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Heat & Computers Don’t Mix

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The “Weekly Rant” column was featured in the PC Mechanic Newsletter since 2005. Topics relate to some aspect of technology, which include opinions on hardware, software, new technology, technology companies, and computing standards.

The heat the last couple weeks has been fairly intense, especially in more southern areas, but even as far north as mid-way up the Canadian provinces. Comments of “hot enough for ya?” have been whistled out between parched lips before touching a cool glass of lemonade.

Yes, some of you (or rather, many of you) probably have air conditioning and don’t give the heat wave much of a second thought unless you have to wander outdoors. However, for the rest of us, we have to rely on various “tricks? too keep the house relatively cool throughout the day.

As much as people wilt from the heat, so do computers. Or rather, come to a grinding halt. I’ve talked to a number of techs this summer who have shook their heads at the way people take care of their computers and server rooms. They don?t often allow for heat.

In one case, there was a large business that stores its servers and phone system PBX inside a tiny closet. On any normal day, the closet gets uncomfortably warm if you should need to work in there on the phone system or servers. With the heat wave going on, lets just say over the weekend, everything overheated leaving the company with no servers or PBX system running come Monday morning. Luckily they didn’t fry anything, so after letting everything cool down for a few hours, everything was working again.

It seems short sighted to allow $20,000 worth of equipment risk being destroyed (not to mention all the user data on top of that) for being too cheap to invest in a $200 air conditioner or simply move everything to another room that did have A/C.

It’s cases like those where you don’t take care of your equipment that techs feel no sympathy for you when it dies on you. Especially after recommending several times beforehand that proper climate control equipment should be installed.

But of course, that’s either more work for your internal IT staff, or more business for a 3rd party support specialist, like in this case. Either way, the business looses money not only for the cost of repair and replacement, but for lost time for all the employees that need access to the computer systems.

(Originally published in the newsletter)