Accidents happen, and unfortunately often involve liquids and computers. Your best chances include shutting it down immediately and tenting it upside down. Read on for more suggestions, plus what to do with a wet phone.
If your computer does get wet you need to act quickly for the best chance of its survival. So even though your computer isn’t wet right now (right?), read this so you’re ready if disaster strikes:
- Unplug it. Electricity and liquid are not something you want to mess with, and having power course through your computer while liquids are there is a recipe for short circuits, which cause further damage.
- Do not remove the battery if it involves taking the case apart with a screwdriver. If the battery is intended to be removable by consumers it will be removable without taking the case off, but most computers these days have batteries integrated inside the case. Batteries are dangerous if handled incorrectly.
- Tent the computer upside-down. This will help the computer drain the water away from the electronic components, and allow air to circulate to dry.
- Don’t take the computer apart unless you are an experienced technician. You can cause more damage than you do good.
- Bring it in to us as soon as you can (still keeping it tented upside down if possible). We will be able to take it apart so that it dries more quickly. We will work with you to make a plan to try to recover your data if your computer does not survive. Our hours are M-F 8:30-4:30, except holidays.
- Do not turn on your computer until at least 48 hours have passed and the computer appears dry. The temptation is to test whether it still works, the iron is that if it is still working you can render it inoperable by turning it on too soon. Do not yield to this temptation.
If your phone gets wet:
- Turn it off immediately.
- Put it in a bin of rice to help draw out the moisture. We don’t generally recommend this for computers because they have vents where the rice could enter, but it’s great for phones.
- Wait 48 hours before trying the phone I know this is unfathomable, but a new phone is expensive so (at least for me) it’s worth the precaution.
Other things to know about electronics and liquids:
- Spill damage is not covered by standard or extended warranties, it is covered in special accidental damage warranties if it is offered at all. Apple does not have that sort of warranty
- Computer manufacturers may put spill detection points in the computer. These will change color if they come in contact with a liquid, and will likely void your warranty in case of a spill.
- No liquid is good for your computer, but water is better than anything else. Sugary drinks leave a sticky residue, acidic drinks will corrode the components more.
- Even if your computer is ok after it dries out, there may be follow-on damage from corrosion.
- It’s heartbreaking to lose a computer to water damage, but for most of us it’s truly a disaster to lose all of our data. We can often recover data from a liquid-damaged computer, but the safest bet is to regularly back up your data, just in case.