Temperatures that can best be described as sub-tropical. A whirring noise that gets louder and louder with each passing day. Programs crashing halfway through important projects.
A device that’s been running hot lately is bad news all around. Not only can overheating laptops and PCs cause burns, but the high temperatures can also permanently damage hardware components and cause lifespans to dwindle.
If your tech is becoming too hot to handle, then we’re here to help. Below, we’ll look at the warning signs to watch out for, as well as some tricks and tips you can use to cool those rising temperatures, whether you’re at work or at home.
Why does tech overheat?
The electricity needed to power your computer generates heat. This heat, unfortunately, can end up damaging the same components that generate it in the first place. As a result, computers and laptops have metal heatsinks, fans and vents to try to keep things cool.
However, if the ventilation becomes blocked, a fan breaks or the cooling becomes faulty in some way, then your computer can start to overheat. This is where problems can arise.
Modern processors and graphics chips can force themselves to run at lower speeds to generate less heat. But sometimes thermal throttling – as this is known as – and spinning fans aren’t enough. In older or poorly made machines, the heat can still damage certain parts of the motherboard before the device automatically turns itself off.
And sometimes, the motherboard becomes so hot its components can melt or snap off, causing the computer to stop working entirely.
Spotting the warning signs of overheating tech
Knowing the symptoms of an overheating device can stop things from getting worse over time. If you’ve noticed any of the following, then chances are your device is starting to feel the heat.
Hot to the touch
Sitting with your laptop on your lap should generally feel comfortable. The clue’s right there in the name, after all. But when an overheating device constantly emanates hot air from its air vents, then it’s time to watch out.
Not only can a laptop that’s too hot end up scalding you, but extended periods of working in this position can also potentially cause male infertility too.
The disconcerting sound of a constantly spinning fan is a sure-fire sign your device is overheating. This is due to sensors inside the device’s processor controlling the fan according to the temperature.
If the device’s internal temperature is high, then the sensors will go into overdrive to try and cool things down, creating that worrying, high-volume whirr.
When you’re working on a device that’s struggling to carry out the simplest of tasks, then a day at the office can feel more like pushing a boulder up a mountain. And since apps, programs and tech are such a necessity in today’s working world, grinding your way through slow performance, constant freezes and inevitable crashes simply isn’t acceptable any longer.
Pixelated lines across the screen
If you’ve noticed streaks or tears appearing on your screen, then it’s a sign that the heat is becoming too much for your device’s graphics card. And while it’s not unusual for a graphics card to heat up while you’re playing video games, it shouldn’t be overheating when you’re trying to carry out simple daily duties.
If your device has been shutting down out of the blue a lot lately, this could be a sign of overheating. Many computers automatically shut down if they notice problems with the internal components. Unfortunately, this might mean unexpected shutdowns while you’re in the middle of important – and unsaved – work.
In some cases, you might see an error message that reads “Thermal Shutdown Occurred”. This means the Central Processing Unit (CPU) has reached a critical level. The computer has shut down on its own to avoid lasting damages. At this point, there’s some serious work that needs to be done to cool things down.
How to keep your computer from overheating
Keep your computer’s vents clear
When your computer’s vents are blocked, it’s very difficult for air to cool down your device. Make sure they have plenty of unobstructed space around them – including the surface on which your computer rests.
Now that a lot of us are working from home, you might be tempted to work with your device on your lap or in bed. But placing it on a blanket is one of the worst things you can do. Blankets and other non-flat surfaces end up choking the device’s airways.
Instead, opt for a hard, flat surface (a large book will even do the trick) to make sure your device has room to breathe whenever you’re using it.
Clean your computer’s fans and vents
All kinds of dust, debris and crumbs get into the crevices and ducts of your device, which can further affect airflow. If you know what you’re doing, you can take apart your laptop or computer to tackle the dust. Cotton swabs do the trick, but most people swear by a can of compressed air to clean out the dirt from their fans, heat sinks, and grilles.
Anytime there’s a build-up of dust within your device’s inner workings, it coats things in a layer of toasty insulation, severely hampering its lifespan. Getting rid of all the debris and dust will allow things to function far more freely and puts a few extra years on your device’s clock.
Use a laptop cooling pad
If you really can’t go without seating your laptop on your thighs, then you can always opt for a cooling pad. These handy items act like an external fan, keeping the outside of your computer out of the heat. However, they don’t have much of an effect on a computer’s internal heat sources, so you might want to try the other tips first before purchasing one.
Avoid programs that use a lot of CPU
If your device is in the habit of running programs that chew through CPU, then it won’t be long before it starts rapidly heating up to keep them running. Always close anything you might have left on in the background while you’re using other things to ensure smoother, faster, and cooler performance.
Check your computer’s location
We’re not referring to your network location here, but rather your computer’s physical location. Is your device situated close to other devices that might be blowing hot air onto it? If so, we’d recommend moving your laptop or computer away from such devices to ensure better performance.
Shut down your computer
In today’s digitally focused world, we tend to be switched on a lot of the time. Whether it’s working, streaming, gaming or anything else you’re using your device for, remember to give it a breather from time to time. Just like we do, our devices need to rest; try shutting them down overnight so they can take it easy after all that work.
CDL is one of the UK’s leading IT disposal companies, working to help private and public businesses safely retire and recycle their outdated IT assets. To find out how we could help your business, or for more of the latest tech news and advice, visit our homepage or call our team today on 0333 060 2846.