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The house next door to where I live is currently being completely done up by builders and one day they decided to burn wood in the fire, little did they know that their chimney was damaged. This resulted in a lot of thick white smoke seeping though from their attic and filling up the attic room of my house while I was out. The Fire Brigade came and all that malarky.

Here's the issue. The attic room contained all my electronics: Games consoles, TV, speakers, amps, guitars and a mini-fridge. I wasn't aware that smoke could damage electronics at the time so It came as a surprise to me that my Xbox 360 Red Ringed, the Wii wouldn't turn on, the mini-fridge wasn't cooling and was making a large sound, the amp connections were faulty and controllers for the TV and consoles were glitchy.

After I read up on smoke damage I learnt that the smoke has pretty much killed all my electronics and gave a death sentence to the ones still alive. According to what I've read It seems the only way to actually fix the damage is to replace everything. Naturally I can't afford nor want to pay to get everything replaced. The owner of the house next door has offered to pay for damages caused, but that was before I knew the electronics were damaged (Meaning it'd be another £1,600 in damages added to everything else that was damaged). My Mothers boyfriend has said that we can't simply ask for that much money from him without proof (He's doing it through his insurers).

So firstly,

Is there a way I can obtain proof that the smoke has damaged all the electronics - Even the ones still working?


Can anybody advise me on what I should do in this situation as I'm a little flabbergasted.


- Matt

[Update - Now both my guitar amps have conked out. Grrr]

[Update 2 - He says that there's no proof that the smoke damaged the electronics. How do I get proof?!]

asked Aug 11 '12 at 14:22

Mattophobia's gravatar image

Mattophobia ♦♦

edited Aug 13 '12 at 09:39

I don't suppose insurance would cover something like this?

(Aug 11 '12 at 21:37) josephLtech josephLtech's gravatar image

nope not at all ..

to bad too they were so young and had a great career ahead of them far to young to be dyeing of cancer from second hand smoke ..

(Aug 11 '12 at 22:19) jadtechnic jadtechnic's gravatar image

THey probably would, but we don't really want to claim on our insurance as it'd effect our premium.

(Aug 12 '12 at 09:27) Mattophobia ♦♦ Mattophobia's gravatar image

I wonder if you showed the damaged electronics to them? Or looked inside one to look for any obvious signs of damage caused by the smoke? Perhaps some black areas on the boards... Are any of your electronics easy to open up to look at?

(Aug 12 '12 at 12:49) josephLtech josephLtech's gravatar image

Here's a little bit of Ask Yourself...

Obtaining proof. Did all the products work before you left? Is there damages on the consoles/electronics? You could have been robbed and vandalised.

And what I would do in this situation is get them to pay the money for the damages if you have came to the conclusion that they are responsible, and maybe bring this to court for suing.

answered Aug 12 '12 at 13:09

Cameron's gravatar image


edited Aug 12 '12 at 13:10

if the electronics where up there, that is proof enough, a similar thing happened to a friend of mine and without even testing them, they where replaced.

Smoke damage may not appear right away, it can take effect months or years in the future as the acids in the smoke wears away on the contact points. Contact your or your neighbors insurance and explain the situation. This is a case of a careless accident, someone should have been monitoring the fire and made sure the smoke stack was working properly.

answered Aug 13 '12 at 19:55

trueb's gravatar image


He doesn't even believe the things were up there. It's all just hearsay to him apparently. -_-

(Aug 13 '12 at 20:38) Mattophobia ♦♦ Mattophobia's gravatar image

smoke leaves residue that is easy to test for and smell.

If possible take them to court as regardless of your proof, the person being asked to pay will always deny it

(Aug 14 '12 at 00:55) Razor512 Razor512's gravatar image

find someplace that will test for smoke residue, then sue them for the damage + the service to check for the residue.

(Aug 14 '12 at 18:22) trueb trueb's gravatar image

if possible, take photos of the area where the smoke did it's damage and got into the attic

(only do this if the insurance company has done any inspections that they need to do)

Then do close ups on all of the electronics, then provide evidence of smoke damage by taking apart a single non working device and taking pictures of any corrosion and discoloration of solder points and PCB traces

I will try to find some examples online that show how smoke damage looks, at which point you can show that you have similar damage

First image: http://www.drsrestoration.com/property look at the image that says inside TV smoke

Also get a few articles on smoke damage in electronics as evidence.

alt text

If you need further evidence and are able to record video of the entire process, then you can fine one spot on the wall that you are okay with wiping with a paper towel, then you can do this, get a small cup of water, then get some hydrion paper, then dip one sheet into it to show the water having a PH of 7

now wipe down a small spot that was covered in smoke, then dip the paper towel into the cup to dissolve the smoke into the water, then test the PC again to show it becoming acidic.

answered Aug 14 '12 at 05:36

Razor512's gravatar image


edited Aug 14 '12 at 06:20

wow I guess ya all have to smoke faster and more efficiently get all the residue out of it before releaseing !!

or do what I did after almost 40 year of smoking quit toss the stuff away and say enough

the brown slimy staining of everything in the area where people smoke that oozes over everything should be proof enough ..

answered Aug 11 '12 at 18:03

jadtechnic's gravatar image


edited Aug 11 '12 at 18:05

I don't quite understand what you mean..?

(Aug 11 '12 at 18:56) Mattophobia ♦♦ Mattophobia's gravatar image
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Asked: Aug 11 '12 at 14:22

Seen: 2,545 times

Last updated: Aug 14 '12 at 18:22