If you have ever put together a PC – or replaced parts in your existing computer, then you may have been aware of the dangers of static electricity build-up. Our bodies naturally generate static electricity when we rub our socks across the carpet, or simply by touching certain surfaces.
If you don’t ground yourself to discharge your static electricity, then you risk damaging your computer’s components. If you touch your computer’s hardware while holding an electric charge, then you could create a short circuit which would permanently damage your hardware. Today, we’re going to teach you how to safely avoid static electricity build-up when assembling or repairing a PC.
Don’t work on carpet
If your computer desk is in a carpeted room, then you should probably move it to another area when you need to fiddle around with its components. Carpet – especially thick carpet – will quickly create a build-up of static electricity. Just walking on carpet while wearing socks is often enough to create this build-up. Try to repair your computer in a room that has hardwood or linoleum floors.
Don’t wear socks
Another easy way to avoid static electricity is to go barefoot. Rubbing your socks on a carpeted surface is a sure way to generate static electricity. If you don’t have the option of assembling your computer in a non-carpeted area, then you should at least take off your socks.
Ground yourself regularly
Ultimately, you don’t have to worry about the build-up of static electricity if you are able to safely ground yourself. Before touching any of the parts inside your computer, touch something metal that you know is connected to the ground.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to touch your power supply. While your power supply should be off when you assemble your computer (or repair its parts), you should still leave it connected to an electrical socket in your wall. This will effectively ground any metal part of your computer that is touching the power supply – like the sides of your case. So, before touching any of your hardware components, you can easily discharge any static electricity by contacting your metal case or the power supply box itself.
Buy an anti-static wrist strap
If you’re still worried about static electricity, then you can always buy an anti-static wrist strap. This simple device will attach itself to your wrist, providing a constant link between you and the ground. Any static electricity will be instantly discharged, meaning that you cannot damage your components. Anti-static wrist straps can be found at any computer hardware store and are one of the easiest ways to put the threat of static electricity build-up out of your mind.
The bottom line
A lot of people worry about the build-up of static electricity when putting together a computer, but in reality, this threat is often exaggerated. By taking off your socks and being sure to ground yourself regularly, you should be able to avoid any of the problems that accompany static electricity around computers. Nevertheless, when you’re handling expensive computer parts, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.