Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Remove the Dust Bunnies: Cleaning the Computer
Computers have fans that are important to their function, outside and inside the case. The outside fans suck cool air into the computer. Dust can reduce the fans efficiency or even stop it altogether as dust can damage the internal bearings. The internal fans help cool down individual components that must be kept cool to operate properly.
Heat is a serious problem for computers and dust acts as insulation on your system. Dust can even cause a short in the system electronics. If your processor overheats or shorts out, it would do irreversible damage to important parts of the computer.
As the job can be dusty, I recommend taking the case outside to remove the dust. I won't go into opening the case as many are different, but it is something you should be familiar with or get it professionally serviced regularly.
Gently spray the fans and internal boards with compressed air or gently vacuumed with a micro vacuum. Do not use a cloth or paper towels as the lint can be just as damaging as the dust.
Many websites recommend compressed air, but be sure to use the can designed for electronics or computers so it won't have water vapor inadvertently sprayed on the inside of your computer, although many now have a safe bitterant added to help discourage inhalant abuse. *author sadly shakes head*. Spay the compressed air in spurts don't let the container get cold. Spray a couple seconds then wait a couple. HOLD THE FAN while you are spraying it, keeping it from spinning. For a laptop, you can use a needle inserted in the vent to keep the fan from rotating and then spray the compressed air into the vent.
The outside of the case can be wiped down with a damp cloth as long as no moisture gets into the components such as the back panel, usb ports or DVD bays. Compressed air can be used to blow out any dust or particles in these areas.
So, kick out those dust bunnies. Keep your computer fully functional and healthy! ☺