Drying out a wet PC

September 5th, 2005

I'm noticing a number of referrers on my logs from people looking for information on fixing/drying out a [tag]wet PC[/tag] (I think that I'm getting hit because I made a post a while back of drying out a wet devices - I don't know if these are as a result of [tag]Hurricane Katrina[/tag] or not because I've not looked at my logs too closely yet).

Anyway, just in case it might be of any use to anyone out there here are my tips for drying out a wet PC (something I've had experience in myself!).

  • Data is the most important part of the PC. Do you have a backup or is the data on the hard drives important. You might feel like just removing the hard drive from the submerged PC and drying this out and trying it in a different PC.
  • Most of a PC is pretty waterproof. Hard drives (most of them at least), CPU and circuitry are all pretty much unaffected by water because they are sealed well. Fans, speakers and such are more delicate and might not be salvageable.
  • The biggest danger is not from the water but from short circuits as a result of the water.
  • If your PC was off and disconnected from the mains power before it got wet you have a better chance that it will work once you dry it out.
  • Consider the monitor a dead loss - wet CRT monitors are highly dangerous of plug back into the power supply and you might have explosions or electrocutions to add to your problems.
  • Another danger source is the PSU - drying out a PSU takes a long time - if at all possible it's best to find a dry PSU somewhere.
  • First thing to do is to take the PC apart - undo the PC, undo the wiring, pull out all the components and then the motherboard. Remove the CPU from the socket along with the RAM and expansion cards.
  • Before drying out you need to clean out all the gunk from the PC - this means making it wetter! Clean out all the curd with clean (if possible distilled) water. This will remove all the contaminants that might cause you short-circuits in the short term or corrosion in the longer term.
  • After cleaning comes the drying. This is a long process and you should avoid the urge to apply too much heat - better than applied heat is having plenty of air circulating to carry away the moisture. The PSU can be particularly difficult to dry out. A cool hairdryer will help the process (don't put this too high!). Some people have had success using an oven set to 250 deg F to drive out water.
  • If you have access to a lot of clean ethyl alcohol then use this liberally to clean the PC and remove residual water. AVOID water displacers like WD-40 which can leave a nasty residue once the solvent has evaporated.
  • The battery providing power to the CMOS will probably be history so you will need to enter the BIOS settings manually and also replace the battery (or keep on doing this each time you restart).
  • Only when things are completely dry should you attempt to rebuild the PC.
  • It's a good idea to begin with the PC in a basic configuration - motherboard, PSU, hard drive, RAM, video adaptor - and see if you get life-signs.
  • When switching the PC back on take special precautions against electrocutions (dry area, rubber soled shoes, rubber gloves if possible ...)

Remember - Your safety is paramount! If you don't know what you are doing or feel uncomfortable doing this then don't! A PC or your data is not worth a life!

I hope someone out there finds this useful.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 5th, 2005 at 11:46 and is filed under PC Doctor Tips, Stay Safe!. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Drying out a wet PC”

  1. Drying out a wet PC « Desolate Says:

    [...] November 20, 2007 at 7:53 pm · Filed under Rants, Tech and tagged: drying wet pc, saving wet pc, Tech, trouble shooting, wet PC repairs Yesterday, my PC got fucked up because of the storm it so happen that the window was left open when I went out of the house. when I returned home I found my poor PC all wet and wont turn on huhuh. anyways I was searching the web to see if i could still find ways to save my PC or salvage some part of it I found this helpful site I hope someone will find this useful Drying out a wet PC [...]