Salt Water Vs. Fresh Water Damage

Tech Tips

Summertime means beach trips and afternoons by the pool. Unfortunately, this is often accompanied with getting pushed in with your phone still in your pocket and getting caught in freak Florida rainstorms. We see the most cases of water damage during the summertime and it can really ruin your plans if your phone doesn’t recover. When it comes to water damage, details are important. Saltwater and freshwater have different effects on phone hardware, so how it happened and how long ago it happened are big factors in determining how severe the damage is. 


The Basics of Water Damage

When water gets inside a device, it can affect the hardware in two major ways: it can short circuit the device and cause corrosion or buildup.


Current flows through hundreds of thousands of circuits in a device. When current is flowing through a circuit in a wrong path, a short circuit happens and a device stops working properly. When water gets inside device hardware, the liquid causes a short circuit and no amount of rice is going to make it work again.


Another effect of water damage is the buildup of corrosion. As soon as liquid comes in contact with a device, especially a device that is powered on, oxidation and corrosion begin almost immediately. Corrosion is a chemical reaction that happens with the water and metals that it is touching. Residue is built up and left on the components which can lead to more short circuits. The longer that the hardware goes without being cleaned, the more corrosion can occur.


Saltwater is a really good conductor and when it comes in contact with the hardware can accelerate the chemical reactions that lead to corrosion. Although freshwater can cause just as much damage to a device, corrosion doesn’t happen as quickly.


Timing is Everything

When someone’s device suffers water damage, their first instinct is to reach for the rice. Unfortunately we have found that once significant damage has been done, there’s nothing that can bring it back other than a thorough cleaning and repair of any circuits that have shorted. The sooner you bring in a water damaged phone (especially one that has been exposed to salt water) the more likely that your device will be able to be resuscitated.



Leave a Reply