Fre­quent fly­ing air­craft un­likely cause of static elec­tric­ity

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES ACT NOW - ARI MARANTZ

QI own a home in St. James close to the air­port and in line with the flight paths. For the nine years I have lived here we have had a prob­lem with static in the house, de­spite con­stantly run­ning a hu­mid­i­fier. Also, when I stand in the mid­dle of my backyard I can feel the static against my skin. When we pur­chased the home there was a five foot rod sunk in the ground, next to the house, and another one in the back area of the yard. I did not know what these rods were for and have since re­moved them. I am won­der­ing if they were meant to be ground­ing rods? Why am I ex­pe­ri­enc­ing so much static in my home and out­side in the yard? Does the con­stant air­craft traf­fic over my home re­sult in built up static? What can I do to re­duce the static prob­lem? Shawna An­swer: Some things that oc­cur in and around our homes have causes that are hard to pin­point, and be­yond the knowl­edge of even an ex­pe­ri­enced home in­spec­tor. Static elec­tric­ity can be an­noy­ing, but is rarely caused by a sig­nif­i­cant is­sue, un­less in ex­treme cases. There may be some things you can do in­side to min­i­mize this con­cern, but out­side may be more your imag­i­na­tion than re­al­ity. De­ter­min­ing whether there is any­thing se­ri­ously wrong with your home, in­side or out, may re­quire test­ing and eval­u­a­tion by an ex­pe­ri­enced en­vi­ron­men­tal engi­neer. Static elec­tric­ity is of­ten ex­pe­ri­enced within a build­ing due to cer­tain ma­te­ri­als rub­bing against each other or other re­lated causes. You are right that this may be worse in the dry win­ter, but could oc­cur at other times, as well. The first thing I have to en­quire about is the type of floor cov­er­ings in your home. Cer­tain types of floor­ing, par­tic­u­larly car­pets, can cause static elec­tric­ity when walked on with socks, stock­ings, or cer­tain types of footwear. I’m not sure which reg­u­lar car­pet ma­te­ri­als may be the worst, but of­ten the fab­rics are com­posed of ny­lon, polyester, wool, or blends of these. If you mainly ex­pe­ri­ence this phe­nom­e­non in rooms with car­pets only, re­moval and re­place­ment with hard sur­face floor­ing may help. It is doubt­ful air­craft fre­quently fly­ing over your home has any­thing to do with elec­tri­cal charges or elec­tro­mag­netic forces in the en­vi­ron­ment. Even in your area, there is a great deal of open space be­tween your home and any planes, which should negate any ef­fects they may be cause. I would think noise or vi­bra­tions may be an is­sue, but not any­thing that would cause ex­ces­sive static elec­tric­ity in your yard. A bet­ter place to look would be any equip­ment lo­cated nearby. Do you have any hy­dro poles im­me­di­ately ad­ja­cent to your yard? If so, are there any large trans­form­ers sus­pended from the top of these? Are there any sub­sta­tions or large over­head power lines near your home? Any of these could pro­duce a higher than nor­mal amount of elec­tro­mag­netic ra­di­a­tion in the vicin­ity of your yard. Whether this would be no­tice­able when you’re out­side would be ques­tion­able, but there has been lots of chat­ter in re­cent years about pos­si­ble neg­a­tive ef­fects of this equip­ment on peo­ple. It is con­ceiv­able your home is lo­cated in an area where Hy­dro in­fra­struc­ture is in­ad­ver­tently af­fect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment. Whether this would be caus­ing the high static elec­tric­ity forces you are notic­ing would be a ques­tion for some­one more qual­i­fied than I. Fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion by an en­vi­ron­men­tal spe­cial­ist may be war­ranted to de­ter­mine if there are any more se­ri­ous con­cerns, if this is the case. You may be cor­rect that the me­tal rods you re­moved from your yard were orig­i­nally in­stalled as ground rods, but they’re prob­a­bly not needed any­more. They were ei­ther ren­dered un­nec­es­sary many years ago, or may have been in­stalled for some­thing such as an old tele­vi­sion an­tenna or other ex­te­rior fix­ture. To rule this out as an is­sue, lo­cate your cur­rent ground wire where it con­nects to the wa­ter sup­ply pipe near the me­ter. This bare cop­per wire should be con­tin­u­ous from this pipe to the elec­tri­cal panel, or by­pass the me­ter and con­tinue right to the panel. If it is not in this lo­ca­tion, look for a clamp on a me­tal wa­ter sup­ply pipe where the wire may ter­mi­nate. If you see it in this lo­ca­tion, or can’t find the ter­mi­na­tion of this wire, call an elec­tri­cian to prop­erly ground the panel to the wa­ter line. This may not elim­i­nate the static is­sue, but will cer­tainly im­prove the over­all safety of the elec­tri­cal sys­tem. Dry­ness in your home may make static elec­tric­ity is­sues worse, but should not be the un­der­ly­ing cause, nor should air­planes fly­ing low over your home. It is more likely var­i­ous ma­te­ri­als in your floor­ing, fur­ni­ture, or cloth­ing are re­spon­si­ble for this nui­sance prob­lem. The true cause of this is­sue may not be within the knowl­edge of most home in­spec­tors, my­self in­cluded, but com­mon sense tells me your sens­ing of this out­side the home is an over­re­ac­tion. Re­gard­less, if changes in your in­te­rior floor cov­er­ings or fur­nish­ings don’t solve the prob­lem, and you still feel the ef­fects of the static charges out­side your home, eval­u­a­tion by an ex­pe­ri­enced en­vi­ron­men­tal engi­neer should be the next step.

Ari Marantz is the owner of Trained Eye Home In­spec­tion Ltd.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.