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How Smoke Damages Electronics

To smoke a faulty personal computer with the side cover removed.

Phones, computers, TVs, manufacturing equipment, and other electronics are a vital part of modern-day life. They accomplish everything from information storage and entertainment, to communication and critical business operations. Unfortunately, all of this can be lost in an instant if your electronics are damaged in a fire. Even if they escape the flames, smoke and soot can sometimes cause irreparable harm. Find out why smoke damage is so harmful to electronics and when repairs may be possible.

The Hazards of Smoke and Soot Damage

Electronics have sensitive circuitry, making them vulnerable to airborne smoke and soot particles. This means even a kitchen fire that fills the house with smoke could damage electronics in the living room. Here’s what happens when smoke and soot infiltrate the inner workings of an electronic device:

  • The effects of smoke damage: Smoke coats the circuitry with an insulating, magnetically charged film. This causes the heat-producing elements to short-circuit and overheat, leading to equipment failure.
  • The effects of soot damage: Soot is acidic. It moves through the air with smoke, making contact with everything it touches. When soot builds up in an electronic device, it corrodes and discolors metal surfaces, possibly affecting the circuitry’s performance.

How to Handle Fire-Damaged Electronics

Following a fire, your damaged electronics become a safety hazard. They could be covered with magnetically charged smoke, acidic soot, and water or chemicals from extinguishing the fire. To avoid sparks, electrocution, or immediate device failure, follow these tips:

  • Wipe visible residue with a soft, dry cloth. Doing this immediately improves the chance of saving your electronics.
  • Unplug and remove any possibly affected devices from your property, even if they look unharmed.
  • Do not turn on your devices until you have consulted with a disaster restoration company.
  • Review your warranty records and insurance coverage. You may be entitled to compensation for restoration or replacement costs.

Repairing Electronics with Smoke and Fire Damage

Sometimes, the damage is too severe to recover your electronics. If you see a heavy coating of soot, burn marks, or melted areas, the device is probably beyond repair and should be safely discarded. However, careful restoration efforts may be enough to save some electronics from smoke and fire damage. This process is worth pursuing because restoration is often a fraction of the replacement cost.

Professional fire damage restoration services can remove the following from damaged electronics:

  • Smoke deposits
  • Acidic residue
  • Dust
  • Water damage
  • Residue from fire extinguishing equipment
  • Environmental and operational pollutants

If your home or business has been damaged in a fire, call DKI for help setting things right. We’ll handle every aspect of the disaster restoration process, from structural cleaning and repair to smoke and soot removal to personal property restoration. Drawing on years of experience and utilizing cutting-edge equipment and techniques allows us to deliver fast, reliable results. To request emergency restoration services near you, please call DKI at 877-533-0210 or contact us online today.