static electricity with outdoor deck

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Rik51, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. Rik51

    Rik51 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Surrey BC
    I have a new outdoor deck which is constructed of plastic composite planks. The deck is on the 2nd level of the house. The plastic planks have no contact with the ground. The plastic planks are laying on wood sleepers. I have a static electricity problem. Almost every time I walk around on the deck I will get a shock when I touch anything metal (door handle/metal cap on top of deck wall/bbq). I can't seem to find a proper solution to the problem. Will grounding every plank solve the problem? I have found a couple of sites that refer to grounding every plank...one says grounding is the solution...one says grounding will do nothing. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I suspect the planks are no more or less conductive than dry wood. Grounding them would have not effect. Static is related to the material they are made out of, and what your shoes are made of. Change one of those two things!
  3. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,799
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    .

    You may be able to find an anti static liquid to the composite planks to reduce ore eliminate that. I have Trex, and it never generated static electricity from us even in the Winter. What kind of shoes are you weraing when this happens? Also happens barefoot? Also check with the composite plank manufacturer to see what they can suggest
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,272
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    If you cannot eliminate the static electricity, you may have to carry a key or something similar to touch any metal first. I have heard that spraying something, I think Downy, on carpet eliminates the problem but am not sure if it would work on wood. it is a problem with plastic. There was a roller skating rink which replaced the wood floor with a plastic one and we could build up tremendous static charges. You did not want to be the first or last person in a Conga line and touch the rail.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,334
    Location:
    New England
    Most of the sprays that would help to dissipate the buildup would be washed away in a rainstorm. Might take some research to find one that would work moderately long-term and, not leave a residue that detracted from the current look of the deck material.
  6. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,517
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Welcome to Terry's forum Rik51,

    You might want to get something like this;

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0011ENHDQ

    And put it in the entry way to your interior/exterior door.

    Or paint your deck with leaded paint.


    Good Luck on your project.


    DonL
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,272
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Or paint your deck with leaded paint.

    Wouldn't that do away with decades of trying to eliminate lead paint? He would need the antistatic pad anywhere he has metal he could touch and it needs to be attached to a grounded source also..
  8. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,799
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I like your Ben Franklin idea better;)
  9. Rik51

    Rik51 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Surrey BC
    Thanks everyone for the input. I am wondering if grounding the planks (even though they're plastic) will give a static charge a path to ground instead of traveling through a person. When we walk on the deck in our socks...doesn't seem to be a problem. If we are out there with our running shoes or sandals...anything with a rubber sole...big problem. We have not been able to get anywhere with the manifacturer regarding this problem. They say they've heard of it, but it's rare and to call an electrician. So far, 3 electrical inspectors and 3 electrical companies have not been able to give us a solution. If you spend big $$$ on a deck (actually 3 levels of decks) you should be able to walk on it with whatever shoes you want and not need to carry a key around in your pocket or spray something on it that will only last a short time as we live in the Vancouver area...we get a lot of rain. Now that I've vented...any further thoughts would be appreciated.
  10. kreemoweet

    kreemoweet Member

    Messages:
    377
    Location:
    Seattle. WA
    Grounding can do nothing for you. Plastic is a non-conductor and electrical charges cannot move through it.
    The static charges you are getting are generated by friction, at the point of contact between your shoe and
    the deck.
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,517
    Location:
    Houston, TX
  12. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    The easiest solution is to clench your fist tight and touch a metal surface with a knuckle if you feel you may need to discharge yourself.

    You will see and hear a spark, but will not feel a thing.

    I use this trick all the time. Mostly in the supermarket.
  13. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    If you could measure the static voltage when you discharge it from your body you would be "shocked" to learn it could be as high as 3000 volts.....

    I work on machines that have lots of PC boards in them. Replacement boards are packed in anti static packaging.
    On some really high tech parts I have to wear a wrist strap to prevent any static discharge from possibly damaging a new board.

    In the winter when I do my laundry....I get static discharges from clothes right out of my dryer.....I have gotten used to keeping myself grounded by staying in contact with grounded metal of the washer or dryer....


    Trying to attach some metal to continoulsy ground some plastic and make it inconspicuos and effective would be difficult....
  14. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,517
    Location:
    Houston, TX
  15. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,799
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    or the esd flooring to cover that beautiful new deck
  16. ContractorSam

    ContractorSam New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    British Columbia
    All the sugar coating, lipstick and mascara can't hide the simple fact that there is no static electricity, build up, retention, or release, until there is a CONDUIT in place. That conduit is the HUMAN! Nylon rugs, mylar balloons and car seats have the same problem. How many kids rub a balloon against their heads and stick it to the wall, or drag their feet on the rug, only to zap someone? Blame it on Benjamin Franklin and his kite. Don't get me wrong, a shock is just that - "shocking", as in STARTLING. It is NOT an electrocution because it does not have CURRENT, which is the FLOW of electricity. A static shock is "the build up of electric charge on the surface of objects".
    Also, regarding "Rich B"s comment of 300o volts; That's fine. You could have 1,000,000 million volts go through the human body without ill effect. It is the AMPERE that kills - as little as 20ma. The AMPERE is what is generated FLOW of electricity - ergo "current"...... line voltage, from a wire, not static.
    Lastly, grounding a deck is silly. IT IS ALREADY! If it's touching the house, which is touching the ground, it is grounded! If you want to ground something, ground the conduit - the human. That's why the zap happens. the human touches the ground.

    (apologies for the rant tone..... Electricity 101 ) :)
  17. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Build a redwood deck and leave the milk cartons for railroad ties.

    Actually I use 1x12 sugar pine for decks and I get about 25 years out of them. Decent sugar pine is better than bad redwood.
  18. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Build a redwood deck and leave the milk cartons for railroad ties.

    Actually I use 1x12 sugar pine for decks and I get about 25 years out of them. Decent sugar pine is better than bad redwood.
  19. AlW

    AlW New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Colorado
    I am experiencing the same issues with my new Trex deck. I see some suggestions on how to suppress the discharge but my problem is with people who walk across my deck, then touch/rest their hands on my lighted post caps. The post caps are metal and have LED light strips in them. (Post caps are Rondi from De-Kor) I have seen the static discharge actually cause the light strip to fail, even though they have a 1/4 inch foam insulating strip between them and the cap. I talked with my builder and he mentioned the same thing happened to him on a display deck. He built a static charge walking across the deck, touched a post (Trex lighted brand) and the subsequent discharge caused the LED to fail. I am thinking I need to ground the post caps just to give a better "path of least resistance" for the discharge. The non-lighted post caps do not cause a discharge so I am sure the discharge is grounding through the electrical ground. Trex will not acknowledge this is a problem, but does suggest grounding the deck. I agree with some posts above that grounding the deck won't work, otherwise I would get a discharge from the non light post caps as well. Would be interested in hearing any other experiences with static discharge and the effect on deck lighting. BTW, I live in Colorado, low humidity, very dry climate.
  20. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,799
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Be happy you live in a low humidity, dry climate. My Trex deck, which I installed in 2008, gets mold spots and looks disgusting over the Winter into Spring. You can't use a pressure washer on Trex (at least with much power), or it will damage the surface. Normal deck cleaners don't seem to be able to clean it up. I had to buy an expensive, but effective deck cleaner over the Internet, but now sold at Lowes I think. It took all the beautiful coloring of the Saddle planking and Madeira colored railing system and made it like a puke grey. I bought composite decking materials,as they were advertising it as being very low maintenance. There was a class action suit on Trex years ago, but the newer stuff in 2008 was supposed to be better. It does not splinter, has not warped, but making it look decent each year is NOT low maintenance. I hope their latest product they advertise now on TV is better than what I got. Be happy with your static electricity shocks and remove the LED lighting. do as Ian said and walk around with a key in your hand, or do like Detective Monk on TV did with his finger.

    Sorry to make light of your situation. I think the mold is worse, and its probably something you won't get, I hope. Touch objects quickly instead of the slow approach. If I had your problem, I'd probably make party hats for everybody on the deck with flashing lights from the static discharge.
Similar Threads: static electricity
Forum Title Date
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Dryer Static - modify dryer grounds....amicrazyorwhat? Nov 29, 2013
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Static interference from flourescent lights. Mar 19, 2009
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Question about feeding electricity to house Nov 20, 2013
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Make metal glow with electricity Feb 26, 2013
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Electricity connection to Kohler K-1733 steam generator Sep 18, 2011

Share This Page