Static electricity is known to cause system corruption and premature hardware failure, not to mention that ALL computer suppliers will VOID all warranties from static failure. Part of this issue is due to the carpet and chairs. Most carpet is manufactured using polyester, which has a natural static tendency. Treatment is most effective by misting your carpet or chair with Staticide spray ($15 per quart). It is 1000 times more potent that Downey, at removing static. Downey starts to leave a gummy residue after regular use and therefore is undesirable. When replacing carpet, use a nylon based carpet such as “Olefin” Nylon has 100 times less static generating tendencies than polyester. It’s the same price as regular carpet, you just have to know what to ask for. I like to use grounded keyboard mats in addition to Staticide when carpet becomes an issue.
The most severe source of static electricity the “standard” chair mat. Most chair mats are made from Plexiglas, which can have a surface charge of 10,000 volts. The human user stores these excess electrons in their body, much the same way a Capacitor works. The static electricity remains in the user until they touch ground, which is usually their computer, keyboard or mouse. This slowly and methodically weakens the system until “Hyper Sensitivity” occurs, and these computers will no longer operate correctly. I use the analogy of whittling a stick. Every static discharge removes another sliver of wood. Eventually, the stick is completely whittled away and breaks. Static electricity slowly and methodically weakens the system until “Hyper Sensitivity” occurs, and then will no longer operate correctly.
Static initially manifests itself as flakiness, like refusing network connections, corrupted OS, stopping at the BIOS screen, corrupted data; and negatively always ending in failing hardware. I high recommend that this issue be dealt with correctly. Antistatic chair mats for computers are not inexpensive; however I have searched the world ever for the best price possible. Least expensive single mat that is computer compatible (anti-static) is $140. In quantities of 10 or more, I have seen pricing closer to $100. Most antistatic chair mats are much more expensive than this. I recommend immediately removing all standard chair mats immediately, even before you have antistatic replacements. I have personally carried out 100s of mats in my 39 years as a failure analysis engineer.
Static electricity will persist and damage / corrupt systems until properly dealt with. I purchased a $500 3M Static Meter which we use to determine all sources of static in an office environment. I own a 4000 volt chair myself. I love that chair, so I “Staticide it!”
I remember using static electricity to as a kid. You’d sneak around shuffling your feet, scraping up a big static charge to discharge into friends and family. 3000 volts is at the point you first get a spark, and that spark increases to 10,000 volts at 1 inch. The logic circuits of current computer systems are now 1.15 volts. Since static is not physically detectible under 3000 volts, it is possible to have static failure without your knowledge. So, if you FEEL it, then DEAL with it! J.R. Guthrie