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Every time someone touches any of my light switches they get a static shock. I know the root cause is the humidity is too low, but until I fix that, I heard that nylon cover plate screws (vs the usual metal ones painted white) would help this problem (I guess the theory is that the screw is touching the box which is what the person is "discharging" through). So I was going to pick up some of these to test it out, but I couldn't find them in hardware stores or on Amazon. There must be a reason these are so hard to find - is there a reason not to use these? Or can anyone recommend where I can buy them?

  • I read it that way, too. I want to see a video of that trick! It has to make someone go completely neurotic! – fred_dot_u Mar 11 at 0:27
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A new trend is switch plates which snap on, and do not use cover plate screws at all. That is worth looking into.

Of course, none of that will solve the underlying static problem; you'll just get nailed instead by the next metal thing you touch. I would want a metal cover plate isolated by a 1 megaohm resistor to safety ground, because that would actually dissipate the charge.

And of course, make sure your safety ground and grounding electrode are tip-top to be sure you aren't actually getting bit by mains current. That is somewhat different in sensation, and also does not disappear in high humidity.

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Shopping is off-topic, but...

Kyle Switch Plates

Easy to find if you use "plastic" instead of "nylon" in your Googleing: plastic switch plate screws

  • I did find a few here and there on very specialized websites, I guess I was more wondering why these are not a standard thing that you just get at a big box store near the light switches? Like do people not use these for some reason? And I guess I'm also wondering if anyone can confirm that they actually "fix" this problem? – David Doria Mar 11 at 0:48
  • People who have this problem a lot will often go with more comprehensive solutions - e.g., humidifier installed as part of the furnace. – manassehkatz-Reinstate Monica Mar 11 at 1:04
  • Also keep in mind that light switches are not the only grounded item in most homes. Exposed metal on appliances, light fixtures, faucets (almost by definition since the copper pipes have (historically) been part of the grounding system, though not so much now because of plastic in so many places), etc. So nothing wrong with plastic screws for the switch plates, but that isn't going to totally eliminate the problem. – manassehkatz-Reinstate Monica Mar 11 at 1:52

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