Winter Weather and Electronic Devices- Why Your Favorite Christmas Gift Stash Spot Could Mean a Holiday Disaster
Winter Weather and Electronic Devices- Why Your Favorite Christmas Gift Stash Spot Could Mean Holiday Disaster
As kids, one of the best parts of the Christmas season was stealthily searching the house for our parents’ stash of purchased Christmas presents- the Holy Grail of holiday loot. Now that we are adults (most of the time), the biggest challenge during the holidays is now finding the perfect place to stash your own carefully selected Christmas gifts. Traditional hiding spots like under the bed and in the closet are way too obvious and the attic isn’t always accessible (climbing up isn’t as easy as it once was). So, those of us stockpiling electronics gifts in the trunk of our cars should think again or we might be faced with a Christmas morning full of broken toys.
Cold Weather vs. Electronic Devices- What Could Go Wrong?
Most electronic devices are made up of a number of small, easily damaged components that are highly sensitive to extreme temperatures. Gadgets lingering in cold temperatures can experience a number of different issues:
- Poor battery performance: Electronic devices exposed to extreme cold often experience poor battery performance or total battery failure depending on how long the device is exposed and how cold it is outside. Often times, battery performance will return to normal once the device returns to room temperature, but other times the battery performance is permanently damaged due to water damage or corrosion from frost.
- Sluggish performance and screen sensitivity issues: Phones and other electronic devices that are exposed to extremely cold temperatures can become sluggish or difficult to operate. This is often because the components inside are having trouble operating normally. Touch screens can be a nuisance when condensation collects underneath the screen itself. This moisture causes permanent problems with spotting or streaks on the screen and can even corrode the internal components over time, causing the device to fail altogether.
- Hidden water damage and corrosion: Spotting water damage inside of an electronic device that has been exposed to extremely cold temperatures is near impossible. By the time you notice it, it’s too late. Remember: water comes in many forms, and a new phone left in a freezing cold car overnight is just as vulnerable as one that falls in the toilet.
Tips to Beat the Cold
So you have already stashed and frozen a trunk-full of expensive electronic devices– now what? First of all, don’t panic. Your next course of action should be to take the devices indoors and let them warm up slowly, not exposing them to any intense heat too quickly. Most importantly, don’t turn on or use any of the devices right away. Let them thaw. Chances are, unless you live in the middle of Antarctica, you won’t have any permanent water damage to worry about as long as you play it safe.
Popular Mechanics decided to see what happens to phones when you push them to their limits in various temperatures. Check out the graph below, it will give you an idea of how most phones hold up when exposed to the cold:
You can check out their full article here.