Computer Maintenance – Cleaning Vents, Improving Airflow

Heat is not a friend to computers. A simple step in computer maintenance is cleaning the computer vents, improving airflow and reducing internal heat buildup. Clogged vents can raise the operating temperature inside your computer, increase the wear and tear on your computer's components and shorten a system's lifespan.

Computers have evolved a long way from the highly air conditioned, raised floor environments of mainframe and mini computers (remember those?), but good ventilation for a computer is still important. Warm summertime weather can make problems from poor ventilation and heat buildup more pronounced. It is not uncommon for computers to experience problems from excess heat buildup due to lack of proper ventilation and cleaning.

Vent-clogging dust and lint are not just an issue for desktop/tower/floor standing computers. Many laptops also have small vents. If you hear a fan go on in your laptop computer you can be sure that it's pulling air in through one or more vents. Here is what you can do.

Cleaning Computer Vents

The best method for removing dust, lint and pet hair that can clog vents is with your vacuum cleaner. Use one of the attachments that are standard on most vacuum cleaners. The smaller the nozzle opening on the attachment, the better.

A couple steps before cleaning the computer vents are: make certain your computer is fully powered off; and unplug the power cord from the computer. Then move the vacuum cleaner nozzle slowly over the external vents and openings. If there are any sliding panels or doors be sure to open them and clean behind them.

Laptop Computer Cleaning

Laptop computers generally don't have as many problems with items clogging the vents, but it does happen. This is especially true if the laptop is used mainly as a desktop replacement and does not get moved very often.

As with most other items on a laptop computer the vents are smaller and sometimes not as obvious. Most laptop vents are on the sides towards the back, on the very back of the computer or on the bottom of the computer.

The process for cleaning laptop vents is similar to a desktop or tower computer. You should have the computer turned off – not just in sleep or standby mode. Be sure to check the bottom of the computer for any vents and make sure they are vacuumed.

Periodic Computer Maintenance

Cleaning dust from ventilation openings on computers can help keep them running cool and prevent damage to the system and the internal components from heat. Be sure to periodic computer maintenance to keep your computer running its best. Remember: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!