Overheating Computer – Cleaning the Heat Sink & Fans

Before and after photo of an overheating computer with blocked Heat Sink.

The most common problem with an overheating computer is the heat sink and fans being clogged with dust and debris. The dust is an insulator. Heating causes components to expand and contract (when it’s on and off) but when it gets dangerously hot it will cause your computer to crash. As you can see from the before and after photo above, it basically chokes the air from cooling the processor.

How often should I clean my computer?

There are a lot of variables in this calculation. It’s usually best to monitor it and clean when necessary. Here are some examples of time frames:

  • My PC Tower sits on the ground and we have up to 10 animals at any one time. (Crazy, I know!) I clean my tower out every 3 months.
  • I have a client with a bakery business who’s PCs & Printers get cleaned every 3 months due to the particles of flour that are sucked into the computer.
  • I have a client who lives near a dusty park who needs his done every 6 months.

Common Mistakes

  • Don’t forget to turn your power off before cleaning anything.
  • Always use a static electricity wrist band to protect your circuits.
  • Clean and reapply thermal paste if you remove the heat sink.
  • Do not use a vacuum internally. This carries a high risk of frying your circuits due to static electricity.
  • Be careful not to break your warranty terms and conditions by opening your computer.

Check out our DIY Computer Repair tips page for other handy hints.

Let us clean your Overheating Computer

There is a fair bit of risk and danger involved so we recommend you leave cleaning to the professionals. Keeping your computer clean will allow it to run faster and last longer. It’s like giving your car a service / oil change. Call us on 0414 899 254 for immediate response or you can contact us to make an appointment.