Static Elec/Smoke Alarm

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Old 02-16-11, 09:51 PM
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Static Elec/Smoke Alarm

Hey I have a weird question, I'm more of less curious, but was wondering also if there is any danger in this. In the cold/dry winter months I have a huge problem with static electricity. So last night my wife gets off the couch, walks 10 feet to the kitchen. Hits the light switch, and discharges/arcs to the screw on the switch plate. I get that part. At that exact moment, the smoke alarm (battery, not hardwired), went off thats about 3 feet from the switch. It just beeped once, similar to when the battery is low, but it's not, I just replaced it.

1) Was that pure coincidence, or is there a chance it went off because she shocked herself on the plate screw?

2) Is it dangerous? A few times have really hurt like hell. We shock ourself probably 25 times a day, 50% of the time it's when we touch the light switch.

I do run a humidifier, but it doesn't seem to help.
 
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Old 02-17-11, 04:28 AM
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I would have to say it was a coincidence, as most smoke alarms "ionize" the air and analyze smoke from all else. Getting shocked at a light switch means you have a good grounding system in the house. It's probably not dangerous, but hurts like everything. Like mom always said....stop shuffling your feet....or take off those rabbit slippers. It could have to do with what you wear around the house on carpeting. There are anti static sprays you can put on carpeting, although I have never used any. Raising the RH of the house, which you are already trying to do helps.
 
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Old 02-17-11, 07:46 AM
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Common static discharge has a lot in common with lighning, only about a million times less powerful. But, it still results in a current waveform that has a fast risetime, and can generate voltages of tens of thousands. That fast risetime current pulse that you had "delivered" to your home wiring ground conductor i'll bet ran just behind the smoke detector. There is a decent chance that the radiating field from that pulse did momentarily confuse the voltage threshold detector in the smoke alarm, even though there is no direct connection to your home wiring. To be sure, zap that ground screw a bunch more times, and see what happens! (just kidding, too painful to endure, i'm sure).
 
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Old 02-17-11, 12:11 PM
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The only wiring in the wall behind the smoke alarm is low voltage for the doorbell. Which goes does stairs to a transformer so I guess that's technically grounded by the house?
 
 

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