How I Saved My Gaming PC From A Flood

When mention of floods is made, one usually imagines waves of water crashing through doors and windows, or gently seeping past the sandbags you so carefully piled up outside the front door. Not in my case, because it came from above like the hand of God during a torrential thunderstorm– an event that I could have and should have predicted. Don’t you just love hindsight?

Water, Water Everywhere

During the years that I’ve lived in Buenos Aires, one thing (apart from inflation) has been a constant in the two houses we’ve lived in– a leaky roof. Our previous house was of an industrial design with a flat roof and in spite of all my efforts, leaked like a sieve. Our current house is much older and has Spanish tiles which are very delicate and subject to movement from both the railway line opposite and the antics of the many cats that roam the area– ours included.

Over the years we’ve had a handful of cowboys roofers around to plug the leaks, but for one reason or another, more leaks have mysteriously appeared. I’ve spent a fair amount of effort on the roof doing my own successful repairs, but sometimes the rain is so torrential, that the roof simply can’t cope with the amount of water it needs to release onto the street. This is precisely what happened last week when we were asleep during a massive thunderstorm, the noise of which woke me up as the rain cascaded onto the street outside. Little did I know that it was also raining in our living room, but I wasn’t to discover that until I had made my first cup of tea, which I drank at the kitchen table catching up on the news, blissfully unaware that my expensive gaming PC was enjoying an unwelcome shower. In fact, I only noticed the potential disaster when I heard a dripping sound from the living room, strolled over, and noticed the shocking sight.

When the stabbing pain in the pit of my stomach had subsided, I quickly disconnected the PC from the wall, followed by all the peripherals, set it up on the kitchen table, and began to dismantle it. I also removed the motherboard battery and then scratched my head wondering if all was lost. Fortunately, the PC wasn’t running at the time, however, some current runs through the motherboard and GPU because the RGB lights glow even when the machine is simply plugged into the mains.

Clearly, the PC had been taking a shower for quite some time as water had entered almost every part of the motherboard, including the GPU, which is almost brand new, the PSU, PCIe slots, and M.2 slots. Having consulted numerous sources and received varying opinions, I decided to give all the components a slow dry in front of a fan. Luckily, at the time the weather was very hot, so the drying process would be effective and I certainly wasn’t in a rush because I knew the consequences of a short.

Fortunately, I have another PC that I use in my workshop, so I was able to use that during the drying out process and I decided that the process would take as long as necessary. I also bought a can of Isopropyl alcohol which I sprayed onto the motherboard, PSU, and GPU as an additional measure. The mishap began on a Monday morning and by Thursday I felt that enough time had passed, so I tested the main components on a testbed, then reassembled the PC — which took about four hours — and discovered, to my eternal relief, that everything had survived.

This potential disaster occurred on the 11th of January and since then the PC has been running perfectly, but it did give me pause for thought. If I had to replace all the major components, most of which I bought in the UK, I would have to spend upwards of $2000, a thought that sent a shudder down my spine.

Since then, I’ve been up on the roof several times, made some repairs, and replaced numerous broken tiles because frankly, I don’t trust any so-called roofers anymore. I’ve also decided to be more vigilant when it comes to thunderstorms and also to take more care of the roof.

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