistat, similar to a thermostat, tells the unit when to moisten the pad to increase the humidity. These systems require much less maintenance than portable humidifiers and use less electricity, take no floor and storage space, and work soundlessly.
If you’d like more information about controlling static electricity, contact Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal. We’ve provided superior HVAC services for northwest Arkansas for more than 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Northwest Arkansas 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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