Water damage is one of the biggest problems that cause electronic items to need replacement. However, the surprising truth is that much of the damage that can occur to electronic items from water is not actually from the water itself. When water damage occurs, if prompt steps are taken to remove the water, many electronic items can be restored.
Water damage can occur in electronics for a variety of reasons. The two most common causes are flooding and spillage. Water spilled onto electronics usually occurs out of carelessness. A child can trip and spill water onto any electronic item. Drinks can be tipped over onto computers and other electronics. Smaller electronic items such as phones and MP3 players are often washed in washing machines. When flooding occurs, electronics are often one of the first items ruined by the water.
When water gets into electronic items several things can occur. Pure water actually is not harmful to electronic items itself. It is the other ingredients present in water that cause the most damage. Mineral deposits in water can quickly short circuit any electrical item. The moisture from the water will prevent heat from leaving the circuit, which causes too much heat to build up in the part, causing a short circuit. All of the grooves and crevices present in electronic components are the perfect breeding ground for mold. If equipment is not dried out right away, mold will easily grow inside the part. Acid and other materials in water can cause a reaction with the materials present on the electronic elements. This reaction will often cause the delicate electronic pieces to corrode.
There is very little that can be done to prevent flooding from occurring. You can store electronic items well off the floor (at least 5 feet), but this will not always stop damage from flooding. Water vapors are often enough to cause damage to electronics. You can, however, prevent damage to electronics through other means. Do not eat or drink around any electronic items. Store electronics in rooms away from water sources. Always check clothing pockets before throwing clothes into the washer.
Time is crucial for restoration of water-damaged electronics. Corrosion and other damages can set in within just a few hours. If possible, unplug equipment as soon as it becomes wet. If the item is battery-operated, remove the batteries. Most water restoration should be done within the first day or two. If that is impossible, then many of the components of the electronic item will become damaged and need replacement.
The restoration process is simple. The items are opened up and spread apart. The items are dried with fans or heaters. Silica dehydrating beads and dry rice can also be placed over the items for faster water absorption. Any damaged parts are replaced.
- Photo Credit electronics image by Stanisa Martinovic from Fotolia.com
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