Why Is My Treadmill Shocking Me?

Treadmills are powerful machines that can generate static electricity, causing some users to receive a shock. In excess amounts, static electricity can damage the treadmill's electronic components. There are simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of being shocked by your treadmill. If you are unable to troubleshoot the problem successfully, have the machine professionally serviced.

Treadmills can generate large amounts of static electricity. (Image: boggy22/iStock/Getty Images)

Environmental Causes

Static electricity can be generated by a number of environmental causes. Producing static electricity is common when using a treadmill due to the friction created by repetitive motion. A treadmill placed directly on non-treated carpet may be more susceptible to static electricity. Dry, dusty environments can magnify the presence and intensity of static electricity. Treadmills that are not cleaned regularly can suffer from a buildup of dirt, increasing your risk of being shocked.

Mechanical Causes

The treadmill motor can become clogged with dust and other debris, increasing the risk of static electricity. Increased friction from a worn-out belt can also generate static electricity. Inspect the power cord and plug for damage. Failing to plug your treadmill into a grounded outlet equipped with a surge protector can also increase your risk of being shocked.

Simple Ways to Reduce Static

In dry climates, place a humidifier in the treadmill room to help reduce static electricity. A humidity level of 40 to 50 percent is recommended. Place a rubber mat underneath your machine to reduce the amount of debris that can build up in the treadmill's motor. Use fabric softener or anti-static spray to protect a treadmill used on a carpeted surface. Wear clothing made of natural materials, like cotton, as synthetic materials, like polyester and nylon, are more prone to static cling. Choose shoes constructed of non-conductive materials and clean them before using your treadmill.

Treadmill Maintenance Tips

Keeping your treadmill clean and lubricated can also help reduce the risk of shocks from static electricity. If your owner's manual recommends doing so, clean the motor by unplugging the machine, removing the motor cover and carefully vacuuming debris. The treadmill belt should also be kept clean and lubricated according to the instructions provided by your treadmill's manufacturer. Replace the belt based upon the timeline outlined in your owner's manual. If limiting static electricity does not reduce the incidence of shocking, cease use of the machine and have your treadmill evaluated and serviced by an experienced professional.

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