Spilling water on a laptop is a serious problem that can cause even more serious damage. Once you spill water on your laptop, the key thing is to act fast. So, what’s the best way to deal with a water-damaged laptop?
If you’ve spilled water on your laptop, shut down the laptop, remove the battery, and unplug any peripheral devices. Open the laptop screen as far as it’ll go and place the laptop upside down on a flat surface. Wipe the laptop down with a lint-free towel and leave it to dry for 48 hours.
If the laptop works like normal after you let it dry, then that’s great, but what should you do if it doesn’t? Let’s go through how to fix a water-damaged laptop in more detail so that you can get your laptop up and running again.
How Do You Fix a Laptop With Water Damage?
If you’ve spilled something on your laptop, then time is of the essence. Liquid could be getting into sensitive parts of your computer, potentially causing lasting damage. Let’s go through what to do if you spill something on your laptop:
Step 1: Turn Off Your Laptop
One of the first things you learn in any science class is that water is a great conductor of electricity. This means that liquid coming in contact with your laptop while it’s on will result in much worse damage than liquid coming in contact with your laptop while it’s off.
So, if water has been spilled on your laptop, then you need to turn off your laptop as soon as possible.
Typically, you can do this by simply holding down the power button for about five seconds. This should cause your laptop to completely shut down, but do make sure that it isn’t simply going into sleep mode.
Now, if your laptop is plugged in, it’s still being provided with power. Make sure to unplug your laptop to cut off another potential source of electricity to your laptop.
Step 2: Take Out Your Laptop’s Battery and Remove Any Peripherals
One of the worst possible that can happen if liquid gets into your computer is that it reaches the battery. Water coming into contact with your computer’s battery has potential to cause an electrical hazard that could be dangerous.
To stop this from happening, you need to remove your laptop’s battery. The steps to do this vary from laptop to laptop, so consider looking up how to remove the battery from your specific laptop before you proceed. Usually, the battery is located on the underside of the laptop with some sort of switch that will allow it to slide out.
After your battery has been removed, you should also disconnect any peripheral devices that plug into your computer. This includes any USB mouses, keyboards, flash drives, hard drives, or even any discs in your disc drive if your computer has one. Doing this will prevent any of these devices from becoming water damaged as well.
Step 3: Place Your Laptop Upside-Down
Water flowing deeper into your laptop could cause serious damage, so we need to find a way to get the water flowing out of your laptop rather than flowing in. Thankfully, all you have to do is place your laptop upside down and let gravity do the work for you.
Simply open your laptop’s screen as far as you can and then set it upside down in a sort of V-shape. This will allow the water in your laptop to flow downwards through your keyboard and out of the computer, rather than flowing through the circuits of your computer.
Step 4: Dry It Off
At this point, your laptop should be sitting upside down so that the water flows out. A great thing to do here is to get something to help wipe away the moisture.
For this, it’s best if you use a lint-free towel or rag. A regular towel could get lint stuck in your keyboard or in the other components of your laptop, potentially causing further damage.
Step 5 (Optional): Remove Important Parts
If you’re a more tech-savvy reader and are comfortable with the idea of taking apart your laptop, then now would be a good time to do that.
Some of the more important parts to remove in case of a water leak on your laptop are the RAM and the hard drive. Taking these parts out of your laptop could potentially keep them from getting wet entirely, and if they’re already wet, it will allow them to dry properly out in the open.
Step 6: Leave Your Laptop to Dry
At this point, all you can do is leave the laptop sitting upside down, wait until it dries, and hope that it works properly afterwards. When you do this, it’s best to leave the laptop in a warmer environment (but not too warm).
It can also be a good idea to leave a fan on and pointed at your laptop while it dries. When you do this, make sure that the fan isn’ too dusty. Dust getting blown into your laptop could potentially cause even more damage to it.
Does Water Cause Permanent Damage to a Laptop?
The extent of damage liquid can result in will depend on several factors, including the amount of water exposure, the length of time the laptop was exposed, and the type of liquid involved. If the laptop was powered on at the time of exposure, the risk of damage is much greater.
In some cases, the water damage may be superficial, and it’ll only affect the keyboard and touchpad. In these cases, the laptop may be recoverable with a proper cleaning. However, if the water has entered the laptop’s internal components, such as the motherboard, the damage can be much more severe.
When water enters the motherboard, it can cause corrosion to some delicate electronic components, leading to short circuits and permanent damage. If the liquid spilt on your laptop wasn’t water but instead something acidic or salty, the damage may be even more extensive. In some cases, the motherboard may need to be replaced, which can be a costly repair.
If the water damage is extensive, it may not be possible to repair the laptop, and it may need to be replaced. In some cases, the data stored on the hard drive can even be lost, so if you do get your laptop up and running again, it’s important to back up important files regularly to prevent data loss.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Laptop With Water Damage?
Repairing a laptop that has suffered water damage can be a costly venture, and the final cost will depend on the extent of the damage, the type of laptop, and the repair service you choose. On average, it can cost anywhere from $50 to $800 or more to repair a laptop with water damage.
If the damage is minor and confined to the keyboard or touchpad, the repair may not cost that much. In such cases, the technician may need to replace the keyboard, touchpad, or other internal components, and clean the motherboard to remove any residue.
The cost of replacing individual components can vary widely, depending on the brand and model of the laptop.
If the water damage is more severe and the motherboard or other internal components have been affected, the repair cost can rise significantly. In cases like this, the repair technician may need to replace the motherboard, graphics card, memory, hard drive, and other parts, as well as perform extensive cleaning and testing to restore the laptop to its original condition.
The type of laptop you own can also play a role in determining the repair cost. Laptops from premium brands, such as Apple, may require more expensive replacement parts and repairs, while those from more budget-oriented brands may have more affordable components.