As the holiday decorations go up, you may find yourself dreading the onset of cold weather and wintery conditions. While you’re pulling out the winter coats, cleaning out the chimneys, and readying your home for the months ahead, don’t forget to consider how the winter can affect your computer equipment. Be mindful of wintery risks to protect yourself from data loss and equipment malfunction.
Winter Risk #1: Excess Cold
Even during the winter, your home should remain warm enough to avoid any ill effect on your computing equipment. However, take extra care with your portable devices (including cell phones, tablets, and laptops) during cold weather. Taking a computer from a cold temperature to a warmer temperature can cause moisture to condense in the computer, which can cause damage. This is most likely to occur if you leave your device in a very cold place for a few hours or overnight and power it up immediately upon entering a warm building.
To avoid this damage, try to reduce the amount of time you leave your devices in cold conditions. If you must regularly transport or leave devices in the cold, you can purchase insulating cases to mitigate the temperature shifts. If a computer has been exposed to a prolonged period of cold, allow a few minutes for it to warm up before powering it on.
Winter Risk #2: Dust
Your heating system can blow a lot of dust into your home’s environment, especially the first few times it gets up and running for the season. That dust can get into your computer and prevent the fan from dispelling the heat generated from the computer’s internal components, causing it to slow down, overheat, or worse. Dusty buildup can significantly shorten the life of a computer!
The single best thing you can do for your machine is to clean it thoroughly every 6–12 months. Blow out the dust, pet hair, pollen, and other gunk from the keyboard and fan before it builds up. If you’re already having issues or don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, winter is a great time to consult a computer professional to give it a thorough cleaning and maintenance upgrade.
Winter Risk #3: Static
You may have noticed that as it gets colder outside, you are more susceptible to static electricity shocks inside your home—those little sparks that fly when you touch conductive objects, especially metal. Generally, these aren’t a big risk for your computer as long as you aren’t exposed to its internal parts. However, if you’re performing any sort of maintenance or upgrades (adding extra memory, a sound card, etc.), make sure you take precautions to avoid damage.
Make sure the computer is plugged into a grounded outlet (a three-pronged outlet), and turn its power completely off using the main power switch on the power supply rather than the power button. Before touching any internal components, touch a metal part of your computer case with your hand to “ground” yourself and neutralize your static charge; repeat this grounding process periodically as you work.
Another great option is to call the professionals at Dymin for all your computer repair and maintenance needs. Make sure you are running at your peak potential and have appropriate, adequate data backups in place. Our on-site computer repair services are available for residential and business customers in the Des Moines, Iowa, metro area. Contact the Dymin service professionals to talk about your computer service needs and schedule an appointment today!