As an IT Professional it is my job to perform preventative maintenance on computers. One part of my job is removing crud from cooling fans. In most cases it’s business as usual, (Open case, blow out fans and dust bunnies run out of the PC.) But in some situations the fan is caked with a thick layer of ultra-sticky dust, hair and other stuff. The damage is done. At this point the entire fan assembly should be replaced. I share my findings with my client and they reluctantly agree.
Tobacco smoke leaves a sticky residue on every surface it touches. In electronics fans move air through heat-sinks to cool components that will burn up otherwise. Add some sticky smoke and regular house dust and you end up with hot chunk of aluminum covered in tar and dander. The fan can no longer pass air through the heat-sink. The computer will overheat and eventually burn itself to death.
Did you know that some manufacturers will not honor a warranty if tobacco smoke damage is suspected.
When you smoke in your home, your electronics may suffer the same fate as this one did – DEATH. In a situation like this, the dust, tar and heat together is a fire hazard. It is not uncommon for something like this to ignite. I blew this one out for a few minutes with high pressure air. The crud barely moved. The components failed and were permanently damaged due to excessive heat. Time to buy a new PC. In some situations you can replace the fans and heat-sinks. If the environment stays the same, the parts will need to be replaced frequently. A typical fan assembly with heat-sink costs $25-$40. The labor is $25. That’s $50-$65 you will have to pay for just this one fan. Your power supply (a critical component) costs $50 to $100 plus labor. If any other components are damaged from heat you might as well buy a new PC.
This is how a non-smokers fan looks after it has been simply blown out with a can of air. This fan is clean and air can pass through easily. This computer will run better and last longer because it operates the way it was designed.
Until new designs are invented with fan-less cooling systems, please do your computer a favor and do not smoke near it. In the meantime keep your PC in a room with fresh air. Or just smoke outside. Who knows, you may even quit smoking one day. I did.
I’d love to hear some comments about this. Please share your thoughts below.