Water Damage to Electronics

Water Damage to Electronics

Water damage is one of the most vulnerable threats that offices face. Whether it be from a flood or an accident, the effects of water your business’ electronics can be devastating. What may be surprising is how water damages them. It is actually not the water itself that causes the problem, but ions in the water from sodium and chloride that produce the destructive effect. If the device is on when water strikes, the impact is almost always immediate as the ions form a circuit where there should not be one, leading to an overload. If the device is off, there is generally more time to try to save it.

It is critical that if there is a threat of flood and you cannot remove the equipment from your office, you power it down before the water strikes. Even if you do so, there may still be problems after the event. If so, other steps can be taken to alleviate the effects. The team at ServiceMaster Restore® is well-versed in dealing with water damage of all kinds, including the impact to electronics. We have compiled several tips for handling these types of situations with a focus on some of the different ways water can find its way to your equipment.

High Humidity

The famous cliché that “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” can apply to water damage. Often times it’s not the water itself, but the humidity that can cause the problem. Standard office technology such as printers, personal computers, phones, and fax machines are sensitive to moisture and damage can be done without coming into direct contact with water. In very humid conditions, such as those caused by a flood or after a sprinkler system has been set-off, dirt and dust that collect inside of electronics can become like a sludge. This sludge attaches itself to circuit boards and can lead to the same problems that water can cause. 

If you suspect water damage from high humidity, the electronics must be thoroughly cleaned. Trained professionals should be retained to restore the devices back to their normal condition.

Direct Contact Water Damage

Electronics do not need to be wholly submerged to be impacted by water or other liquids. Accidental spills and plumbing leaks are two of the common causes that cause water to come into direct contact with your delicate machinery. When this happens, you should try to remove the impacted items from the water source as quickly as possible. One thing to remember is that due to a battery, sometimes a current will continue to run through a device even if it is powered off. Usually unplugging the equipment (if it is safe to do so) can stop this reaction.

Once a device is entirely powered down, it can often be salvaged simply by drying the impacted components and removing all contaminants. This task can be difficult, though, as water often seeps into hard to reach places. Professional restoration providers have the skills and techniques to handle these situations. However, be aware of the fact that water damage to a device might cause it to be severely compromised. In these cases, even if the machine can be powered back up, it may not last for long, and you should recover any critical data immediately.

Submersion Water Damage

The worst-case scenario happens when a device is completely submerged in water. Floods are often a cause, though situations like a burst pipe not caught for several days can also lead to this problem. Sadly, electronics that have been underwater are usually not recoverable. Even if restoration is possible, it is often cost-prohibitive. While a trained professional can always take a look, be prepared that the device could be a total loss and you’ll need an insurance claim.

Whatever the cause of water damage to your electronics, always be aware that it is never safe to power impacted devices back on. Call in experts like ServiceMaster Restore® to assess the situation. Our water damage restoration services combine state-of-the-art tools and extensive experience to help get your business back on track.