Did you feel that zap? Blame the winter weather

Kyle Brittain
·1 min read
Did you feel that zap? Blame the winter weather
Did you feel that zap? Blame the winter weather

Have you ever noticed that it's easier to get shocked around your home in the winter?

You can thank the excess dry air of the cold season, which leads to a more intense build-up of static electricity than at other times of the year.

Put simply, static electricity is an imbalance of electric charge between two objects.

Surfaces like carpets tend to give up electrons more easily, while other objects, like rubber-soled shoes, attract them.

So if you shuffle your feet along a carpet while wearing rubber-soled shoes, your feet will strip the carpet of electrons, giving you a strong negative charge. When you reach for a light switch or a highly-conductive metal doorknob, you get zapped as a sudden flow of electrons makes the jump.

If the charge build-up is strong enough, you may even see a spark -- which is essentially a micro-scale lightning bolt.

And that pain you feel?

That's the sensation of the air being temporarily heated to luminosity as electrons flow through the air.

In the summer, there tends to be more humidity in the air, and electrons can flow more freely, so they don't tend to build up on surfaces as much.

For tips on reducing electric shocks in the winter, watch the video above.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Videoblocks.