Tips to Help Your Computer Keep its Cool

Fake image of man pouring water into back of computer.

Computer parts generate a lot of heat when the computer is on. In a properly configured PC, much of this heat is moved out of the computer’s case by several fans but, if they’re not removing the hot air fast enough, serious damage could occur.

Obviously, your goal should be to keep your computer as cool as possible. There are a few ways you can do that and many of them are free or very inexpensive. Try the following tips to help your computer keep its cool.

Give it Breathing Room

The easiest way for you to help your computer keep cool is to remove any obstacles that may be blocking air flow. Be sure that there’s nothing sitting right up against any side of the computer, especially at the back as most of the hot air flows out of the back of the computer case. It should be kept completely unobstructed. Keep at least two to three inches between the computer and walls, etc. on either side of the computer.

If you have a desk that allows you to hide your computer inside a cabinet, be sure that the door isn’t closed all the time. Cool air comes in from the front and sometimes from the sides of the case so, if the door is closed all day, you’ll be recycling hot air through the computer. The end result is, the longer the computer is running, the hotter it will get.

Case Closed

You may have heard something about running your computer with the case open to keep it cooler and it does seem logical. After all, if the case is open, there would be more air flow to help keep the computer cooler.

The trouble is, when the case is left open, dust and debris clogs the cooling fans faster than when the case is closed and a clogged fan does a terrible job of cooling expensive computer parts. Eventually, the fans will slow down and stop working much quicker than if the case is left closed.

Clean House

Dust, pet hair and other debris all find their way into your computer and much of it gets stuck in the fans. Cleaning the internal fans is one of the most effective ways to cool your PC.

All you have to do is shut the computer off, open the case and use canned air to remove the dirt from each fan. For a really dirty computer, it’s better to take it outside to clean it or all that dirt will settle somewhere else in the room and eventually end up back inside your computer.

Move It

If the area you’re using your computer in is too hot or too dirty, move it to a cooler and cleaner area in your home. But be careful, as moving your computer can cause damage to the sensitive parts inside. Unplug everything, don’t try to carry too much at once and sit things down carefully. The main concern is your computer’s case, which holds all of the important parts like the hard drive and motherboard.  

If you haven’t got the option of moving your computer, read on.

Upgrade the CPU Fan

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is possibly the most expensive and sensitive part inside your computer and it is also the most likely to overheat. The CPU fan in your computer right now is probably one that cools your processor just enough to keep it working properly, assuming it’s running at full speed. You can replace a factory installed fan with a larger one that will keep the CPU temperature lower.

The Case for Case Fans

As the name implies, a case fan is a small fan that attaches to either the front or the back on the inside of a desktop computer case. These fans help to move air through a computer to ensure that expensive parts don’t overheat. You could install two case fans, one for moving cool air into the PC and another for moving the warm air out.

For a laptop or tablet, try a cooling pad.

Replace the Power Supply

The air flow you feel when you hold your hand behind your computer is coming from the power supply fan, which is built into the power supply. When you don’t have a case fan, the power supply fan is the only way to get rid of the hot air inside your computer. Your computer will heat up quickly if this fan isn’t working.

Regrettably, you need to replace the entire power supply if this fan isn’t working because you can’t just replace the power supply fan.

Component Specific Fans

Almost every component in your computer produces heat. If you find that your graphics card, memory or another component is creating a lot of heat, you can install a component specific fan. For example, if your graphics card is overheating during gameplay, install a larger graphics card fan.

Faster hardware means hotter parts but you can get specialized fan solutions for nearly everything inside your computer.

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