Overheating computer? Do you hear unusual sounds coming from the case fans in your computer? Pets in the household? Heavy smokers? Your computer near the family kitchen? Fans will begin to “whine” or grind” as dust gets heavy on the blades of the fan.
This is from the dust/hair build up on the fan blades beginning to touch and grind against the fans case housing. And if you have pets, no matter how much you vacuum, and clean this hair will end up in your computer. I have seen houses as clean as a medical offices with dust filled computers.
Electronics attract dust, and what is in your computer is a big electronic circuit board. And a fan (laptop) or multiple fans in a desktop computer that pull cool outside case air into the
computer or laptop along with dust, hair, grease, sand, lint, smoke etc. Nicotine from cigarettes, cigar smoke and grease from nearby kitchen also pull into the computer, and will make this debris stick and accumulate very heavy inside the computer or laptop. When a computer comes to me, I can definitely tell if there is a smoker in the household, there is a distinct cigarette odor inside and the dust is dark brown and sticky.
“Dust buildup in and on your computer can become detrimental to your computer’s overall performance and behavior. When dust collects on a computer’s exterior, and starts to build up on several interior parts, the vents to your power supply and fans can become clogged, which can lead to overheating.” – From wiki How To
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Well keeping your desktop computer or laptop computer dust free is not that hard with a few simple items. And some of these items to keep your computer dust free can be found around the house. And a few steps and procedures you can definitely keep your pc much cleaner on the inside and cooler running.
Desktop Computers: Keep them off the floor or carpet. Dust, hair, pet hair, lint etc settle to the floor or carpet. Computers that are on the floor or carpet are much more susceptible to dust/hair buildup on the inside than a computer that is stored on a desk, table or upper cabinet.
Computer Fan Filters: There pre made specialy sized computer fan filters you can but fairly cheaply at Newegg.com. For every computer fan size. Common computer fan sizes are 80mm, 92mm, 120mm, 140mm, and the newer huge 230mm computer fans. Many newer computer cases come with fan filters. All these type filters are made to be used over and over again, as these filters once installed do the job of keeping dust & hair out of your pc. Some are foam type and others are a mesh type, and can be used over & over again. Basically any “intake” ventilation vent, or grill on the computer should have a filter on it. Be careful not to put a filter on the pc’s fan exhaust vent, not ned or advised.
House hold items can be used & fitted to use as a filter on your desktop computer also.
Keep in mind ANYTHING you use will restrict air flow in some way into the computer. Keeping the filters clean periodically is important.
- Dryer Sheets the static free cling sheets you use in your dryer after washing your laundry. work well, very cheap and can be cut and fitted on fans between the inside case panel and fan itself. These cannot be used over though or cleaned, you must cut and put a new dryer sheet on every so often. It will make your room or house smell real good for a while to! Only problem I found maybe with the type dryer sheet I have used, the dryer sheet keeps the hair and dust out, but that fine white sticky powdery residue of the dryer sheet ended up stuck on the inside fan blades of the computer. But I fixed this, figured out later, use an old one out of the dryer that has been “cooked”, that residue on the dryer sheet is gone!
- Vacuum Cleaner Filter Pad method described here.
- Womens nylons, or pantyhose. I know, I know your wife or girlfriend will not be happy when they come home and you have there nylons or hose cut up. But they do work very well. You have to stretch and cut them to the fan size. Mount the material inside of the computer between the case panel & intake fan. These can be cleaned and used over again to.
Remember, ALL these filters need to be checked and cleaned regularly.
Updated 3-23-16: Denatured Alcohol or Clean Acetone might be a better choice over 90% rubbing alcohol especially on electronics.
Clean the area around the computer frequently. Pledge Multi Surface Cleaner or wipes with an anti static formula design to used on or around electronics I have used and works great. I use to clean the outside computer casing desk area and monitor with to.
Laptops: If the inside heatsink exhaust clogs up with dust on the inside, your laptop WILL be overheating real fast. Long term excessive overheat conditions with a laptop is a laptops death sentence. With the laptop off, it is VERY important to blast with a compressed air can mentioned earlier, the laptops exhaust vent usually on back of laptop or side. YOU NEED TO keep this clear from heavy build up on the internal exhaust that you cannot see from the outside. If dust buildup is like what you see in this picture on the inside, it can only be cleaned by complete dis-assembly of the laptop.
Heat is a big problem with all laptops! Overheat is the ultimate death sentence for a laptop. Very small, compact laptop casing with very limited air flow and cooling. Hard drives do not like heat, heat will shorten the life of your hard drive. I receive MANY laptops here for repair, 60% of the repairs end up as failed, bad hard drives in the laptop. Keeping backups of all important data at ALL times is critical with any computer, more so with a laptop. Hard drive can fail at any time. Using the laptop on your laptop blocks the bottom air vents off just sitting on your legs. Manufactures mention nothing about this in there manuals you receive either.
Ways to help limit internal dust build up with a laptop:
- Do not use the laptop on your bed, blanket, couch, or carpet. The cool air intake event on the laptop is on the bottom. Debris, dust, hair, lint has a direct line into your laptop. Bed or blanket type material will conform to the laptop bottom base which will suffocate this intake vent. Laptop running hotter, and overheat zone.
- Clean the desktop or table area often where you use the laptop.
- With the laptop OFF blast the exhaust vent with a compress air from air can mentioned above.
- Cooling, use a USB laptop fan cooler, this is a must with all laptops!
Laptops only have one main cool air intake vent, you really cannot or should put a filter on this vent for the laptop needs all the air it can get. All you can do is follow the tips listed above.
This photo here to the right, was a complete disaster fail big time. Customer dropped this off asked me if I can repair it. Customer left, later I opened the casing computer up because I seen dust clumps on the outside power supply vent and other vents on the case. I opened the computer case and closed it right back up again. Thought something was going to jump out of the pc case on me. I refused to stick my hands into this mess. Computer was not repairable, nor would I remove any component, clean and rebuild it period! No Way. Called customer up and stated “you need a new computer, I will shows you what I talking about when you pick this mess up.” CPU heatsink plastic housing was melted down, there where dark burn marks on the computers power unit, northbridge heatsink was blown half off it 4 mounts, 2 inch layer of dust, cob webs, dirt and “tumble weeds” on inside bottom casing. This computer was at least 5 years old, I do not believe the owner opened up this case to blow the computer out even once. And yes, there was definitely a smoker in this household that must of sat at this computer 24/7.
Posted by: Lightspeeds PC Repair Evans GA