Do you own a laptop? If so at some time in the future you WILL need to clean your laptop’s internals to allow it to breathe. The inherent problem with laptops is that their small footprint can actually become the cause of the technologies greatest enemy “Heat”.
Laptop designs are changing continually. With technological obsolescence comes the reduced demand for longevity. Computers in general are replaced on average every 4.5 years according to a survey carried out by Crucial. This said laptops are designed to draw in ambient air and use this to remove the heat from a heat pipe connected to a small closely packed grill. Air is drawn in from any gaps and vents around the laptop pulling with it dust and dirt which over some time collects around the internals as it carves its way to the laptop’s internal fan.
From here it is forced through the narrow slits of the heatsink. Any obstacles on its journey will cause the air to collect and reduce the efficiency of cooling on your laptop.
How can you reduce the chance of overheating?
Firstly ensuring you have your laptop on a rigid surface and not for instance on the bed covers, as some people I know.
Secondly and the most common is after about 12 months, as the picture shows above, the inside of the heat sink gathers dust as the dust particles try to exit the chassis. This is invisible from the outside and most laptops aren’t designed to give easy access to this area without completely disassembling it.
So how do we clean this inaccessible dust collector without too much effort? Well, invest in a can of compressed air. These are great at cleaning hard to reach areas. When your laptop is turned on you should be able to feel a gentle flow of warm air from one of the vents on the side or back. When you identify this switch off your laptop and press the fine nozzle close up to the vent and spray inert air back into the laptop. You will have to move up and down the vent area numerous times to ensure the you have blown all the dust from the back of this heatsink.
Oh and one last word of warning, ensure you do this in the garage or outside because dependant on how long you have used the laptop you will cover the surrounding area with dust. It also goes without saying that if you suffer from dust allergies you should wear a mask and or protective clothing. Good luck and happy computing.