The Electrical Blog

Static Electricity and How It Affects Business Electronics and Data

Posted by James Rockhill on Wed, Jan 27, 2016


Nearly everyone remembers taking a balloon as a kid, rubbing it on your sweater or a woolen blanket, and holding it above your head to make it stand on end. It was fun to play with static electricity when you were younger. We’ll even admit that it’s fun to rub your feet on a rug and deliver a shock to an unsuspecting passerby. However, while those games may be fun for children, there are worse consequences to static electricity. Here’s what you need to know.

Potentially Dangerous Static Shocks

The same static electricity that was fun when you were a kid can be potentially dangerous in the wrong situations. One such situation is when there is gasoline or another airborne flammable material in the air. In those situations, the sparks from static shocks can ignite the airborne gas, causing a potentially dangerous explosion. Static shocks can also, in very, very rare situations, be potentially dangerous to people with pacemakers.

Static Electricity and Electronics

While it is highly unlikely that you would be injured as a result of static electricity, even though it is possible, it’s far more likely that electronics including computers and other office machinery, could be damaged by static discharge.

Basically, electrostatic discharge, or ESD, is a tiny, miniature version of lightning, and it can be just as destructive on the micro level of circuit boards. The energy from the shock travels through the nearest object, in this case the circuitry of the electronics, and destroys critical elements along the way.

While this is the literal equivalent of the electrical storm in a tea cup, there are ways to prevent damage to your equipment from static electricity:

  • Technicians working on electronic equipment should use an ESD wrist strap, which helps to dissipate charge away from the circuitry.
  • Avoid placing synthetic materials such a plastic and polystyrene near electronics. These materials are commonly the cause of static discharge.
  • Avoid using compressed air to clean circuit boards.
  • Only use non-static forming sprays on electronics.
  • Treat carpets to prevent static buildup, and invest in static proof mats if you still have trouble.
  • Restrict access to computers and other electronics to staff or contractors who have experience in working with them, and who know how to prevent static discharge.
  • Regulated humidity system.

Static charges can destroy electronic equipment. So can power surges and electrical storms. Take precautions to avoid damage by static electricity to your delicate electronics, and speak to your commercial electric company to make sure that your office and business premises is adequately protected against power surges. Surge protectors, ensuring that your building and electrical systems are properly grounded and setting up “Zones of Protection” within your facility can all keep your equipment, electronics and people safer.

This is particularly important for items like your server, where critical data is stored. The simple fact is that unregulated, unexpected power is bad for your electronics and equipment, whether the cause is your feet on the carpet or a lightning strike during a storm. It’s always better (and cheaper) to be safe, rather than sorry.

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Topics: lightning protection, electrical contractor, commercial electric

3 Critical Reasons Your Colorado Springs Commercial Building Needs Lightning Protection

Posted by James Rockhill on Thu, Jul 09, 2015

3-critical-reasons-your-Colorado-Springs-commercial-building-needs-lightening-protectionThunderstorms with lots of lightening are a pretty common occurance here in Colorado. It’s a pretty spectacular lightshow! But it’s a lot more than that. According to, there are approximately 494,000 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes every year in the state. 

If you own commercial property here in Colorado, there are three big reasons you need to protect your property from these far-too-frequent occurrences. 

The Cost of Property Damage

Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. estimates that lightening strikes account for more than one billion dollars in structural damage each year. And Factory Mutual Insurance Company reports that between three and five percent of all commercial insurance claims come from lightening damage. Having the right protection can lower the cost of your insurance. 

Employee Safety

It’s bad enough if your property sustains damage from lightening. But it’s terrible if a lightening strike impacts your employees. On average, lightening kills an average of 73 people across the US every year—and those are just the documented cases. On top of that, there are some 300 documented lightening-related injuries every year, and according to, undocumented injuries caused by lightning are likely much higher. 

Loss of Business

Even if your business survives a lightening strike, the occurrence can wreak all kinds of havoc. A direct hit to a building, a nearby strike to a power line, or even a voltage surge originating from your utility company can cause a fire in the electrical service panel boxes or seriously damage equipment by frying insulation and sensitive microprocessor components. If you have to spend time (and money) replacing equipment, that’s lost revenue you may never recover. And what about all of your data such as customer files, accounting, and intellectual property? Some of that can never be recouped. 

The good news is that you can protect yourself. The American Geophysical Union reports that conventional lightning protection systems are highly effective in reducing lightning-caused fires and damage to buildings and structures. 

We’re experienced in helping businesses protect themselves from the dangers lightening strikes present. You can even click here to see us in action! Shoot us a note at  or call us at 719-632-7683 for more information about how you can protect your property, your employees, and your business from the damage that lightening can do. 

We understand the importance of keeping up with the latest education, certification, and qualifications in the industry. Since 1921 we’ve employed the most qualified people in the business to manage important projects in and around Colorado Springs—from turn of the century carriage houses, to high tech clean rooms and fiber optic cabling. You’ve heard that “knowledge is power.” At Berwick Electric, we take that to heart!

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Topics: Colorado Springs Commercial Electricians, lightning protection, protection against lightening damage