Does water conduct electricity, but why? Is there a love triangle?

We come across the term liquid damage, each time we visit our mobile’s service center or similar other places. You are lucky enough, if you just come across the term, and do not suffer from the hassles caused by it. Most manufacturers refer to water as liquid, and thus, the term liquid damage. Even when we were young, parents taught us to keep water away from electronics. But is water really a big enemy for electronics! And if it is so, are there options to save our device, if water comes in contact with them. Well! The second one seems to be a difficult question, but you will not have to bid adieu to your costly toys if it suddenly comes into contact with water.

So here we will discuss some aspects related to water damage and electronics, the reason behind the damage, and some solutions, in case it gets damaged by water. The solutions might not work out every time, and it will depend upon the level of damage, the time of exposure to water, and numerous other small things. So the best way to keep your electronics safe from water is to simply keep them away from it, and avoid vulnerabilities, which can damage your electronics with water. So let’s explore how water damage electronics.

Does water conduct electricity

Is water a conductor or insulator of electricity?

Pure water is the good insulator, however, the distilled water is a good conductor of electricity because of ions. The ordinary distilled water in equilibrium with carbon dioxide of the air has a conductivity of about 10 x 10-6 W-1*m-1 (20 dS/m). As the electric current flow through the water because of ions, thus, when it transfers through the ordinary water which increases the icons corresponding ratio of conductivity. Let’s know a bit more about the water conductivity.

Does water cause the damage

We are simply asked to keep away the electronics away from water. But is it the water, which is actually the biggest enemy of electronics? Actually, no! Wait, don’t bath your dirty electronics with water right now. 100% pure water itself isn’t an enemy of electronics, nor they are friends. But there are other things in water, which are responsible for causing damage to the electronics.

Water in most cases is not 100% pure. It will always come with the smallest fraction of impurities, which is actually the cause behind damaging the electronics. In most cases, you will not get hands on pure water, and to do that, you will have to pay some extra pennies for some distilled water, which hardly contain any kind of impurities. Yes, ‘hardly’. The way distilled waters are manufactured might leave some fraction of impurities, which can even cause damage to electronics. But theoretically, distilled water is free from any kind of impurities.

Water relationship with electronics

Short-circuiting

One of the biggest reasons, why water cause damage to electronics, is short-circuiting. Puer Water is never a good conductor of electronics only the distilled water can conduct it. But when some impurities are added to it, it becomes a good conductor of electricity, and hence become the culprit. When the internal components come in contact with impure water, the water molecules break into ions, which eventually construct a bridge for the electricity to flow, and hence cause short-circuiting. The impure water form a direct connection between two ends of a circuit, which are not supposed to be directly connected, and hence a short-circuiting take place, which is capable enough to damage your costly toy beyond recovery.

But short-circuiting won’t take place unless the device is turned on, and electricity is flowing through within the gadget. That is the reason, why your pen drives and flash drives would perfectly work after being washed when you forget to take it out of the pocket before washing. Theoretically speaking, you can wash your devices when turned off, rinse it and get it back to work. But don’t try this at home, if you are not ready to lose your costly toy all of a sudden. I emphasized the term theoretically. Thus practical consequences can be a hell lot different.

Corrosion

Well, is it only short-circuiting which is responsible for causing water damage? Corrosion can also be equally responsible for it. Corrosion is caused by the chemical reaction between the metallic compounds, typically iron, and the minerals and impurities present in water. Corrosion is through a slow-paced process, and will likely not damage your device if your device comes in contact with water only once, and it is rinsed properly to put the water away. But wait, corrosion can be a silent killer for your electronics.

Corrosion: The silent killer of electronics

Thus, even if your electronics come in contact with water multiple times, and is rinsed properly, you are just removing the water, not the minerals associated with it. Thus, when the water is not properly rinsed, and the minerals are not properly removed, your electronic gadgets may stop functioning suddenly when corrosion eventually call it a day for your favorite electronics.

The humidity of air and electronics

Corrosion the silent killer of electronics being said, the humidity of the air can also cause damage to your electronics silently. The moisture-laden air can start condensation when your devices start getting cooled after being used for continuous hours making it hot. If the humidity in your area is really high, it can also short-circuit your electronics, when you try to switch it on continuously. But the chances of such kind of damage by humidity is pretty rare.

The humidity of the air mostly causes damage to laptops and computers or other similar gadgets. I haven’t seen humidity of air to damage small electronics like smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, or even LCD and LED televisions.

The possible solutions

If your electronic gadget is damaged by water, or you suspect a possible water damage, you can try out a few possible solutions. I will also leave some prevention techniques, which can act as a shield against a possible water or moisture damage.

Turn it off immediately

If your smartphone or and any other electronic gadget slips out of your hands accidentally, bring it up, and turn it off immediately. Remove the removable components from the gadget as early as possible, which include the SIM card, the SD card, battery (if possible) and keep it in a dry area.

If the device turns off automatically after coming in contact with water, don’t panic, and never try to switch it on immediately. Follow the above steps. Some devices might come with fail-safes, which might immediately turn off the device after coming in contact with water.

Unscrew it to remove the water

If you are a geek, who is well aware about how to unscrew smartphones or electronics, you can do that, wipe the water, let it dry, and you can get back your old electronics in its former glory. I will recommend you to clean it with some isopropyl alcohol for the best results. But don’t attempt it unless you are sure about what you are doing.

If the device didn’t turn on even after drying or cleaning the water, it is a judicious idea to take it to the nearest service center and get the repairs done.

Prevention

If you are a lucky fellow, who never faced the hassles of liquid or water damage, why not know some prevention techniques to keep your electronics healthy.

Protection from water

Well, the only way to protect your device from damage is to remain careful. Try your best to prevent exposing it to water if your electronic gadget is prone to water damage. If the weather is bad in your area, and you need to carry your smartphone or other electronic gadgets, better carry a small waterproof pouch to put the handset in, when it is raining.

Protection from moisture

There are cases when moisture can damage electronics. I am one of them, who have seen the desktop stop responding due to moisture. But even in that case, don’t panic. Moisture can damage electronics or can stop them from starting up. Such a condition especially happens during the monsoon. Being a little careful can easily save you from such a consequence.

Try keeping some silica gel without your desktop cabinet or within any other electronic gadget, which can easily absorb the moisture if it accumulates. Laptops are not very prone to moisture damage, but if you suspect any such thing, you can even keep silica gel on your laptop keyboard, close the lid, and keep it at a dry place. You can also keep silica gel at the place where you are keeping the laptop when not in use.

In case your device is not responding, and you suspect, the damage is caused by moisture, try keeping it under air conditioning, as air conditioning can remove the moisture present in a room, and sometimes it can be effective enough for different electronic gadgets. I used this trick, and my computer started functioning properly after a few minutes of air conditioning. Most air conditioners can come with moisture control modes or monsoon modes to eradicate unwanted moisture in a room.

The final tip. If you can unscrew the devices, just unscrew them, use some cloth to remove the moisture, and try switching it on. It should work. Else the last option is to take it to the nearest service center, or to the technician.

Water thus is not always an enemy for electronics. The problems are caused by the impurities, which are present in water. So always be careful to keep water away from electronics. That is the simplest tip, my parents gave me. Trust me, that will be useful.

Hope the small information was helpful for you. Do you still have questions in your mind? Feel free to comment it down below.

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