Why do I get a shock from my light switch?

Often times people feel a shock when they touch the metal screws on the light switch due to a static discharge. Static electricity is the build-up of electrical charges from the surface of objects. This happens when electrons move from one surface to another through contact and builds up an electrical charge if both surfaces are insulators. This is most common in homes with carpet.

Though these minor shocks are not dangerous, they can be irritating, Luckily, there are ways to prevent them.

Ways to Avoid Static Shock in Your Home

  • Use a humidifier, since static electricity occurs most often in dry air
  • Wipe down metal surfaces with dryer sheets
  • Avoid wearing clothing made of synthetic materials
  • Keep your skin moisturized with hand lotion
  • Buy a static shock eliminator

Although most minor shocks from light switches are harmless static shocks, if you experience a large painful jolt, you may have a defective light switch. If this is the case, call an electrician and avoid contact with the switch until it has been inspected and repaired by a professional.

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