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Thread: Can Smoke Damage From House Fire Affect Computer? -nt | Forums

  1. #1
    XyZspineZyX
    Guest
    The upstairs neighbors decided it was time to burn the place down! There is some smoke damage, but no water damage. There is a light film of soot on the walls and that campfire girls smell in the air! I'm changing cotton spun air filters every couple hours (the first one came out black, the second a dark grey) and I've hung charcoal activated filters over all the vents and have AC pumping 24/7. Can this film hurt electronics? I know it is mostly carbon and from chemistry class I remembered that carbon conducts electricity. Any ideas folks?

    Dr's have always said that good ole southern fried cookin' will kill you! lol



    Message Edited on 09/21/0301:07AM by LuckyBoy1
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  2. #2
    XyZspineZyX
    Guest
    The upstairs neighbors decided it was time to burn the place down! There is some smoke damage, but no water damage. There is a light film of soot on the walls and that campfire girls smell in the air! I'm changing cotton spun air filters every couple hours (the first one came out black, the second a dark grey) and I've hung charcoal activated filters over all the vents and have AC pumping 24/7. Can this film hurt electronics? I know it is mostly carbon and from chemistry class I remembered that carbon conducts electricity. Any ideas folks?

    Dr's have always said that good ole southern fried cookin' will kill you! lol



    Message Edited on 09/21/0301:07AM by LuckyBoy1
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  3. #3
    XyZspineZyX
    Guest
    Based on my eight years of experience working as a Computer Repair Tech, my experience has been that as long as the rubber insulation on the wires and the plastic portion of the case aren't melted off or damaged the computer should be fine. If the smoke around the computer was really bad it could damage your floppy drive and cdrom drives because it could cloud the read head on those drives. The computer may smell of smoke for years and it is very difficult to remove the smell.

    I would make sure that your power supply fan and cpu fan is still spinning when turning the computer back on. I would also inspect the plastic case components for melting/damage and the wires inside the computer. I've seen several cases where computers were fine except for the case on/off switch and the floppy drive.

    Best of luck to you.
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  4. #4
    XyZspineZyX
    Guest
    I'd generally agree that it should be fine, barring being able to actually see the system in question.

    If it's so smoked out that the inside looks like one continuous black mass, then I'd say you might have problems. Otherwise, you'll probably be okay. The hard drive(s) will most likely be fine, but you might have some issues with any optical or floppy drives, maybe.

    If it works, I wouldn't worry about it.

    I've worked as a tech as well, and you'd be amazed and disgusted at the internals of some people's computers.

    You can always tell who is a smoker just by opening up their machine. It stinks inside, bad. Not only that, every internal surface tends to be covered in a thick, sticky yellow film of tar. It's nasty.

    However, repugnant as that may be, it rarely seems to cause any real problems, save for attracting and holding dust a bit better. Try it out, see if it works. If it does, don't worry. If not, troubleshoot and replace it, and presumably the guy's insurance will cover it, right?
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  5. #5
    XyZspineZyX
    Guest
    BinaryFalcon wrote:

    - You can always tell who is a smoker just by opening
    - up their machine. It stinks inside, bad. Not only
    - that, every internal surface tends to be covered in
    - a thick, sticky yellow film of tar. It's nasty.

    If it is that bad, you can imagine what the inside of their lungs must look like.....urggh. Nasty habit, no doubt about it.



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  6. #6
    XyZspineZyX
    Guest
    Most household insurances cover the property attached to yours, can you not claim all this off their insurance and get yourself a nice new pc as it is smoke damaged as well as everthing else, then u may well be able to but it back of the insurance company more a song...... You should not be left out of pocket which is what seems to be happening, if they aint got insurance, sue em for the cost of putting everything back to normal.
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  7. #7
    XyZspineZyX
    Guest
    Hi,

    First of all i'm glad it wasn't burned down! Second you should get the PC and Monitor to a repair central expirienced in "salvaging electronics from fire damage". Even though it works right now there will probably be damage later on since the smoke residue will probably transform into acid and other damaging chemicals.

    It's been a while since my classes in this matter but i've worked with it in the Swedish Navy. So yes it should definitely be cleaned on the inside!!!!

    Regards HÃÂ¥kan
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  8. #8
    XyZspineZyX
    Guest
    Thank you to everyone for their kind, thoughtful and fast responses.

    I live in a poor, working class neighborhood and I really doubt the Yo-Yo's upstairs have property insurance. I also doubt suing them would be a reasonable option because even though I would win, I doubt I would ever collect the judgment. My property policy limits repairs of computers to machines that are actually malfunctioning right after the fire. As a result, I'm left trying to save my hard won IL-2 Forgotten Battles playing toy with whatever meager means I can scrape together.

    I agree with the Swedish man when he talks about the acidic compounds. I used to work as a paramedic and had to learn all about what is in smoke from a house fire. Smoke is extremely toxic with many cyanide compounds etc. Is their a board cleaning spray that I can use to remove any film of soot that may be present (I've refrained from opening case to limit contamination until cleanup is completed) inside the case? I know they make electronic board cleaning sprays, but I've found they leave a nasty, white film of their own. Is there a specific product you would recommend?


    Luckyboy = senior hydraulic landing gear designer for the P-11
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  9. #9
    XyZspineZyX
    Guest
    I would not try and clean the electonic components inside the computer on your own. If you want to take an air compressor and blow off all the internal components that is fine as long as you don't use too much pressure.

    If it is really black inside I agree with the previous recommendation on taking the computer to someone who specializes in cleaning and restoring smoke damaged electronics.

    Best of luck to you.
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