What Is Static Shock?
There are few things more annoying than being constantly shocked when using your shop vacuum. We’ve all received a shock at sometime or another – wearing socks on the trampoline, loose electric outlet, or cleaning out our garage with our shop vacuum. What causes it?
Static shock is a type of electricity. With electricity, there are positive and negative charges. The world naturally wants to be neutral, so it is going to try to combine the positive and negative charges to balance things out.
Why Does Your Vacuum Build Up Static?
When you use a vacuum hose, you are moving the hose. The hose rubs on its environment (like concrete or wood), and what you are sucking up (dust and debris) rubs on the inside of the hose. The friction of this causes a build up of negative charges. Because your hand is more positively charged than the hose, it sends its negative charges (electrons) into your hand – neutralizing the charge. You feel a shock because the skin is not a good conductor and the charge cannot disperse – thus there is an ‘explosion’ of electrons.
You need to provide a path that is more conductive than your hand – copper wire. Negatively charged electrons would rather move through a piece of copper than you, because the nano structure of solid copper makes it very attractive to electrons. Because it is a good conductor, the electrons can disperse without making the cracking shock your hand receives.
This is the same reason static shock occurs more in dry, cold climates. Because there is less water in the air, the electrons cannot disperse as well, so they build up and produce a static shock. You can decrease indoor static shock by having a humidifier in the room.
How To Fix Vacuum Shock
The fix is remarkably simple:
- Take two feet of bare copper wire
- Unscrew your vacuum cuff
- Wrap about a foot of the wire around the hose where the cuff goes
- Screw the vacuum cuff back on over the copper wire
- Run the remaining copper wire up the inside of the vacuum hose
Negative charges will now take the path of least resistance – out the end of the copper wire. If the hose continues shocking you, simply increase the length of the copper wire.
Buy A Quality Hose
Many vacuums come standard with a single piece, plastic hose. It makes it difficult to do the copper wire fix with a hose like this. We have two types of hoses that can help you out.
- Anti-Static Hose: We sell an anti-static hose that has the conductive materials built into the polymers of the hose, thus allowing you to skip the whole DIY step and just purchase an anti-static hose. These are made in Belgium.
- Although it is not built anti-static, among our top products is our Universal Crush-Proof, Kink-Proof Vacuum Hoses. Available in a 12′ and 25′ length, this hose will seriously last longer than your vacuum. You can run it over with your truck and it is still going to work. We know because we’ve tried it. These are made in the USA.
They fit most standard vacuums at a 2.25″ outside diameter. Order one, run a copper wire down it if needed, and now you have a static-proof, crush-proof, kink-proof hose that you can count on.