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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Saving Your Electronics After a Fire

11/12/2020 (Permalink)

computer tower opened to reveal smoke damage from fire Electronic equipment affected by smoke damage from a fire can usually be restored by using the correct cleaning methods.

Can Your Electronics Be Saved After A Fire?

Given how important electronics have become to daily life, losing and having to replace them after a home or office fire can be a major inconvenience. So, other than having your equipment replaced by your fire insurance policy, can your equipment actually be saved? A fire does not always mean you will always be at a complete loss. In many cases, electronic equipment can actually be cleaned and restored.

When a fire breaks out, the heat will cause the plastics and metals most electronics are comprised of to produce toxins that damage them. Trying to use them while they are damaged can cause additional problems; also, if or when water is used to extinguish the fire, trying to use them before they are completely dry will quite likely ruin them.

Before a fire is extinguished, smoke can enter into the components of your electronics and leave a thin, black film. This film insulates electronics, causing them to be more likely to overheat and ruin. Short-circuiting can also happen because the film is magnetically charged, which could cause an additional fire.

Smoke from a fire also carries with it soot (material that did not ignite). Soot covers the outside of the electronics and can also be found inside them. This is acidic, which makes it dangerous and discolors them as well as shortens their lifespan. 

Cleaning and Restoring Your Electronics

Although having fire and soot damage to your electronics is certainly a terrible thing, they can be cleaned and restored. First, disconnect them from their power sources by unplugging them and removing batteries. Next, use a rag to wipe down their exteriors while making sure to clean any soot marks. Thirdly, you will need to use an air compressor to clean out outlets, ports, and air vents.

Damage or dirtiness from a fire can be beyond what most people are able to deal with; in such a case, seeking professional help is needed. Also, home insurance policies can cover your electronics.  

Computers and Hard Drives

A computer is one of the most valuable electronics anyone can have in terms of productivity. So you definitely want to make sure a fire cannot cost you your data. Therefore, cleaning and restoring it, or at least the hard drive where all of your data is stored, should be your top priority. Even if you have to get another computer, being able to connect your hard drive means you will have lost none of the data and will be able to continue on just as if you did not have to buy a new computer. Remove it from the fire-damaged computer first and have a SATA to USB adaptor.

Being able to store the information of your hard drive elsewhere (such as cloud storage) is recommended as well because if the hard drive is too damaged from a fire and a new one is needed, you will be able to download everything, meaning you lose nothing. Also, replace the battery in a computer as well to prevent the old one from igniting.

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