Reasons Your Patio Furniture is Shocking You
Sometimes there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting out on my patio furniture with my feet up, the breeze blowing, and a good book in hand. Lounging around on my patio is one of the reasons I bought the furniture for my patio! However, you wouldn’t think something as simple as standing up or sitting down could be uncomfortable – but, rather, it can be quite a shock! People from all different areas have experienced a common phenomenon: they’re being shocked by their patio furniture. But the big question is why? Is there a way to prevent unpleasant shocks? What causes it? I’m here to give you the answers you’re looking for.
So, why does your patio furniture shock you? It can depend on the patio furniture and its material. If you have plastic outdoor patio furniture, it’s more likely that your clothing and furniture have created static electricity. If you have rattan patio furniture, you may also experience an electrostatic shock. Additionally, if your deck is made up of plastic composite planks or other artificial material, especially if it’s not grounded, it can consistently give you electric shocks. Other factors include humidity, climate, clothing you wear, and grounding.
Everything is made up of atoms, which contain protons, electrons, and neutrons. These three components of an atom have charges. So all things are made up of charges. Most of the time, positive and negative charges are balanced within an object, making the object neutral. Static electricity occurs when there’s an imbalance between positive and negative charges in an object. The charges build up on the surface of an object until they find a way to be discharged. The easiest way to discharge them is through a circuit.
Typically, static electricity is built up by how a person walks or if they shuffle around on their furniture. Both of these examples can cause friction to build and for static electricity to build. Sometimes even simply sitting and standing from your seat can cause electrical charges to build. Once you’ve built up static electricity, the static will find a circuit to discharge onto a grounded source.
If you’ve been sitting in a chair or other piece of furniture without touching the ground, your clothes can create charges against your furniture while you shift in your seat. Then, once you put your feet down on the ground, you’re grounded, so the electrostatic charges discharge through you, and as a result, you receive a shock.
Rattan furniture is a common type of patio furniture. Wicker furniture is excellent outdoor furniture is often accused of being easily statically charged. Wicker simply refers to a weaving process, so rattan furniture can be made of any material but be weaved using the wicker method. Rattan furniture should be taken care of if used outdoors.
Because consistent moisture can lead to mildew, you may want to wipe your furniture down after it rains or gets wet. If you tend to have a lot of static build-up from your rattan furniture, you may want to check what materials it’s made of. If the furniture feet are plastic, you can treat them with an anti-static spray. If they have rubber caps on them, this will insulate the chair. However, your body will still hold a static charge, so you can remove the caps to ensure that your chair is grounded.
Outdoor decks are excellent for many homes, creating a beautiful outdoor living space. The material it’s made of, however, can contribute to static shock. Decks that are made of plastic composite material often generate static electricity. If you live in a dry climate, it’s especially easy for a static charge to build on your composite deck.
Composite decking is an insulating material, and insulating materials easily hold a static charge. Then, when you walk across your deck, you’ll be building static charges that will eventually be discharged when you ground yourself. You can combat static electricity on your composite decks by using an anti-static spray or other methods.
How to Get Rid of Static Electricity
The electrical charges that build up on the surface of different materials and objects, including furniture, results in sparks or shocks and static cling. There are various ways to deal with static electricity. If you live in a dry climate area, it’s more likely that your furniture will experience static electricity. You can try using a mixture of water and vinegar to spray down your patio furniture to get rid of static electricity. You can also try rubbing your furniture with fabric-softener or dryer sheets, or you can spray your furniture with an anti-static product.
If you decide to use an anti-static spray on your outdoor furniture, ensure that you buy and use one made for outdoor use. The weather can quickly wear down sprays and liquids. If you decide to make your own, you can keep it in a spray bottle and use it as needed. One spray you can mix includes two tablespoons of liquid fabric softener and 1 cup of water.
If you buy a fabric softener, you can find one that helps to fight against static cling. When you’re ready to use the spray you create, make sure you shake the bottle before spraying. You can spray a light mist on your furniture or on a cloth that you can use to wipe your patio furniture down.
One way to possibly counter the flow of electricity is by using rubber. If you believe that your furniture easily conducts electricity, you can try putting rubber feet on your furniture. You can also separate your furniture from your patio with a rubber mat or rug. There are plenty of outdoor rubber mat options that you find for sale at outdoor furniture or online stores. You should also pay close attention to the type of shoes you wear when you’re lounging on your patio. There are even anti-static mats that you can purchase for your deck.
However, because rubber is an insulating material, it may cause more static electricity than desired. It could even have the complete opposite effect! But if you haven’t tried using rubber to counter static electricity, it may be worth a shot. If it doesn’t seem to help, you can remove the rubber and try grounding the furniture.
Be Aware of What You Wear
If you wear socks or specific shoes while you interact with your patio furniture, it may be possible that it’s what causes the electric charges to build. From your socks, shoes to your clothing, try to wear different types of materials that cause fewer shocks. Fabrics made up of synthetic fibers, like polyester and nylon, conduct static electricity well. Materials made up of more natural fibers, like cotton, don’t accumulate as much static electricity. You can add baking soda or fabric softener when you wash your clothes.
If you typically wear socks, try going barefoot on your patio. Shoes with soles made of leather help to reduce static shock. Rubber soles help to insulate static charges. Shoes with plastic in the soles may be more likely to create static charges that give you a shock when you ground yourself. You can experiment with different types of shoes and see which produces the least amount of static shock.
On top of what you wear, you can also ensure that you keep your skin moisturized. Dry skin easily conducts static electricity, so using lotions and keeping your skin moisturized helps to prevent static charges from building. After you’re done showering, apply lotion or another form of moisturizer to your skin.
Electrostatic Shock vs. Electrocution
A static shock is just that, a shock. When you’re shocked by an electrostatic shock, you aren’t being electrocuted—being electrocuted means that there a current or flow of electricity. Static shock releases the build-up of electrical charge on the surface of objects.
If you keep having a constant flow of electrical current, there’s an even bigger problem. If you believe that the shocks you are receiving aren’t just simple static electricity, you may want to have an electrician from a local business look at your deck and ensure that there isn’t an electrical problem. If there’s something wrong with a patio outlet or some other electrical component, they can safely deal with that problem.
Grounding is the process of providing a conduction path for static electricity to release to the ground. Static electricity will try to find the fastest route of least resistance to the ground. That’s why it’s essential not to be outside during a thunderstorm. Lighting will strike the tallest things around to reach the ground quicker, including metal, water, trees, and even you! So, on a smaller scale, when you have static charges built up, the easiest way to ground yourself is to touch metal like a doorknob or the ground itself.
Now that you’ve gotten some good knowledge on what to do when your patio or garden furniture ends up giving you a bit of a shock, you can try some of these solutions to keep the static at bay. Happy grounding!
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