Well you may not feel the dryness in your house but in the cool/dry temperature climates such as in North American winter a thing called RH or Relative Humidity is quite low. Usually when it goes below 50-60% there is not enough humidity (moisture) in the astmosphere (even in your house) to "short" out ESD (electrostatic discharge). ESD builds up when two dissimilar insulators (things that don't conduct electricity well), like your hand and a cat's fur, rub together. Sometimes the carpet and the cat are the culprit. Sometimes its you in your socks walking across
the carpet. Either way both of you are building up a ESD voltage potentials into the hundreds or thousands of volts of static electricity
Now this ESD has no real killer "current" just annoying voltage
. Its enough to really sting
. Sometimes lower amounts of ESD that you can't even feel will wipe out sensitive electronics and even computers through the keyboard circuits. ESD is one of the biggest natural enemies to science, industry, government, and the military
. So, you may ask, what can you do about it?
Well some homes are equipped with built-in furnace humidifier systems. You can have a furnace techician increase the level to increase your RH up to 80-90% any higher and everybody will feel soupy or moist
. Boiling a pot on the stove is really not enough for the entire house. You need to have a furnace humidifier installed, buy a big stand-alone unit, or just practice SESM "safe-ESD" manuevers. What's that?
If your house is plagued by ESD and you can't afford
a big humidifier system, expensive anti-static sprays, and static mats then try free SESDM. What that is quite simply is proactively and safely "discharging" yourself into a large metallic object before you touch your PC
or your cat
. That could be a door knob on a metal door, all metal desk, all metal chair, metal parts of a refrig, all metal TV set, your car's metal surfaces, or even the little "safe" screw in your wall outlet which is grounded. Yes you may feel that nasty ESD snap if you do it too gingerly or softly
out of an irrational fear. But is it better to snap yourself or the cat
?! Just grab the metal or touch it with purpose and you wont really feel anything!
Many electronic technicians wear a Anti-ESD strap around their wrist which is attached to that little screw on the wall outlet. It limits your overall movement but they tend to sit in one place all day anyway. Radio Shack sells them for a couple of bucks. One end goes around your wrist with Velcro and the other end has an alligator (or in UK crocodile) clip which attaches to this screw or any large metallic object.
Just remember, when its cold out (and it will be low RH), and you walk across
the carpet, or while sitting move your feet around
on the carpet too much, or rub a pet's or another human's hair, you are recharging yourself big time
! Just remember that if you discharge your self or hold on to a discharging item I mentioned above while petting your animal you wont shock it.