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Do you "snap, crackle and pop" when you walk across your carpet? Do you feel a slight shock when you touch a metal object like a doorknob? This is static, generated by the friction from your shoe soles against the fibers in the carpet. In the spring or summer months there is usually enough humidity or moisture in the air to carry off the static charge as it forms. When the weather turns dry and the humidity is low, however, static electrification due to walking across carpet is much more likely to occur and to cause an annoying or unpleasant shock..

The tendency to generate an unpleasant static charge at lower humidity varies from fiber to fiber and carpet to carpet. It's possible to build up on your body surface an electrostatic potential of 2,000 to 5,000 or even 10,000 volts or more. By touching a metal object and conductor such as a doorknob, the static charge is transferred from you to it in the form of a noticeable or unpleasant shock, although at extremely low current so that no danger exists.

Individuals also vary in their response to this static discharge. Below about 2,500 volts of static charge, most people have no sensation or awareness of its presence. But between 2,500 to 4,000 volts, many individuals will notice or feel the static discharge when touching a conductor or metal object after walking across the carpet. Above 4,000 volts, there is an increasingly unpleasant shock and it's noticed by most persons.

Untreated nylon and wool carpets are more prone to noticeable static problems, but so, too, may be polyester and olefin carpeting. This is especially true in the drier winter months with their low humidity. To avoid this static problem, some carpets have conductive filaments or antistatic agents built into the carpet pile fibers. Other specialty carpets add antistatic backing fabrics and/or conductive latex adhesive to the carpet to further reduce or eliminate static buildup. But certain carpeting may not have these features and is thus prone to static buildup.

If your carpet "bites back" in dry weather, it may still be possible to obtain some relief by increasing the humidity in the affected room, office or your home. Adding a room humidifier or a central heating humidification system can accomplish these goals of raising the humidity to 30, 35 or even 40%. As the humidity goes up, this lessens both the static charge and resultant shocks.

Another procedure is the addition of an antistatic spray treatment onto the carpet and pile fibers. Home use products of this type are available, although slightly increased soiling may be a by-product of the static reduction treatment. If you select this route, follow the manufacturer’s directions exactly and do not over use or over apply the product. These topical anti-static spray treatments are not permanent and will become less effective after a period of time. You should expect to clean the carpet regularly or more frequently in order to maintain top appearance, reapplying an antistatic spray as directed or needed.

Even better is to rely on us to apply a topical antistatic agent to your carpet. Although this treatment is not guaranteed to be permanent, usually it is more effective and lasts longer because it is applied with professional skill, special equipment and techniques.

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