Does the weather affect static electricity?



Question:  Does the weather affect static electricity?

Answer: You’ll often find dry weather will affect static electricity.

Shocks are worst under certain weather conditions. Static shocks will increase during the winter when the air outside is cold and dry. They may disappear in warmer damper weather.

Static charge build-up is enhanced when the weather is dry so static problems are often noticed more in dry air of the winter. The air outside can be very dry when the weather is cold. Indoors, central heating or air conditioning can give very dry conditions which promote static electricity. Heating warms the air and reduces its humidity.

Static shocks are often noticed in cold dry weather, especially when in a centrally heated environment, and may disappear when the weather gets more humid. Static shocks may also be encouraged under air conditioning in hot weather.  Many people choose to use a humidifier to increase air moister which helps dissipate static charges.

When there are ESD concerns in environments such as semiconductor or electronics manufacturing, the ANSI20.20 requires that temperature and humidity readings are taken when measuring static.  Typically a static field meter or a surface resistance meter are use to measure static and many take these readings as well as measuring static.

Every Thursday, Transforming Technologies will answer questions concerning all things ESD: static causes, threats,  ESD prevention, best practices and all things static in a feature we call ESD Q&A.  If you have ESD questions that you would like to be answered, email  with Q&A in the subject line.