What is a water damage indicator?

by | May 2, 2013 | Construction and Maintenance

There is a very small device found in almost every electronic component, it is called a water damage Saratoga indicator, it is also known as water damage tape, sticker, water contact tape, indicator, etc. The device, no matter what it is called is used by manufacturers and service technicians to see if the device was in contact with water or any other liquid. Most warranties are void if the cause of damage was immersion or contact with any liquid.

Water damage Saratoga indicators will be found in cell phones, laptop computers, notebook computers and other electronic equipment. The use of these indicators is controversial at best, many consumers will swear that their device did not come into contact with water, and yet, the water damage indicator shows different.

Regardless of what various manufacturers call these devices, they all have one thing in common; they are designed to change color when the sticker or tape has been exposed to a liquid. When you look into your device, the damage indicator are no more than a small sticker which is embedded with a water activated dye, usually the color of the sticker will change from white to red when exposed to water or liquid.

Cell phones are very prone to water exposure; they can easily fall out of a man’s pocket and fall in a urinal or simply into a puddle of water. Women have far less problems with water damage to their cell phones as most are carried in a handbag or purse. It is not only cell phones, cameras, portable music players and tablets can also easily be exposed. The water damage Saratoga indicators can be placed anywhere in the device, including data ports, under the battery or even in the headphone ports of music players. They are small and discrete and in many devices there is more than one. They will usually be located close to components that will immediately fail if they are exposed to water.

The water damage indicators are a necessity because most manufacturers of electronic equipment, especially consumer electronics, state explicitly that the warranty is only valid if the product is defective in materials and/or workmanship, warranties are invalid if the device was damaged accidentally by the user. The water damage Saratoga indicator is a fast way for the service technician to determine if the device was water damaged or whether the warranty will cover repair or replacement for restoration Saratoga.

There was a class action lawsuit in 2010 over the use of reportedly unrealizable water damage indicators. The claimants in the suit all stated that their indicators turned color when the device was used in the conditions it was designed for; the claim was that the least bit of moisture, even caused by perspiration or humidity was not a valid reason to void the warranty.

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