Why don’t electronics and water just get along? There’s nothing worse than when water hits your laptop, soaking into the keyboard and further into the circuit board, where it will either quickly or slowly destroy it. There’s a lot to lose. Of course the financial investment you’ve put up to get your laptop is at stake, the price of your data that is on your device, and the time it took you to purchase and set up your laptop perfectly meant a lot to you.
All of this time, money and effort can go to waste with just one splash or spill. But why?
After all, your laptop isn’t a piece of paper that just dissolves after a glass of water spills on it right? Laptops are sturdy these days, built to last…right?
Although portable computers have come a long way, laptops are still powered by electrical currents flowing through circuits. Circuits are in charge of directing the electricity to the correct system components so your laptop can get its important work done.
Circuits are made of metal because this material conducts electricity well. And let’s just say, water and metal don’t make good friends. Water and electricity can be just as catastrophic depending on how ionized water is.
We’re going to explain why water is so bad for your laptop. After it has come into contact with water, a few things might happen to the circuitry inside your notebook, wreaking serious havok, which will result in you going to nearest laptop repair shop.
When water hits a laptop’s circuits, the exposure to liquid might cause a short circuit. When there is a short, electrical currents are diverted to components they ordinarily wouldn’t come into contact with.
When a higher-current circuit is sent through a circuit not designed for high currents, this is called burnout and it can cause your laptop’s circuit components to overheat and melt.
When current from a circuit is simply sent to a different location that can handle the load, this is called grounding.
Burnout is obviously more of a headache than grounding. If you are unfortunate, your laptop will immediately stop working after water exposure due to a short circuit.
It’s Not Technically the Water Though
Note that it’s not technically the water that sends electricity to go to places it wasn’t meant to go to, but it is the small ions dissolved in water.
If your laptop was hit with distilled water, chances are it might work after it dried out properly. But how often is your laptop around distilled water? You’re more likely to have your laptop around saltwater where it could be splashed. The salt ions would send electricity charging everywhere, leaving it inoperable.
Tap water will probably come into contact with your laptop too. As it works its way through the water pipe and into your glass, it mixes with polarized minerals that make water conduct electricity.
Even if your laptop has suffered from a dunk or swim, has avoided a short circuit and still works, you’re not out of the woods just yet. Your laptop might be corroding as you read this. On your laptop!
Corrosion happens when metal circuits come into contact with another substance and a chemical reaction occurs. Think about what the rain outside is doing to your car right now – it’s rusting, a result of oxygen and water combining.
Just like rust is eating away at your car, corrosion might be eating away at your laptop if it has fallen victim to a water spill.
So, if for any reason, you have spilled water on your laptop and it works, thank your lucky stars. You still have your data. But don’t count on it for too long. You should backup your laptop as soon as you can (like, right after you read this!) and store the data somewhere safe.
It might be just a matter of time until the slow grip of corrosive death touches your laptop’s circuit board.
If you are one of the lucky ones reading this article out of prevention or interest, remember that it is in fact, a lot easier to prevent water damage than to deal with it. Never bring your laptop outside, or eat or drink near your notebook, if you would like to use it in the near future.