Dealing With Static Electricity Build-up In Your Treadmill Desk
Remember that Van de Graaff generator in science class? Well, your treadmill is a giant version of it. Any time you have a rubber belt rubbing across a laminated deck you’re going to build up enough static electricity to make a long-haired cat double in apparent size. There are no known ill effects to your physical health from static electricity to worry about but your computer equipment can be in serious jeopardy if you don’t take some precautionary measures. Skip this step and you may unwittingly fry your computer just by touching the keyboard with your fingertip.
Needless to say if your treadmill has a three-pronged plug don’t put a converter on it and plug it into an ungrounded outlet. That said, not all treadmills even have a grounding prong on their power plugs. They probably didn’t anticipate users wanting to work on computers while walking on their treadmills, so it’s not all that shocking (excuse the pun). Another important piece of electrical preparation is to make sure that electrical components plugged into the same circuit as a treadmill are placed on an “isolated” circuit – which is to say, on a separate circuit breaker.
Some floor surfaces, like carpet, are going to be more problematic than others-concrete, stone or wood. A great solution regardless of floor type is to install an anti-static rubber mat under your treadmill. Such a mat will also protect your floor from scratches and dents from the treadmill’s feet. You may need to trim it a little to match the footprint of your treadmill and not to interfere with the legs of your desk. Or, go with an ideally-sized mat like the iMovR RightSize Under-Treadmill Mat and save the hassle of trimming your mat by hand.
Another very easy way to break the circuit between your static-conducting body and your computer is to use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. At the very least if your computer is a laptop model it would be wise to use an external keyboard and avoid typing directly on the computer while standing on the treadmill. Certain models of laptops, such as the HP ProBook, have power switches that are touch-sensitive. These are notorious for shutting down the moment you touch the keyboard when you’re walking on the treadmill. This problem is easily resolved by using a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.