Touch a doorknob, person or pet after rubbing your feet over a carpet, and ZAP, you feel a static electricity charge. Static occurs when electric charges accumulate on an object’s surface. Electrons are exchanged and one object becomes electrically positive and the other electrically negative. Static is usually created when two materials rub together or move apart. Touching another object with an opposite charge, or a ground (neutral charge), makes electrons flow and you feel the little zap. Static shock takes place more often in winter when the air is cold and dry.
The amount of voltage involved in static electricity, is usually in the 10,000-to-12 .000-Volt range. Static voltage is not life threatening because the amperage is minuscule. It is amps, not volts, which is dangerous. Static shock must be 3500-4000 volts before you can feel it. But for electronics, it is quite possible that you never have a sense of static, and still zap the circuitry in electronics. That is because the integrated circuits may be damaged or destroyed by static voltages as low as 400 volts. Low-voltage static charges can cause latent damage, destroying a few gates of the millions in a typical integrated circuit. This loss can be nearly impossible to diagnose and probably won’t cause problems for a long time.
Humidifiers increase the humidity level in your home, thus reducing random static shock and static cling. Water particles in moist air break up static charges faster. Keeping the humidity in your home between 30-50% also limits electric shock around computers and other electronics, which can cause serious damage. A static charge can be very destructive for the sensitive electronics inside a PC and other electronics. Problems increase when you open your computer case to add RAM, upgrade your CPU or hard drive, or plug in a new sound or graphics card.
These days almost anything has some electronic component. It is prudent to reduce static as much as possible. Running a humidifier in the winter makes you feel more comfortable by eliminating chapped hands, cracked lips and nose bleeds. It also serves to protect your investment in electronics.