Earthing, or grounding, is good for us, whether we walk around the house barefoot or with natural socks, or maybe some earthing slippers. In theory we’re earthing, we would assume that we’re getting the benefits of earthing from the comfort of our home!
Not quite, you need to be more than just barefoot or wearing conductive shoes to be reaping the benefits of earthing or grounding. If the soles of your shoes/feet are conductive all depends on the type of ground you would be walking on as materials vary on their ability to let energy through (conductivity).
So why aren’t my floors grounded?
As just mentioned not all materials are conductive and because of this most people can't earth at home. Metal and water for example are highly conductive hence the use of copper and the likes in cables, and we’re well aware that dropping your hairdryer into the bathtub spells disaster, if we sit in it of course.
Concrete is only relatively conductive
Now, most of our home flooring would not be made of water, nor metal, but rather concrete in its first instance, which is only relatively conductive. So this could be issue number one in terms of how much you could ground yourself.
Most homes have wood or carpet flooring
As a side note, concrete when moist is a much better conductor hence walking outside on concrete often gets one earthed quite nicely. Back to our homes. Of course concrete flooring is never left bare. We cover them with carpets, wooden parquet, or stone/ceramic tiling.
Wood and carpets would compound the issue of not being able to ground in your home. Stone or ceramic tiles would help you to earth.
So, how do we keep our carpets and wood and also ground at home? Consider investing in conductive flooring!
Conductive earthing flooring options
ESD flooring is static conductive flooring. This basically translates into taking a carpet, or vinyl tile, and threading it with carbon, graphite or metallic yarn fibres.
Carbonised wood flooring
Wood could also be carbonised, or laced with conductive polymers, or nickel plated.
Earthing floors need access to a grounded electricity outlet
These types of flooring are not commonly used in a home but rather offices where a lot of us walk about creating electrical charges, which could affect electronics, such as computers.
Either earthing flooring solution would require conductive adhesive to be used when putting down the flooring, as well as tape, or strips containing copper which have a connection to the ground. Then these would lead to a grounded electricity outlet.
Stone or ceramic tile flooring
Stone is a popular flooring option, more so for gardens than home interiors. If you are lucky enough to have a home with stone floors you can pat yourself on the back for that decision! Your home is grounded.
Earthing on roads
Roads are traditionally made of asphalt, which is non-conductive or insulating in nature. Over recent years it has been proposed to make conductive asphalt mixtures using carbon fibre and graphite. Why? Because it would allow for safer driving as conductivity would allow energy and heat to pass enabling easy defrosting of roads.
How do we know what kind of road we may be walking, or running on? We can’t really unless we measure with a multimeter our own charge, or get in touch with the construction manager. You’ll have to test your roads to find out if they are at all conductive. :)
Earthing on pavement
Side pavements in the city generally consist of a mix of concrete or bricks. So, depending on which type of pavement one encounters, they may be conductive and hence earthing would be effective to varying degrees (dependent on the level of conductivity).
Earthing on concrete
As long as carbon fibres have been added to the concrete mixture, it can conduct very nicely. Usually concrete is made of cement, air, water, sand, and gravel. Cement on its own is conductive, gravels are stone, which are also conductive, so is water.
So even without the added carbon fibre, concrete, as mentioned above, is still relatively conductive. To what extent really depends on the concrete mixture used. For example, the advice not to lean against a concrete wall during a thunderstorm is quite telling.
Earthing on paving bricks or stone tiles
Bricks are made of rocks and therefore are generally conductive to different degrees. Some are made of clay, sandstone, limestone the list goes on. Natural rocks, or stones, often have some metal minerals and water in them, which make them more conductive than processed ones. The attractive red bricks we often find are naturally laced with conductive hematite for example.
An interesting side note about the typical red masonry brick. It could be used to store electricity.
Earthing on carpets
As mentioned before carpets are synthetic and are insulating so the opposite of conductive. There is no way to ground on carpets unless one changes the carpets into conductively made ones. Sorry about that!
Earthing on wood
Wood is equally insulating. In the home this is unlikely to happen, however, if one happens to have a wooden decking in the garden and it got wet raining, some conductivity would be achieved.