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Shock, Crack, Pop: The Ouch of Winter Air

Are you feeling the “ouch” factor in the form of cracked, dry skin and static electric shocks this winter? Both are prevalent when outdoor humidity is low and indoor air is dry. Static electricity, the buildup of electrical charge on the surface of objects, occurs when tiny changed electrons (positive charge = lost electrons, negative charge = gained electrons) move from one surface to another through contact. That means each time you put on a pair of shoes, walk across a floor or carpet, or put on an item, you carry the potential for electric charge.

The zap happens when a charged item comes into contact with a conductor such as metal, wool or rubber, The greater the charge built up in the body, the more intense the shock. While this might be moderately amusing the first time or two it happens, the entertainment factor quickly wears off when the shock is painful and the frequency increases.

Ways to Decrease Static Electricity

1. Reduce friction – Cut down on shuffling or scooting feet across the carpet or rubbing your hand against a surface. This builds up a static electricity charge.

2. Add a cotton layer – Cotton can help diffuse static electricity. Try inserting a cotton barrier in the form of shirts, sheets and socks in between conductors such as wool, rubber and metal.

3. Spray a light mist of water or anti-static spray – This can help temporarily break through the static buildup and allow clothes and hair to lay correctly (temporarily). Once any friction occurs, the static charge will build up again.

4. Increase the level of humidity in the home – All heating elements reduce the ability of the air to hold moisture, resulting in dry and static-charged conditions.

Humidifiers Add Back Needed Moisture

Installing a humidifier can be a great way to increase the moisture level in a single room or in the entire house. Dry air experienced during the cold months can draw out moisture from the inhabitants of the house and also a number of inanimate objects inside. These can include, but are not limited to, cracking and splitting wood furniture and hardwood floors, lessened vitality of houseplants, and peeling wallpaper edges. Another added bonus of a humidifier is that the air can help make breathing easier. Dry nasal passages can trigger nose bleeds and could make you more susceptible to pesky colds and viruses. A humidity level range of 30 to 50 percent is typically considered best.

Humidifier Output and Room Size

500 square feet or smaller – 1.5-2.0 gallons per day

530-600 square feet – 2.2-2.5 gallons per day

700-800 square feet – 3.0-3.5 gallons per day

900-1000 square feet – 4.0-5.0 gallons per day

1000-2000 square feet – 7.0-9.0 gallons per day

2000+ square feet – 10.0 gallons per day or higher

Founded in 1980, Davenport Service Company has provided “Customer First” service in Johnson County, Kansas for more than three decades. We provide 24/7 emergency service, preventive maintenance service, and seasonal tune-ups for commercial and residential heating and air conditioning systems. If you’re looking for a furnace tune-up in Olathe, call 913-441-2222 for hassle-free scheduling today!

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