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Keeping You & Your Computer Cool in the Summer Heat

Please be aware that this entry is over two years old. Therefore, it may contain broken links, outdated information, or views and content which are no longer completely valid.

Chances are if you own a computer, you notice a rise in the temperature of the room where the computer lives.  Here’s some things to help keep the temperature down and your computer components from complaining too much.  Just keep in mind, anything that runs on electricity or moves generates heat no matter how much or how minimal.  By using these tips in tandem, they will have a greater effect overall, rather than just relying on one technique.

If you can get A/C, do.  Otherwise, most of the following tips are geared towards users without adequate A/C.

Open the windows at night or in the early morning, then close them and draw the shades after the sun comes up or when you start to feel it warm up.  This will trap the cool air in the house.

Incandescent bulbs are hotter than florescent bulbs.  Use florescent bulbs for light if you can, and leave the incandescent bulbs off as much as you can.  These can be huge sources of heat, especially if you have lights on all over the place.

Setting up standing fans to blow on the computer case doesn’t do much good.  You’re better off turning the fan so it blows on you instead.  After all, it’s the perspiration being evaporated from your skin that makes the air feel cool; otherwise, it’s just the same warm air getting blown around.  The same goes for ceiling fans.

If you have variable speed fans in your computer, turn them up all the way.  If they’re noisy, you’ll get used to the constant hum.  If not, the higher speed is better for moving the air around the computer anyway.

Make sure all the fans and vents are free of dust.  A can of compressed air will do wonders.  If you’re blowing out a fan, don’t let it spin when blowing it out (or it will wear out the motor and bearings).  Hold the fan with a finger or stick a pen, pencil, or straw between the blades to keep it from spinning.

Don’t shove the computer into a wall or corner so that it blocks the air/fan vents.  You will trap hot air behind the computer.  It is better to pull the computer out from the wall a few inches to allow better air circulation.  If you keep your equipment locked up in a small closet, leave the door open.  Otherwise, it’ll heat up like an oven in there.

If you’re OCing, go back to stock speeds.  Higher speeds = more heat.

Leave off your set of speakers and use headphones instead.  Speakers, especially those with subwoofers, can generate a considerable amount of heat, while headphones use next to nothing.

Turn off the printer if you’re not using it.  This will both save on electricity and contribute to keeping the temperature down.

Turn off your monitors when you’re not using them and/or set a low time limit for them in Power Management in the Control Panel.  Monitors, especially CRTs, kick out a considerable amount of heat.

If you know you’re not going to be using the computer for more than an hour, turn it off.  The computer itself is one of the largest generators of heat in the room.

Turn off external hard drives if you’re not using them.  If you’ve ever felt a bare hard drive while it was running, they can get very warm (almost hot) to touch.

Try to keep the computers as close to the floor as possible.  Remember: hot air rises, and the warmest air will be nearest the ceiling, while the coolest air near the floor.  In the case of basements, make sure that your equipment is far enough above the floor so that it won’t have contact with damp concrete (dehumidifiers help, but don’t always completely eliminate this problem, especially in unfinished basements).

As for anything else…if it runs on electricity and you don’t really need it running, turn it off and/or unplug it.  Not only will you be conserving power, but offering some relief from the heat as well.  I hope these tips will help keep you and your computer(s) cooler this summer!

(Originally published on a now-defunct blog)