I'm Getting Electrical Shocks When Turning on the Faucet

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The mild shock you feel when touching a metal surface is an electric shock. Often caused by static electricity, you also encounter the shock when touching other items in your home, including faucets. In most cases, the shock is nothing to worry about. If you feel the shock constantly or it intensifies, you need a professional to diagnose the problem.

Electric Shock

  • According to Sydney Water, electric shock occurs when an electrical fault or connection sits near the water line. The electrical energy moves through the pipes, and you feel a shock when touching a faucet on the opposite end of the water line. In most cases, you feel only a mild shock. Depending on the amount of energy, you might feel a slight tingling that lasts for a few seconds or longer. Sydney Water warns against doing major plumbing repairs yourself, because you can seriously injure or electrocute yourself when handling water near electricity.

Static Electricity

  • Static electricity occurs because the negative electrons in your body connect with the positively charged protons in the faucet. The shock you feel comes from the electrons jumping against the protons in the two surfaces. You could even see a small spark if the room is dark. Metal surfaces are conductors because the metal has extra protons.

Considerations

  • According to Kate M. Cronan, M.D., static electricity occurs more in the winter than the warmer months. The dry air causes a buildup of electrons, which increases your risk of static shock. The humidity in the summer keeps your skin hydrated, which pushes electrons away from your skin. Synthetic materials, including the soles of your shoes and mats around the faucets, increase your risk of shock because the materials attract electrons.

Prevention

  • Not everyone feels an electric shock in the same way. What feels like a mild shock to one person might cause a slight level of pain to another. If you want to prevent the chances of shock for you and your family, replace your floors with wood floors or cement floors, which do not create a static charge. Use a humidifier in the room, and keep the room humidity level at 40 percent or higher. The more moisture the room has in the surrounding air, the less chances you have of experiencing static or electric shock. Leather does not attract electrons like synthetic materials do, and wearing leather-soled shoes might help.

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