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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Dealing with static electricity

    Hey guys I have a problem.

    I'm currently helping my dad out in his shop, and will be doing so for the next six months. When I'm here I experience something that I don't get anywhere else.

    When I touch the metal doorknobs I get a shock. This happens usually in the evening as we're ready to go home and we close up, checking the rooms and everything. It may sound amusing, and I thought it was at first, but after a few shocks I've developed a responsive fear of metal doorknobs. Have you tried opening a door without touching the doorknob? Hint: You can't.

    Does anyone in the playground know how to handle this? I assume it's static electricity but if it doesn't fit the description let me know too.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by Haruspex_Pariah View Post
    Have you tried opening a door without touching the doorknob? Hint: You can't.
    Wrap fabric (or something else non-conductive) around the doorknobs?

    Other than that I don't know what you're doing to get the static electricity, and if it doesn't shock you on the doorknobs it'll just shock you next time you touch something metal.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    Make sure the humidity is higher. Lower humidity = more static electricity buildup.

    Also, you can touch something grounded (like that doorknob) with a metal implement you're touching (like a key) to more gently discharge the static.

    I'd suggest grounding yourself like that frequently (to keep the charge from building very much).
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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    what are you working with? if it's anything with electronics or fuel you should have a proper grounding mat anyway.

    you can roll your sleeve over your hand to open the door, or touch it with something metal first. (key, pocket change, etc)
    if the shop floor is concrete you can touch your hand to it. unless the door itself is picking up a significant charge that should dissipate yours enough to prevent static.

    is this just a problem for you, or does it happen to everyone? if it's everyone, you may need to adjust the humidity in the room or check nearby wiring.
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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    This is most likely caused by the interaction of the soles of your shoes and the carpet. Try wearing different shoes, i.e. ones with a different kind of sole.
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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    Stupid metal, always stealin' people's electrons...

    But yeah, this was a thing that happened to me all the time, but now I just ground myself by touching the wall before I open the door (or touch anything metal). I don't really understand how electricity works, or if that should theoretically do anything, but I haven't been shocked since I started doing it. Hope that helps!
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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    Happens to me all the time when I press the call button for the elevator. It sucks, but I don't have any electronics in my body, so I am not really worried about it.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    I mostly do paperwork, none of the other staff or my dad seem affected. The floor is tiled, no carpets, I use a plastic chair.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    It could be fabric choice. Local markets will dictate what sells in an area. But if it is a plastic chair then the cloths you are wearing may very well be the cause.


    But if you are in a pinch to deal with this. Soak your shoes in water for a while. Many soles of shoes will absorb some water and have some conductivity then

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    If the worst comes to the worst and you can't fix the issue, make sure to tap the door handle with the back of your hand before trying to use it--even if you get a static shock the back of your hand is considerably less sensitive than your fingertips, so it won't be as painful!

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by Haruspex_Pariah View Post
    It may sound amusing, and I thought it was at first, but after a few shocks I've developed a responsive fear of metal doorknobs. Have you tried opening a door without touching the doorknob? Hint: You can't.
    This is amusing, because the exact same thing happens to me all the time. For some reason, when I drive my car, I get a build up of static. I've developed the same sort of Pavlovian fear response in touching the metal parts of my car. I just deal with it by, as factotum said, quickly tapping the frame with my knuckles. You get used to it.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    I have this happen to me all the time at work, though it happens a lot more during the winter. (Less humidity) My personal recommendation, is to find someone and give them a playful poke before you touch something metal. It's always far more fun if someone else gets to share your pain!

    If this isn't an option, I tend to use my knuckle and tap something with that as it doesn't hurt as bad.

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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    I get that at work all the time because we have to keep the air so dry. I've taken to carrying a short aluminum rod around (we had a few at work when I started there, nobody seemed to know what they were for so I took one) and using it to discharge static. Because the discharge arcs between the rod and the doorknob instead of between your body and the doorknob, using a metal rod doesn't hurt as much. As a bonus it's more fun to walk up behind somebody and give them a jolt poking them with a metal rod than to just touch them.

    An iron or steel object like a wrench would work find too (as long as it doesn't have a rubberized or plastic handle), and if the door or door frame are made of wood you can touch that and it will take a bit of the edge off of the shock too. Because water is a fantastic static buffer it can also do wonders if you use moisturizing lotion, particularly in winter when the air (and your skin) is drier than normal.
    Last edited by Saskia; 2012-11-13 at 03:53 AM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    Thanks guys. I used the grounding technique (does it count as a technique?) and it seems to work. No shocks at all yesterday. But there's still an instinctive cringe and pause before grasping a doorknob... Oh well, hopefully I can retrain myself.
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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    You could turn this 'curse' into awesomeness and 'ground' yourself to a person before leaving the room.

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    Default Re: Dealing with static electricity

    It's that plastic chair. I always get a shock after sitting in one for more than about 10 seconds. Get yourself a seat cover or a better chair and you should be good.
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