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My Ocean Loves My Stuff

Tips on Protecting Electronics from an Ocean/Beach Environment

by Terry Sovil

Those beautiful beaches in Manzanillo can have a few drawbacks. We're going to focus on trying to protect your stuff from the oxidation and rust that our ocean seems to share.

These are common worries for those fortunate enough to live right on the beach:

  • 1. "I worry about my computer, stereo equipment, TV, outdoor furniture, outdoor grill." .
  • 2."My friend's house is less than 100 meters/yards from the beach. His windows are open most of the time with a fantastic breeze coming through. After 2 years many of the screws in a very expensive oven were rusted! A/C condenser coils didn't last much longer."
  • 3. "I lived on the beach for 3 years. Appliances and electronics were not affected. The house was close to the beach but I didn't keep the windows open much."

Protecting your stuff is complicated due to the huge variety of appliances and electronics. They have different electrical properties and needs, so they all need different types of protection. Here are some basic tips for phones, tablets, laptops, cameras etc.:

  • Keep them out of the sun. Direct sunlight is never your friend. Keep your devices in cool, shady areas.
  • Cover any open ports.  USB ports, headphone jacks, memory chips etc.Cover any open ports.  USB ports, headphone jacks, memory chips etc.
  • Keep the exhaust vents open! It is good to cover ports but keep the vents open!
    • Heat is a major enemy of a laptop.
    • Know where the intakes are and keep them free of dust.
    • Be aware that pillows, blankets or your legs are not blocking these vents.
    • If you can, put your laptop on a hard, flat surface.
    • Look at a stand such as Steklo - X-Stand.
  • Clean with compressed air. Dust is not your friend. Purchase a can of compressed air at Office Depot. Use short bursts only. If your laptop overheats or is running slow, take it to ARHO for a cleaning!
  • Avoid wide temperature swings! Fast changes in temperature causes condensation. Wait a few minutes for your device to "acclimate" when moving from an air conditioned space to outside or vice versa.
  • Keep the humidity low!
    • Use silica gel or a product such as "Damp Rid" in smaller spaces
    • Keep your devices inside an airtight case.
    • I store my laptop in my backpack and keep a few packets of silica gel inside.
  • The beach isn't for your laptop. You may look cool, but you are getting tiny bits of sand in your vents, in your ports and between your keys.

iPhone Exposed to Water

Steklo Laptop X-Stand

Silica Gel Packet Damp Rid Moisture Absorber

For Stereo Systems and TVs

You could buy a really nice marine stereo system. They come with radios, CD/DVD players and input jacks to pump your music from another external device. These units are sealed. You can buy really good speakers designed to be in boats. They are DC so you may have to wire and adjust powering.

Keep the unit out of the sun. Keep it in a protected area. Cover it when not in use.

The problem with any stereo or TV system is corrosion on the wires connecting the device to your speakers or to an external antenna etc. Once you have them connected you can coat them with a simple silicone sealant which will protect them for a long time.

Kenwood Marine Radio System

Windows

Consider fiberglass framed doors and windows! Vinyl and aluminum are good choices but they would not be as anti-corrosive as fiberglass. Use hot-dipped metal galvanized or stainless steel fasteners when you have to use metal. For sliding glass doors and screens the rollers are best replaced with stainless steel. They will still rust but it is the best option.

Keep the windows and frames, all of your exterior surfaces, clean. Rinse with fresh water. The longer something stays damp, the higher the possibility of corrosion. For metal window fasteners and hinges, spray with WD-40 (Water Displacement-40) or silicone spray to help slow corrosion.

Bathrooms / Kitchens

Mold loves damp spots and can grow on just about anything. Inspect all areas of your home where water spray may leak inside. Stop the leak. Promote air circulation with fans or fresh air. If you find mold or mildew in shower corners, scrub the surface with some mild detergent, dry, and then apply a mixture of 1/4 cup bleach to one quart of water. Use anti-fungal cleaners regularly. Inspect and repair bathroom caulking, and squeegee shower doors after use.

For kitchens, you might want to apply a protective wax to metal-front appliances to repel water and rust damage.

Outdoor Furniture

Patio furniture takes a severe beating from the ocean air and moisture. One of the best ways to protect your furniture is to cover it when not in use and overnight. Also be sure to remove salt buildup by rinsing your furniture often (weekly is recommended) and drying it with a soft cloth. A gentle wash with dishwashing soap is good. Further protection can be effected by applying a coat of car wax or other polishing compound every couple of months.

Here is a product called NOCORRISION that is supposed to help!

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