A Clean Computer is a Happy Computer
Have you ever noticed that the vents around your computer seem to pick up a lot of thick dust? Computers and Laptops house internal fans that keep the inside components from overheating, which essentially makes them mini-vacuums that constantly suck air and dust in. Dust can act as an insulating blanket and prevent your hardware from cooling, causing damage over time and wearing down your computer faster. Hit the jump for some more information and some ways to help keep your computer clean so it can live a long healthy life.
When dust starts to cover the inner components of your computer, they can start to overheat, causing a decrease in performance and a greater chance of failure. Dust can bridge circuit connections, causing electrical malfunction, and clog up the mechanical components causing trouble with fans, CD/DVD drives, and other moving parts. In extreme conditions, dust can become a fire hazard.
Fortunately, keeping dust at bay is easy in most office environments where dust isn't severe. Keep your workstation elevated off the floor. Keeping it on top of your desk with several inches on all sides to breathe will insure better airflow and reduce the amount of dust it picks up from the floor. Keep the area around the computer clean and dust free as much as possible. Every 6-12 months the computer should be carefully blown out with compressed air to remove the inevitable layer of dust inside.
The average office or home has a dust concentration of under .05 micrograms per cubic meter. Factories, wood-shops, and machine shops can often have 1000 times that, and other contaminants can be in the air that can also degrade PC hardware. In these situations, using breathable dust covers or sleeves can keep the airflow going while protecting your investments from the nearly-invisible particles that cause havoc on them. There are plenty of products out there, such as ShopShield dust bags, which allow air circulation but filter out dust.
At Directive, our technicians make it their best practice whenever they need to open up a PC case, they take the liberty to dust it out. If extending the life of your hardware is important to you and your organization, keeping your equipment clean and providing plenty of airflow is probably the least technical step you can take.