STATIC ELECTRICITY FROM MY GARDEN FURNITURE, WHAT TO DO?
posted on 11 February 2021
UNDERSTANDING WHAT'S HAPPENING
To provide a solution, you first need to understand what happens when getting a shock from static electricity. Static electricity is generated by friction of materials with each other for example.
- Pieces of clothing between them
- clothing and body
- clothing and seat upholstery
- shoes and carpeting
One material charges faster than the other. However, these synthetic materials are necessary to make your garden furniture weather resistant, so using a different material also has many disadvantages in other areas.
Okay, so this friction between fabrics makes things electrically charged. Normally this electrical charge flows directly into the earth, but sometimes this is not possible due to certain (air) conditions. The colder it is, for example in winter, the more people suffer from static shocks. That's because cold air contains less moisture, creating more friction.
As soon as you touch a conductive object, such as the cat, the printer or indeed your garden furniture, a discharge occurs and you get a shock. Sometimes even with spark.
Known situations that affect the charging of static electricity include:
Dry air is one of the biggest causes of static electricity and in winter the humidity is lower than in the summer. Static electricity in indoor furniture is therefore also more common in winter. We all like to have a nice warm home, which means that the heating is usually running at full speed. This ensures that the air is drier and you are statically charged quicker.
- Resistance per person
Not everyone suffers equally. This is often because the resistance of the skin varies from person to person. For example, do you have dry skin, do you not use a fabric softener, do you wear a lot of synthetic clothing and do you always walk on rubber soles? Then you are more likely to charge faster than others and therefore experience more discomfort.
- Male, female, child & origin
Something all women have known for a long time: men are more insensitive than women. The detection limit for discharge for women and children is at about 3,000 volts and in men at 4,000 to 5,000 volts because they often naturally have a thicker epidermis (and some deeper-hidden nerve endings). There are also differences based on race, for example Asian people may be more sensitive to discharge than Westerners.
What can I do about it now? There are 2 ways to look at it. Namely, firstly: avoid charging static electricity as much as possible and secondly: if you are statically charged to discharge painlessly without shock.
To avoid charging as much as possible:
- preferably wear cotton or linen clothing
- wear walked-in shoes with a leather sole and preferably do not wear shoes with a new rubber sole
- the use of clothing fabric softeners with antistatic properties
- treat clothes, chairs, carpeting etc. with an antistatic spray or with a mix of water + fabric softener.
- keeping clothes and furniture and artificial grass moist
- the best tip for indoors, increase humidity by means of water bowls to the heating or a humidifier. Unfortunately, this is not an option for the outdoors...
- Use a metal key or other metal objects to hold a water tap, metal door handle or similar. That key doesn't suffer a shock. It may sound a bit strange, but hold that key firmly to the metal, so you can hardly feel any of that discharge! Discharging through your nail does much the same thing, although we prefer the key.
- You can purchase an antistatic key chain that you also hold against a grounded object to discharge. This does more or less the same as the key method.
- Tip from Grandma: put a safety pin in your pocket, this one largely takes over the load of your clothes.
- Before you get up from your garden furniture, grab a conductive object that allows the static electricity to drain slowly. Think, for example, of a parasol or coffee table made of metal that is in good contact with the ground.
These solutions regularly do not work well enough. If you are looking for other solutions, you will come across, for example, grounding a piece of garden furniture with a wire. Unfortunately, this does not drain the static electricity from your pillows. Also removing the rubber caps is also not the solution. As mentioned, spraying antistatic spray or fabric softener on your garden furniture often helps, but also not always good enough.
Unfortunately, altogether we can't avoid it for you because the problem with static electricity depends on many factors outside of the garden furniture. Unfortunately, there is no wonder solution that works 100%.
- The best tip we can give you: try to avoid statically loading yourself as much as possible and discharge yourself in a painless way with the tips we have given you above.
- The best short-term solution is to get your garden furniture a little moist with a plant spray. However, it only works for a short time.
- Another, less beautiful solution, is to pull a cotton or leather grand-foulard over your garden furniture. Cotton & leather charges a lot less quickly.
- If you want to completely exclude static shocks, then choosing (teak) wooden garden furniture is the best option.
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