Static electricity is a common occurrence during the winter months when the air is dry. Other culprits include lack of moisture in the surrounding environment, type of shoes worn, and the actual construction of your carpet. However, humidity, or lack of it, is the most important element contributing to static electricity.
Adding moisture or humidity to the air in your home will significantly decrease static issues. There are several methods to increase moisture. You may recall your parents placing pots and pans filled with water on the stove to add humidity (particularly in northeastern states and other areas of the country where winters are especially harsh).
Today, a humidifier based on this early method, is still a popular option. Humidifiers can stand alone or be added to your furnace enabling your heating system to distribute moisture evenly through the air. This moisture is absorbed through your carpet fibers effectively dissipating electrical charge and preventing shock.
Other simple methods include throwing fabric softener sheets in with your laundry. These sheets are designed to reduce static cling in your clothing and will keep static at bay as you walk across your carpet. As an added benefit, you can rub these sheets on the clothing you are wearing for a freshly laundered scent!
Along these lines, hairspray on worn apparel can decrease static cling. Additionally, you can run a wire hanger over your clothing; use lotion after bathing; and avoid wool. Wool tends to generate friction which produces static.
Another option is to spray an anti-static agent directly onto your carpeting. Keep in mind this is a limited fix at best. As you walk across your carpet, the solution will inevitably wear off and eventually disappear. Another downside is that many of these sprays tend to be somewhat sticky resulting in dirt adhering to your carpet. Your local carpet retailer can recommend an anti-static spray which will alleviate this issue.
If you plan to purchase and install carpeting in the future, your carpet store can also advise on certain types of carpet, cushion, and other factors which will reduce the presence of static electricity in your home.