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Reduce Electric Shock on Floors

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Ron in Iowa has a question about wood flooring. What can we do for you?

    RON: OK. What I have is a wood laminate floor

    TOM: OK.

    RON: … in the … in my basement. And I walk across it with my boots on or my socks on and I go to turn a light switch on – I don’t touch any metal – I get a heck of a static charge from it.

    TOM: Wow, really?

    RON: A big zap.

    TOM: Huh.

    RON: And I’m an electrician, so I’m used to getting a big zap. (laughing)

    TOM: I thought that … well, I thought that static electricity built up more in carpet than it did in hard surfaces.

    RON: Yeah, this is worse on the wood floor than it is …

    TOM: Wow.

    RON: … on the carpet.

    TOM: Well, you need to ground yourself, man.

    RON: That’s what I’m doing when I hit the switch. (laughing)

    LESLIE: Well, and I would think when you have shoes on, this wouldn’t happen.

    TOM: Yeah, I would think that your rubber soles on your boots would stop that from happening.

    RON: I would think. And I mean it’s … the boots I have are kind of like a Redwing type of boot and …

    TOM: Yeah, that’s a good boot.

    RON: Yeah, good boot. And boy, oh boy.

    TOM: You sure it’s not just the electricity you’ve collected through the day (laughing) as you’ve worked as an electrician.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Looking for an outlet.

    RON: (overlapping voices) (INAUDIBLE) You know, it happens, weekly, that I get a … get a jolt. But wow, I mean this is … this is … I mean, it’s a good static charge and it’s …

    TOM: Now, is it only when you hit the light switch? Or can you hit anything metal?

    RON: No, you can hit anything metal – the sink, anything – and woo-hoo! A good jolt. And I’m not sure … you know, and I’m an electrician and I’m not sure how to stop the …

    TOM: You know what would be interesting? I wonder what would happen, Ron, if you ground your floor to your … to your ground rod where your panel is?

    RON: That’s what I was thinking too, I really was.

    TOM: You know, put a strap on it and see if that changes anything. I can’t imagine …

    LESLIE: And where is this room in your house?

    TOM: The basement.

    RON: (overlapping voices) It’s in the basement and …

    LESLIE: The basement. What …?

    RON: … it’s actually in the middle of the basement between two carpeted floors, so …

    LESLIE: Now, what is the moisture level in the basement?

    RON: I’m thinking it must be pretty low.

    LESLIE: Because I’ve learned through, you know, doing some search on static shocks because when I was a kid, I always tried to make getting shocks, you know, better, so I could get my brothers and sisters. So actually, if you have a drier space … if you find that it’s not as humid as you’d like it to be – which is, you know, around 40 percent humidity – it tends to cause a lot more shocking.

    TOM: You know, that’s a good point. You might want to try adding some humidification if you happen to be a particularly dry basement. But I mean, in Iowa, usually that’s not the problem. Normally you have dampness.

    RON: No, usually it’s the other way around.

    TOM: Yeah.

    RON: Evidently, it must be fairly dry. I haven’t really ever tested it, so …

    TOM: Hmm. Well, we gave you a couple of ideas. Grounding your floor or adding humidification.

    LESLIE: Adding humidity, put some moisturizer on your hands. Because dryness really does help to conduct the shocking. So use some hand lotion.

    RON: I’ll try it all.

    LESLIE: Good luck. And heck, you know, grab the kids and like shock each other.

    TOM: Figure out how to tap that electricity and save some money on your … on your bills.

    RON: If it was only that easy.

    TOM: Ron, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

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