Dust: The Silence Killer (of computers)

I spent today helping my wife take down and store items in her classroom for the summer break. Of course my job was to break down her computers for storage. When I started doing so, I noticed a large amount of dust around the cords and case of the computer. As any experienced computer support technician would know, if you see dust accumulating around the vents of a computer, you can bet there’s more inside. Out of curiosity, I decided to open the cases of the computers to see how much dust was inside. The pictures tell the tale.

Most people fail to realize that dust (as well as lint and pet hair) inside a computer can lead to fan failure and component failure. Dust that finds it’s way into the computer’s fans, power supply or even heatsink can cause the computer to overheat and heat is the biggest cause of component failure in computers.

If a computer’s fan is running louder than usual, it can be a sign that dust build up is becoming a problem. As dust accumulates on the blades and in the motors, the fans have to work harder to keep the inside of a computer cool. If the dust buildup goes unchecked over a period of time, the fans will eventually slow down or fail completely. This can lead to overheating inside the computer case, which can cause component failure. Worst case, this could lead to data loss.

The bottom line is that a clean computer will run cooler and last much longer than a computer clogged up with dust. Taking the time to clean out the dust is one of the easiest ways to ensure the longevity of a computer. Regular cleaning can save on costly computer repair/maintenance fees down the road. Five minutes with a can of compressed air every other month is much cheaper than a trip to your local computer repair shop.

As far as my wife’s classroom computers goes, I have the cans of compressed air ready!

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