How to Clean Smoke Damaged Electronics - There Is A Way To Salvage Them?
If you’ve experienced a fire in your home or office, you are most likely wondering if there is a way to clean smoke damaged electronics and appliances so they can still be usable. In this article, our fire damage restoration experts will lay down some tips on how to restore your smoke damaged electronics.
The aftermath of a fire can be as damaging as the fire itself. Smoke produced by the fire, soot and other byproducts can continue to cause harm to your property and any contents within, long after fire out has been declared.
When not immediately addressed, damage caused by these becomes permanent.
Among the items that can greatly be affected by smoke are electronics and appliances. While some of these may not survive after a fire or smoke damage, there is still hope for those that are salvageable.
Below is our guide about smoke damaged electronics and appliances and steps to take to salvage them.
The Damage Caused By Smoke
Both fire and smoke wreak havoc on electronics. Fire can cause heat damage. Plastic and metal can release chemicals and can cause toxic fumes to be released into the air.
Smoke is equally damaging and can cause harm to electronics or appliances through:
Corrosion. Soot left behind by smoke on the inside and outside of electronics is highly acidic. This causes corrosion and early degradation of electronics that shortens their lifespan.
Insulation. Smoke that seeps into your electronics also leaves a black film on their interior components. This creates an insulating effect that makes your electronics prone to overheating. Often, this leads to shortened lifespan and premature failure.
Magnetization. This may come as a surprise to many people but did you know that smoke has a magnetic charge? Even light smoke damage can cause electronics to short circuit by bridging circuits, causing permanent damage.
This also makes them another potential cause of fire. Having just come from a fire, you wouldn’t want to find yourself in another one, for sure.
What Can You Do If You Have Smoke Damaged Electronics and Appliances?
Electronics are expensive investments. However, beyond their dollar worth, they are valuable to us because they have become a vital part of our daily lives. For electronics used in business, damage can also affect our workflow and efficiency.
Here are the steps you can take to clean smoke damaged electronics and appliances
How to Clean Smoke Damaged Electronics and Appliances
Tip #1 - Remove Storage/Memory and Disconnect From Their Power Source
While your laptop/computer may be valuable, the most crucial part of this is its storage or memory. If possible, remove the hard drive and transfer vital data onto another computer.
It’s also important to unplug smoke damaged electronics from the power source.
Most electronics have a small amount of power to maintain internal memory or allow systems to work even while they are inactive. To avoid further damage, they need to be unplugged because their electricals may have sustained damage during the fire.
The same applies for appliances. It’s important to ensure that they are unplugged to ensure that they do not short circuit which can lead to permanent damage.
Tip #2 - Leave Electronics OFF After the Disaster
When it comes to salvaging electronics and appliances, patience is definitely a virtue. Attempting to turn your units on immediately after a fire can cause them to short out if there’s still water present or if they are heavily covered in soot.
To give them a better chance of being repaired, they need to be allowed to dry out completely.
We recommend thoroughly drying electronic items in the open air. Or you can use a dehumidifier in the room to remove moisture from the air. This allows electronics to dry out faster and increases the possibility of a rescue, before permanent damage sets in.
Smoke damage also leaves an oily residue that can likewise cause electrical shorts. In a case like this, it is best to leave it to the professionals to clean smoke damaged electronics.
Tip #3 - Look For the Warranties
It’s best to have warranties for all electronics and appliances filed and easily accessible anytime. If electronics or appliances cannot be salvaged anymore, this makes it easy to check if they are covered by a warranty in the event of a fire or any disaster.
It sometimes comes as a surprise to people that damage related to fire and water is generally covered by warranty, especially appliances, so long as it remains current.
Tip #4 - Leave It To The Professionals
Once you’ve performed the initial steps of unplugging your electronics or appliances and leaving them completely OFF to allow them to dry out, you can wipe exterior surfaces with a soft rag to remove any soot that has accumulated.
The following steps are recommended for those who know their way around electronics. Otherwise, DO NOT ATTEMPT these steps:
You will need a screwdriver to remove the outer casing. Once you’ve removed this, you can assess how dirty or damaged the equipment is.
If you see signs of soot, use short bursts of compressed air on the affected areas. If there is no serious damage, doing this should be enough to clean your electronics.
Wipe down vent holes, as well as, other areas with no electronic parts with a damp cloth. This should remove traces of smoke that can cause corrosion.
If upon closer inspection, you see visual signs of corrosion or damage, it’s best to have the device professionally checked.
From this point onwards, we recommend turning over the process to the professionals.
Again, we have to reiterate this - unless you have the knowledge and training in cleaning smoke damaged electronics (or appliances), you will have better success in restoring your electronics or appliances by calling a restoration expert to help you.
Attempting a DIY for your valuable electronics and appliances can easily turn into a disastrous, not to mention, expensive mistake.
What are the advantages of engaging the services of a restoration company?
✓ We have the know-how on electronics and appliances configuration. We know how to properly dismantle or open the unit, and do an inspection of the internal components.
✓ We can easily identify what has been affected by soot or corrosion including circuit boards and other components.
✓ If the unit needs cleaning, We know the procedure to perform a cleanup safely to have it operational again.
✓ For severely damaged units, a professional restorer can identify any damaged parts, and then source and purchase necessary replacements. This can potentially save money because you don’t need to find a full replacement.
✓ If any items are considered unsafe for use, a professional assessment can be used as a support document when you include them on your insurance claim to get a replacement.
✓ After a professional restoration, your restored items are fully tested to ensure that they are working properly and are safe to operate prior to being turned over to you.
After a fire disaster, we’re sure you will appreciate the peace of mind this offers - knowing that your electronics or appliances are safe to use and can be operated to their full capacity again.
Before turning over all your electronic equipment to your electronics restoration provider, be sure to have a complete inventory including all peripherals. Be sure to include all that you don’t plan on discarding.
While you may think that going to a professional electronics restoration specialist is expensive, you’ll find that you are really paying for their knowledge and expertise. In the long run, you’ll find that it’s cheaper than having to replace every piece of damaged electronic equipment.
Taking your electronics to a professional will ensure that the damage is addressed right away. This will limit the chance of ending up with a unit rendered useless by smoke damage.
The Importance of Calling the Professionals for Smoke Damage
Smoke damage repair does not only apply for your electronics and appliances. It’s a crucial step in cleaning up after a fire. It makes the repair more expensive the longer you wait. It also exposes you and your family to the hazards that smoke and soot can bring.
As mentioned earlier, soot left behind by smoke can be corrosive. It can penetrate through all kinds of surfaces - hard or soft. They can get behind walls, into plumbing systems and in wooden surfaces.
In fact, it can cause pits on glass and crystal if soot is allowed to settle on them for longer than a few days.
Even if fire occurs in just one part of your home, smoke can migrate to other areas and cause damage. Soot can get inside your home’s ventilation system, burrow into carpet fibers and coat personal items, and subsequently cause irreparable damage.
Smoke is not only noxious and dangerous for your health, the smell it leaves behind can be so overpowering as to make your home uninhabitable. And the longer you wait, the harder it is to remove odors.
Calling in restoration experts to address smoke damage in your home will prevent further damage. As professionals, we are able to assess the areas affected and the extent of damage.
From this initial inspection, we are able to determine what plan of action we need to use to achieve results. In the case of electronics and appliances, these are taken from the premises and taken to a clean and safe environment for proper assessment of damage.
Restoration professionals have the right tools and equipment to get the job done. We use different products depending on what type of residue was left behind by the fire and smoke.
Need Extra Help to Clean Smoke Damaged Electronics? Five Star Restoration Are Experts
If you have experienced a fire in your home or in your business place, smoke damage can add to your woes. Acting fast can prevent smoke and soot from causing permanent damage to your home and the contents within, including electronics and appliances.
Five Star Restoration is a top rated restoration company experienced in water and fire damage restoration.
We ensure damage to your home is made manageable with our expert response team who will quickly assess what needs to be done to get your home and your life back to normal.
Get peace of mind and call us at 951-368-2227.
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