You can stop treadmill static from zapping your workout with these 5 simple tips.
Static electricity buildup can be annoying for any treadmill or elliptical owner. Fortunately, there are preventative measures you can take to reduce the unwanted zap when your skin makes contact with the frame.
Here are our five tips on how to reduce elliptical and treadmill shock for a more enjoyable fitness routine. You can also apply these tips to other home fitness equipment to reduce the risk of static charge.
HOW TO STOP STATIC ELECTRICITY ON TREADMILLS
1-Put a mat under your treadmill
A treadmill mat made from thick and durable PVC, rubber, or foam helps to eliminate a lot of treadmill static, and it acts as a useful measure for reducing equipment vibrations. A bonus for placing a mat under your treadmill is that it helps to keep your motor compartment free of dust and debris.
Static charge acts like a vacuum, attracting carpet fibers, pet hair, dirt, and dust particles that make their way into the belt and motor compartments. Once the underside of your treadmill or elliptical clogs up with dust and debris, the lower electronics board and gears can seize up and damage the equipment.
Cement and hardwood flooring are low-static flooring options, while polymer flooring and carpeting are high-static flooring options. Regardless of the type of flooring, the heat and vibrations the equipment produces can generate unwanted static electricity.
We recommend that you look for a mat at least 4 mm (almost 3/16 inches) thick, with 6 mm (1/4 inches) being the optimal thickness. You should also look for a mat that fits your fitness equipment. All four corners of your treadmill or elliptical machine should fit snugly on the mat without excess material beyond the frame.
2-Wear the right clothing for exercise
It's a sad but true fact that your clothing can cause a significant static buildup. You might have killer workout clothing that you love wearing for strength training or cardio routines. When you hop on a treadmill or elliptical, though, you might not be as confident. Static shocks are unpleasant reactions that can put a damper on your workout.
Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon build up a significantly higher static charge, and they love to transfer that charge to anything nearby. The result? A powerful zap as you’re trying to work up a sweat.
Whenever possible, try to wear natural fabrics like cotton or bamboo while using your treadmill or elliptical. You will find that it helps with static shock and is more breathable and comfortable during your workout. For tips on choosing the perfect workout clothes, we recommend reading How to Choose the Right Workout Clothes.
Along with low-static clothing, you should consider your footwear. Rubber soles on shoes can sometimes generate static charges, creating a buildup of electricity as you run on a treadmill. Your best bet is to test out different shoes and see which ones don’t build up as much static. Alternately, you may find static dissipating shoes that have enough shock absorption, cushioning, and support for indoor exercise.
3-Compensate for dry air
Many people buy a treadmill or elliptical machine for the home because they can’t run, jog, or walk outside during winter. Air is much drier in the winter, and humidity is lower, especially indoors. This means you are more likely to receive a shock from treadmill or elliptical static electricity when there is little moisture in the air.
Put a humidifier in the same room as the treadmill or elliptical machine, and set the relative humidity level to about 40 to 50 percent. Once the relative humidity levels rise, you will notice a reduction in static charge transferring between you and the equipment.
Humidity levels between 40 to 60 percent are also better for your skin, hair, and health and can help you reduce the risks of infection. By slightly raising the humidity levels in your home gym, you can help your health while reducing static. If you want to be precise, consider buying a hygrometer for accurate readings.
4-Perform routine maintenance
Your treadmill or elliptical has moving parts that can wear out over time. Since any type of fitness equipment requires regular maintenance, you want to check your owner’s manual and follow the instructions for lubrication, belt adjustment, and cleaning.
Depending on the model, you may be able to remove the cover to vacuum up any debris. You should also inspect the treadmill belt and look for wear and tear. Your treadmill belt will begin to wear out the more you use it, which means you may need to order replacement parts. The owner’s manual will tell you when it’s time to replace the belt for optimal performance.
We want you to get many happy years out of your fitness equipment, and that starts with proper cleaning. Remember to wipe down all surfaces because dust and sweat can accumulate as you work out. Whether you're using a treadmill, elliptical, or other home fitness equipment, make sure you give it some love and attention. It helps you achieve your fitness goals. In return, help your equipment stay clean and optimized for performance.
5-Keep the power source direct
For the best performance and safety settings, and to avoid electric shocks, you want to make sure the treadmill or elliptical machine is on a dedicated power source with a ground wire. What this means is that you should plug the equipment directly into the wall outlet.
The electrical outlet leads directly back to the circuit breaker, giving your fitness equipment a strong electric current. A grounded outlet helps to protect the machine from unexpected electrical surges that could damage the inner compartments. Make sure no other electronic devices are on that line, and check that the outlet can support a 120-volt circuit with 15 amps. Getting a 20-amp outlet is optimal for large fitness equipment like treadmills and ellipticals.
Other Notes About Power
What you don’t want to do, is use extension cords, surge protectors, power strips or ground adapters.
Your treadmill has a motor controller that sends a series of high and low pulses to increase and decrease the motor voltage. This variability is not merely for speed changes. When you stand on the treadmill, you apply resistance to the motor that turns the belt. The motor controller compensates for this resistance by increasing the voltage when you plant your foot. This is what gives you a smooth follow-through as you plant and push off. Power conditioners and surge protectors can interfere with the efficiency of this design.
Note that if you have arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI), your treadmill or elliptical will not function properly. Since the motor controller sends a series of ON/OFF pulses, an AFCI breaker will think that it detects an electric arc, and it will break the circuit. If you have AFCI breakers in your home, consult with an electrician before installing your treadmill or elliptical machine.
If you must use an extension cord, we recommend that you go to a hardware store and purchase an extension cord that is rated and approved for appliances. Make sure you use the shortest cord you can.
We hope that you monitor your heart rate while you exercise. The great news is that this is easy to do while exercising on a treadmill or elliptical since most products come with built-in heart rate features.
What’s important to note is that the FCC regulates these features to not interfere with any other electronic signal. This means you want to place the treadmill or elliptical at least six feet from anything that gives off an electronic signal. In other words, anything and everything could interfere with telemetry heart rate signals, even a lamp!
LAST BUT NOT LEAST . . .
Here are a few extra tips for maintaining your equipment to avoid treadmill or elliptical shock:
- Never use cleaners with ammonia, alcohol, or bleach. Instead, use something designed for fitness equipment. Also, never spray a cleaner directly on the treadmill, you should spray the cleaner on a washcloth first.
- Rust is NEVER covered under warranty, so keep your machine clean, and wipe off your sweat after every workout.
- Consider purchasing an extended labor warranty on the treadmill, if available. For detailed information about warranties, contact your local G&G Fitness Equipment Showroom or G&G's Service Department.
- Read your manual and follow the instructions on how to lubricate the equipment and adjust the belt when needed. Call the G&G Fitness Service Department for preventative maintenance services.
Homemade Solutions to Treadmill Static
If you want to try a homemade solution for elliptical or treadmill static electricity, here are a few to consider.
- Fabric softener: Some clients tell us that wiping the treadmill belt with fabric softener reduces static as they run on their treadmills.
- Anti-static spray: We've heard that spraying anti-static spray on the area surrounding the treadmill or elliptical may help to stop static.
- Ventilation: We also recommend increasing airflow in the area to ensure no dust, mold, or other contaminants can clog up your machine.