One of the worst things that can happen to a computer is for it to overheat because usually it will cause the power supply to fail and possibly damage the motherboard.
To keep this from happening make sure there’s good air flow through the computer. All exhaust fans must be working properly and air intake vents can’t be clogged with dust if there is going to be good air flow.
Usually there are at least two fans that keep the processor cool. The processor exhaust fan sucks air from the intake vents and pulls the air across the disk drive and electrical components, thus removing the heat generated by these components. The second fan is on the power supply. This fan performs a similar function by drawing the air through the power supply and exhausting the hot air out the rear or side of the processor. Failure of either of these two fans can cause major trouble, and ultimately computer failure.
Fan failures can occur, but aren’t very common. The biggest problem to overheating is dust. In our area, we really get lot of dust. When the air intake vents clogged, sufficient air cannot be pulled through the computer to cool the components.
Leaving the computer set on the floor or worst yet, set on carpeting, contributes to the dust, pet hair, and carpet fibers that are sucked into the air intake and clog the ventilation holes. If you’re a heavy smoker, the problem is actually compounded from smoke particles that often mat the dust and hair completely blocking the air flow.
The computer needs to be periodically cleaned out to remove the dust wads, clumped pet hair and carpet fibers, as well as bugs that often crawl inside the computer (crickets are very common). Fan blades often collect large amounts of dust particles. Dust collecting on fan blades makes the fan blades out of balance causing excessive wear on the bearings.
The air intake on the power supply is a big area of concern. Dust and fibers that get into your computer will generally end up stuck on the air intake grill of the power supply. When the air intake to the power supply is restricted, the power supply can overheat and burn out. This can also cause damage to the motherboard.
Another critical area to clean is the vents in the heat sink on the processor. Most late model processors that have high speed processors generate a large amount of heat. Most hardware manufactures install a heat sink on the processor to help dissipate the heat. When the fins on the heat sink clog with dust, the heat cannot be properly dissipated and the processor can overheat.
Extreme care needs to be taken when removing dust and debris from inside the computer. The proper cleaning equipment needs to be used so that components on the motherboard are not damaged. The normal household vacuum (or shop vac) can suck components right off the motherboard.
Cleaning the inside of the computer is a long tedious process and can take several hours if done properly. This is definitely a job that should be left to your computer professionals. Cleaning out the dust from your computer should be done at least annually, and if your computer sets on a carpeted floor, every six months is recommended.
George Cox is the owner of Computer Diagnostics and Repair. He can be reached at 702-346-4217.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE dated June 22, 2014 here.
Another excellent article titled “The two biggest Computer killers”