Despite being one of the most common machines for working out, treadmills can create quite some problems for you. And perhaps the biggest problem is that they generate a lot of static energy. This can shock people using the machine, but more importantly, higher static energy can hamper the functioning of the machine. The likelihood of the latter happening is definitely more.
Friction on treadmills during training may cause static electricity, that is why some users experience a shock during running. Static electricity may damage treadmill parts as the charge attracts debris into the treadmill motor. Clean around the treadmill and take precautions to avoid static.
What is a Static Shock on a Treadmill?
A static shock on a treadmill can be because of environmental issues and motor issues.
Environmental causes include higher friction caused by the repetitive motion of the user. This friction between the belt and the surface or between the shoes and the belt can increase static energy.
Treadmills placed on a carpet also experience greater static energy and attract more of the surrounding dirt. Treadmills that aren’t cleaned and well-maintained face this issue as well.
On the other hand, the motor of the treadmill can also experience a significant amount of wear and tear. It can become clogged with debris or dust and increase static electricity. A worn-out belt may also aid in this. To avoid these issues, you need to either replace the cord or the belt or get your motor checked by a professional.
However, regardless of the reason, a shock may be the worst thing that can happen to you while you are working out. So here are some things you need to know about it.
How to Avoid Static Shock on a Treadmill?
Before purchasing a treadmill, make sure it is of top-notch quality and doesn’t have worn-out components. Once you have purchased a durable and strong model, you can take some other measures to prevent getting shocked. Here are some things that you need to do.
Put a Mat under the Treadmill
Treadmills produce a static charge that creates a vacuum and attracts pet hair, dirt, carpet fibers, and dust particles towards the motor compartment.
Once this dirt gets trapped inside, it significantly hampers the activity of the motor and even seizes electronic boards and gears inside. Over the long run, this can make your treadmill lose its speed and efficiency.
Two categories of floorings are the most popular. Treadmills are placed on either cement or hardwood flooring that are low static and don’t attract a lot of dirt or on carpeted and polymer flooring that are high static.
Regardless of the kind of flooring, the motor and gear inside your treadmill will always attract some kind of dirt and debris.
This is where a treadmill mat comes into play. We recommend you use a mat of at least 4 mm or 3/16 inches. However, for optimum results, you should go for one that measures 6 mm or ¼ inches. You can use a single mat with elliptical or any other similar machine as well.
Most treadmill mats are made with PVC, rubber, or some kind of foam. The thickness and durability of this material help provide stability and reduce the equipment’s vibrations. It also helps keep the motor of your treadmill free from trapped debris or dirt.
Choose the Right Exercise Clothing
Not many people know that the kind of clothing they wear can affect the static buildup inside their treadmills. These shocks are not only very unpleasant but can also hamper your workout activities for some time. This is why it’s recommended to wear the right kind of workout clothing when you hit your treadmill or elliptical.
Cotton and bamboo are natural fabrics that are not only comfortable but also limit the static buildup in your machines. These materials are also much more breathable, allowing you to work out for longer without getting tired.
On the other hand, synthetic materials like nylon, polyester, and others limit your comfort and have a higher static charge which they transfer to the motor and gear of the treadmill.
You should also pay special attention to your footwear. You can wear any normal joggers intended for workout purposes. Some even come with shock absorption or cushioning properties to support indoor exercises. However, you should avoid wearing rubber footwear as the sole can generate a significant amount of charge and create electricity buildup on the treadmill.
Regular Treadmill Maintenance
People often wonder, ‘why does my treadmill shock me?‘
Well, the main reason for it is inadequate treadmill maintenance.
An elliptical or treadmill has many moving parts that can wear out over time and can only run adequately when they are maintained properly. Every model comes with an owner’s manual that contains instructions on how to maintain the treadmill by things like lubrication, cleaning, and belt adjustments.
You should remove the cover and vacuum any debris that you find underneath. The belt is a crucial component of the treadmill and one that majorly affects your activity. But it can wear out over time and needs adjustment every now and then. You can do this by aligning the belt accurately to the surface. However, if you think your belt doesn’t improve even after adjustment, it is time to replace it.
Proper cleaning is another essential part of maintenance. You need to not only clean your equipment and its belt but also ensure that the carpet surrounding the machine is free from hair, debris, and dirt. This is because your motor attracts all the surrounding dirt, which will result in a static buildup.
Lubrication is perhaps the most important part of maintenance. An un-lubricated belt produces too much friction, and the motor needs to work twice as hard to offer you the same speed and efficiency. This is why you should always apply a lubricant between the belt and the surface underneath. Doing this once or twice a month would be enough.
Direct Power Source
This isn’t talked about frequently, but it is one of the most crucial things to look out for. For optimum performance, the treadmill needs to have a reliable and dedicated power source at all times. It should also come with a ground wire that can protect you and your equipment in emergency cases such as unexpected surges that could destroy the inner compartments.
A direct power source is also important because the treadmill offers higher output and needs to have a proper electrical outlet. The best-case scenario is getting a 20 amp outlet for your treadmill. Additionally, make sure that no other components of your house are on that line and that this line can support at least a 120-volt circuit with 15 amps.
Use an Anti-Static Spray
The air inside the rooms is often drier as compared to the air outside. This is why a treadmill placed indoors is more likely to shock you than a treadmill placed outside your house. This is because humidity levels inside are comparatively lower. A humidity level of 40 to 50 percent is recommended for a treadmill to not shock you.
So if you have a treadmill on a carpeted surface, you can use either an anti-static spray or a fabric softener to decrease its static energy. You can also put a humidifier in the same room to increase the humidity levels.
Once the levels of humidity increase, you will automatically feel a difference in the atmosphere. High levels of humidity during a workout also benefit your skin, hair, and health and can help decrease the chances of infection.
For the best results, you should apply the anti-static spray near and around the treadmill.
Getting shocked by a machine that you dearly love and have invested a great deal in can be quite surprising. But it’s actually pretty common. There aren’t many ways to reduce the treadmill’s ability to produce static energy; however, there are a couple of ways to reduce its effect and intensity.
If you are unsure of what works for you, try to use different combinations of solutions and see what helps reduce the static pull you feel when working out.