Static electricity....again

Ok, I'm ready to burn the house down and move to Florida. I had a similar problem last winter. I live in Colorado and it's been snowing here like crazy. It is super dry here. My brother fried two pre amps last winter due to lightning bolts flying from his fingers to his pre amp anytime he touched the pre amp...

So here's what I have going on. I have all of my cables lifted off the ground with wooden blocks. My Equipment is plugged into a ps audio quintet, except for my amp which is plugged directly into the wall (porter port).

I don't have any remote controllers in my set-up so whenever I touch my equipment, I ground myself on a screw on the light switch first. I'll have so much electricity built up in my body that I can actually feel the hairs on my legs stand up when I do this.

Okay, well it has gotten to be so bad now that when I am just walking across the room, I can hear a few small pops coming out of my speakers. These are directly related to the static that is building up via my socks dragging across the carpet. I'm %100 sure of that.

My question is, what the heck do I do to remedy this problem before I damage any of my equipment? My house is probably 20 years old. Am I having these issues because the ground in my house is no good?

Btw, last winter when I was having these issues, I sprayed fabric softener all over and that seemed to work for, oh, about 20 minutes.

I'm going to get a humidifier and see how that helps. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated! I'm about ready to change my user name to Zues!
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I know you posted about this last year and I pretty much
have the same thing to say this year. I live in Northern
Colorado and have none of the static problems you have.

I do not have a humidifier, nor do I do anything special.
Maybe it's something in your particular environment?

I have lived all my life in Wyoming (first 26 years) and
Colorado the last 27 years. I really haven't had any issues
at all with major static problems. Sure a few little nips
here and there, but overall, not a problem.

Sorry you're still having such issues. Maybe time to hire
someone to come out and see what the problem really is?

I do wear slippers that have rubber bottoms and always have
had this kind of slipper. Maybe my slippers are isolating me
from the static?
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In the movie 'Man made Monster". Lon Chaney JR is pumped with large amounts of electricity. The remedy, in the movie for containing is to wear a rubber suit. No kidding aside water along with plants will do much to improve this problem.
Mofi, its boggling me... It's not just isolated to me though, as my brother was having the same issues until he started using a humidifier 24/7 in his listening room.

Elizabeth! Long time no see; missed your input on my endless amount of silly questions lately. I'll try the water thing. I think your right about my carprt creating crazy amounts of electricity; never thought about that but I think you're right. Cheap crummy carpet.

I'm going to try the water thing, and also I'll try the slippers too Mofi! Both great ideas. Thank you both!
You can either buy a humidifier (not vaporizer) that will do a large size room, put slippers on over your socks, or....what worked for me is I bought a small 4 inch by 6 inch anti-static mat which is grounded to the receptacle wall plate screw. I discharge myself every time I want to use my equipment in the Winter. The New England Winters are super dry as well.
have you tried static guard spray on your carpet ?
Stereo, Great idea!

Limo do it industrial size, put a large floor mat in front of your rig Anti Static Floor Mat

Good listening


PS How did the Jamo D830IW work out as a freestanding Speaker ?
Pbn, how do we send private messages? Can't figure it out...

I called madisound and got a qoute for crossovers using clarity esa caps but haven't had the funds to go through with it yet. The price was very reasonable and the gentleman (his name escapes me now) was super helpful and very professional. So, they are still mounted in the same cabinets as before (some phase tech boxes that I frankensteined) and I'm using the crossovers that came with them. They sound great but I'm sure they will sound better once I have the different crossovers and cabs.

Thanks a million for your help! By the way, I was taken aback when I stumbled upon your website and saw the speakers you build... wow! I can't tell you how much it means to me to talk first hand, and to recieve advice from you guys here. Much respect! I actually tried to start a thread with the focus on getting some of the producers of fine audio gear that are contributers here on audiogon, the recognition they deserve, but it got shot down.

Anyways, thanks for the suggestion Stereo 5!

I think I'm well on my way to getting a handle on this!
I second the Anti Static floor mat as long as your carpet is not a thick-pile, otherwise it may not stay flat. These mats are used in pro video and audio studios.
Or you use the old fashioned NYC tenement method...put a pot of water on the radiator.
Go small, cheap, and easy - Bounce Dryer sheets. Simply place one on top of a piece of gear and be sure to touch it before your first contact with your gear. Works like a *champ*!

I always recommend having a dryer sheet handy when approaching the equipment rack. But it sounds like if the spray didn't work then maybe the sheets won't either. This is a particularly nasty winter.
Pbn, how do we send private messages? Can't figure it out...
Hate to say this but, find a user friendlier forum.
Most anti static sprays that are available in CVS, etc. A not long lasting. In extreme situations you might need to obtain industrial grade anti static spray with up to 30 day longevity. Some carpets are extremely high voltage as it were.
It takes about 6-7 gallons of water/day to keep my house hydrated here in MN. Keep humidity at about 55. I've got one humidifier dedicated to the listening room and another for the remainder of the house. The Essick humidifiers with the wick really crank it out. I probably should use anti-static products as well but don't feel the need.
It's the Pot stupid! (no offence) All that Pot you guys out in Colorado are smoking has dehydrated your homes. All that burning. Day after day, night after night. No moisture left in your air. Try making Brownies instead. Seriously though, electronics with sophisticated logic circuits, or lots of digital stuff going on, including alot of modern solid state components are much more prone to the chance of static induced failures. Special static precautions are even required when assembling components with integated circuits, etc. I've heard of TV's breaking from the static charge of a finger touch. A tube system lacking any solid state devices is pretty immune to this. Probably old school discreet transistor stuff is better too. I AM in Florida and we have our own problems... Lightning. It gets close enough to make you jump out of your skin. Then it comes again! I'm sure you have seen pics. or heard tales of the destruction it can cause to electronics. Anyway, some good advice from others here for your situation.
I just always make sure to touch my CD player first, I need an excuse to buy a new one.
Been zapping it steady for a month but no luck yet.
If you have a forced air system add an AprilAire humidifier. They are completely automatic as long as the blower is on. I would recommend a Honeywell smart thermostat, they can be programmed to turn the fan on 15 minutes out of every hour to equalize temperature and humidity. You can also save around 30% off cooling and heating costs.
Rooom humidifiers are okay but you must keep the door to the space closed or it will not be large enough no matter the size. Setpoint should be around 40%
I'm sure Hevacl is right that the central humidifier if you will is the best. I have hot water heat so I'm forced to use room humidifiers. Can't agree though that you can't get a big enough room humidifier. With a big Essick, I can have water running down the windows in about 4 hrs.
I have a lot of static also. I walk around barefoot when in the listening room, and the problem is solved.
Thanks everyone! All great advice.

Schubert, your comment made me laugh out loud, no joke. I had a rough day; that was the first geniune laugh I had all day. Thank you :)
That is part of the problem with room humidifiers. The size is very important. If the door is left open the unit will not read the proper humidity level and just keep running, mold and mildew will follow if humidity levels remain to high. As for dipping windows this also means levels are too high and dew points are being reached or your windows are not very good.
Just try the Bounce sheets, they have always worked for those who did. Even if they don't you can always use them in your dryer...
A central humidifier would be the best way of curing the static problem. That said until you address that problem hold something made of metal like a coin or key before touching the light switch screw. You won't feel it and still discharge yourself!! BTW the reason you get shocked is because you do have a good ground (maybe your brother doesn't). Turns out most folks don't realize that when you just feel a slight shock you are at approx 20,000V. To get a good arc off your finger you are 50KV plus.

Yes, I won't disagree. I don't have a reliable humidifier guage (what are they called?) right now and depend on the humidifier's read out where humidity is no doubt higher. So generally the humidity is not as high as the setting on the units. I only ran the water down the windows once just to see how much it would put out(doesn't take much to entertain me). I leave the door open on my new listening room in the basement. So far I don't have it carpeted--just concrete and wood and area rug. Has not been an issue. The other humidifier is on the landing of the split level house into open living room and kitchen. Leave laundry shute open on other end of hall to get as much circulation throughout the house. Depend on air circulation and osmosis. If anyone has any better ideas, I'm happy to try them.

I like the sound quality that I get from my hydration system such as it is, I like the air quality, I don't like messing with anti-static products, and my cats thank me.
I use a humidifier in my room in winter. I also find that removing my shoes helps.
With some rugs being barefoot makes it worse.
Obviously humidifiers are one of the most popular answers to this problem. As Elizabeth mentioned, boiling pots of water also will do the trick. It's simply a matter of adding water vapor to a dry environment. Folks who use vinyl, like me, are even more aware of these issues, as it manifests itself in many more 'pops' when listening. I find a good size room humidifier has solved that problem for me.
A more, uh, stubborn problem is the static charge that develops on spinning CDs due to the friction of air. This static charge can be dissipated by using anti static sprays or destat guns on the CD. A static electrical charge is also most unwelcome on interconnects.
I should buy the static mat but I do have a box of dryer sheets and they work fine. Right now, my first taste of 'light' static, all I need to do is to remember to touch one of my racks before I touch any gear and I am good to go. (and, easy to remember as I did fry some fuses last season on one of my amps from static (and the year before, and the year before...)I open my cd tray but then its remote only. When the static gets worse, I just rub my hands on a dryer sheet before I touch anything. I finally got the unscented ones so really no downside. The scented ones kind of made the man cave feel a bit 'girly'.
On the static on CD thing...I ordered the furustat destate II and have been using it religiously (as well as my walker talisman) on all my cd's since xmas. made some upgrades and I've been in digital bliss. I was in the sound room and just wanted to play a cd without any cermony - just throw it in and have a listen while I read something quickly - and actually noticed that digital sound you get on CD's. slight as it was, it was there. The new destate really does improve the sound of my cd's. I was able to easily tell the disc hadn't been treated. Pretty slick.
Its interesting. I had my equipment on a metal framed wood shelved rack last year and when I'd ground myself on the rack I could hear popping noises through my speakers. No cables were touching the rack, sooo, the charge must have been going through the metal rack, transferring to the wooden shelves and entering my equipment through the equipments footers...?

Anyways.... I took care of my problem by not wearing my sweat pants (don't worry, I'm not naked, although, that might help lessen the interuptions...) not wearing socks and putting lotion on my feet so they aren't dry at all (can't believe I actually shared that, but oh well).

Last year I did spray an anti static spray on the carpet and cables but that would only work for about a half a day.

I think humidifier, less static buildup in clothes and socks (bare feet that aren't dry), thats they way to go.

What antistatic products are out there for our cables??
My problem was wearing slippers on carpeting. Lots of static build up. Wearing only socks now with no problems.
In the telecom industry we always use a grounding strap which in our case is connected to the rack. In your case buy a strap which fits like a bracelet on your wrist and connect to the grounding screw of a grounded outlet and put it on before touching anything or at least touch the metal on it to dissapate the static.
B_Limo. Funy you said that. I am wondering why this years static was a non-issue for me (and I am in NY and we have had the same winter as prior years, maybe worse..) and your post made me figure it out.

Very dry skin for me this year and first year I have been using lotion (there, I said it too!) and, I guess its keeping the static down!
What antistatic products are out there for our cables??
I have Nordost Eco3 and Eco3X. The 3X lasts longer IMO. But you also get 1/2 the amount for the same price (4oz vs 8oz).
That's awesome... Jame Gumb, one of the most frightening villians ever.
Funy you said that. I am wondering why this years static was a non-issue for me (and I am in NY and we have had the same winter as prior years, maybe worse..) and your post made me figure it out.

This has been a terrible winter for NY and the East Coast. I've never built up static charges in my house until this year. And the air is so dry inside that I'm using the lotion in the basket. Seriously, I'm causing a spark when I touch my system.
I had a cd playing ritual...and a vinyl playing ritual. I now am adopting a lotion applying ritual.

Kidding aside, I had lightning bolts shooting from my fingers as well. I had so much voltage going through me, I'd shock MY cardiologist. I fried a pair of fuses right before a group listening session last year (and found out I had no back ups...standard or otherwise-now I have a spare fuse taped to my waistband).
I use a length of lamp cord connected to the ground on a my power conditioner; touch the bare end of that wire before touching equipment.