Working with power tools can be a new and exciting experience but you also want to make sure they are well-maintained. Power tools will be used in all sorts of conditions, they get dusty, dirty, and even wet, especially if you are working outside and get caught in the rain.
if this does happen, you may wonder “what do I do if my power tools get wet?” The good news is getting wet won’t ruin most tools. You just have to let them dry out before you use them again.
You may need to clean them before using them again and then learn how to store them safely to keep them dry.
The article below offers tips and advice on how to maintain your power tools if they get wet and how to keep your tools dry.
How to Dry Out Wet Power Tools
What do I do if my power tools get wet? Power tools can dry out on their own but some may need some extra attention. We asked experts to offer some tips on how to do that. Here’s a look at two of the most popular tools and how to let them dry out.
Cordless drills have some general weatherproofing like rings and inner seals so they can withstand some water but a serious soaking can ruin it. While this refers to cordless drills, the same principles apply to any power tool that gets wet.
The first thing to do with a wet cordless drill is to remove the battery or the power source. There isn’t a time limit to do this in case you discover it is wet from overnight rain. However, removing the battery should be done as soon as possible after you find out your drill is wet.
Here are the next steps:
- Check to see if water got into the battery compartment. Dry it out with a towel.
- Don’t be tempted to test the tool out first. Don’t pull the trigger to see if it still has power. This can cause the drill to short out and damage it.
- Dry the exterior of the drill with a towel to prevent damage. Look to see if water got into crevices. Put some special attention to drying those.
The next step is to let some heat help dry out the drill in case water got inside. You can put it in the sun for a few hours or use a hair dryer on low heat to do this. The heat may help remove water that crept inside.
It will take a few days to let the drill completely dry out before you use it again as there may still be some water trapped inside that needs to evaporate.
Circular Power Saw and corded tools
The difference in how to air out and dry a corded power saw versus a cordless drill is the power saw is connected to electricity and should be safely disconnected from any power source before touching the tool.
Even so, you can use this method on other power tools or use the method above on a power saw.
One aspect is not to let your tools sit in moisture or leave them wet for long, as that could lead to corrosion. As with all wet tools, don’t try to run your power saw after it’s wet. That will damage it and cause a short-circuit or even a fire.
With some of these more complex tools, you will need to do some disassembly to open up areas to dry. Don’t force parts you aren’t sure how to take apart. Take it apart as much as you feel comfortable.
Take a can of compressed air with a nozzle and blow out the inside well. Leave it open while it dries naturally. It may take a few days to completely dry out.
How to Keep Power Tools Dry
Whenever possible you should keep power tools in a good quality tool cabinet or robust toolbox to keep them safe and prevent any splashes or rain from getting on them, but that won’t be enough to keep them completely dry. Moisture can collect in both and that can cause premature rust on your tools.
Using some Silica gel packs inside your toolbox will keep moisture levels low enough to prevent wetness from getting to your tools. Another good product is anti-rust papers that you can put inside cabinets to keep your power tools dry.
Others who own power tools warn against keeping tools in a basement because they are prone to flooding. Many people myself included store their tools in a garage but they are often not climate controlled and can be damp. However, the silica gel packs and anti-rust papers will be enough to keep your tools dry and damage-free. The same goes for outdoor sheds.
A good way to store tools is with storage racks. Racks allow you to organize them by purpose and make your tools easily accessible. However, you will still need to use anti-rust paper even with storage racks.
Some people use original cases to store their tools and that is an excellent way to keep them safe and dry. Just be sure to keep the containers in a place where there isn’t a lot of moisture.
Others buy some waterproof storage containers for their tools, like this waterproof, lockable metal container from Clarke tools This type of storage can be fitted into vans and trucks for mobile storage when traveling between job sites.
Can Power Tools Be Used in the Rain?
No, you should never use power tools in the rain because rain will put you at risk for electrical injury and damage your tools. Even a light rain shower can mean that water gets into your power tools, which if run when wet will be permanently damaged. it is always best to wait until the weather clears to get back to work.
What If My Tools Are Submerged?
What do I do if my power tools get wet from a flood or being underwater? You wouldn’t be the first to experience this problem. Most people who have this issue say their tools got wet and went underwater when their basement flooded, after high rainfall and more extreme weather conditions, or from a burst pipe.
Tools are pretty durable and can usually be recovered and aired out to work again even if they are flooded out. You will need to open up the equipment to air it out if it’s submerged. Be sure to take your time doing this and manage where everything goes. That includes taking pictures of the tool’s insides before you take them apart.
Two great tools to help remove water in this instance are small cotton balls and Q-tips. They are small and work well in tight areas and are also delicate so they won’t damage the internal components. Now, is the time to bring out the hairdryer too to make sure the inside is fully dry.
Can You Waterproof Tools?
Yes, you can waterproof tools and that can save you from needing to dry out your tools should they get wet. There are two things to remember. First, opening up a tool invalidates the warranty. Second, waterproofing doesn’t mean water can’t get inside your tool. It is a failsafe to protect your tool in case it does get wet.
If you intend to use power tools in wet conditions on a regular basis, repairing boats, for instance, it might be wise to invest in some specialized equipment that provides high levels of water and moisture resistance NEMO tools have a range of fully submersible power tools for this type of work.
This article was written by: Richard Quinton – The DIY Help Desk Owner, Engineer & technical specialist.
Richard is one of the key partners in The DIY Help Desk team. He is a qualified Engineer, writer, and publisher, educated to Master’s level. He is a keen advocate of DIY and home improvements.
Richard enjoys helping others to learn new skills and reach their goals and believes that passing his knowledge and experience on through his writing is an effective way to positively impact the lifestyles and well-being of others on a larger scale.