Keep your computer cool in the dog days of summer

Summer has finally arrived! The snow is gone and the heat of the summer is here. However heat isn’t good for everything. Heat is kryptonite for computers. It can make your computer go from working fast and efficiently to slow and unresponsive. What causes computers to overheat and what can be done to prevent your computers from overheating?

The first step is to understand what components create the heat and how your computer is designed to remove that heat. Using this knowledge you can correctly position and maintain your computer allowing the built in cooling system to function properly.

Computers, as you may know, contain a few parts that create a significant amount of heat. Parts like the CPU and graphics card can get so hot, if not cooled, that you could fry an egg on them. Computer manufactures are not naive to the heat that is generated by these parts and have developed a system that aims to cool the computer’s internal temperature. This system uses fans and a metal conductor called a heat sink to achieve a cool internal temperature. Parts like the CPU and the graphics card have a type of grease or compound that allows heat that is generated to travel to the heat sink. The heat sink is then cooled by fans that are strategically placed to move cool air in and warm air out.

The cooling system works rather well but can be hindered or all together stopped by dirt and debris. Vents are cut into the case that covers the internal components to allow cool air in and warm air out. Vents are a great feature but they allow dirt to come in contact with the internal components of your computer. Overtime dust and other partials can clog the vents and fans, restricting air flow and allowing heat to build up. If this happens you are at a high risk of your computer overheating. This problem is fairly simple to remedy. First you should keep the space around your computer clean. There should be at least 2 to 3 inches of open space on either side and the back should be completely open and unobstructed. If you find that there is a buildup of dirt or debris on the vents or internal fans first shut off your computer, open the case, and then use canned air to remove the dirt. You can then use a dry cloth to remove debris and dust from the exterior case.

These few simple steps can greatly improve the physical health of your computer. By simply keeping your computer clean and free of dust or debris you greatly lower the risk of your computer overheating.

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