Witnessing your computer or laptop succumb to hardware errors can turn your world into a panic-filled nightmare. You may have a rapidly approaching deadline overseen by a boss or teacher who won't care that your report is locked away in your hard drive, or you might recover from the hiccup only to discover vital or sentimental files have been corrupted. You can't predict every malfunction, but you can help reduce their likelihood by fighting a common culprit: dust.

How Does Dust Get to Your Electronics?

Dust is lightweight and can be tossed through the air by a breeze from the AC coming on or a person walking by. Slits in the case bring in air to the computer, but they also offer an opening for dust to sneak inside. If your PC has multiple fans, one or more are likely designed to draw in air and will pull dust in alongside of it.

Even tightly sealed, compartmentalized electronic devices have ventilation openings designed to allow airflow in to remove heat buildup. You can look for models that are dust resistant or come with extra features designed to fight dust, but a truly 'dust-proof' piece of equipment will either be prohibitively expensive or not as effective as advertised.

How Does Dust Cause Damage to Electronics?

There are two primary ways that dust can bring harm to your digital devices. The first is more frightening to hear about but less likely to occur. The piles of dust do contain conductive material, and there is a potential for an electrical short if they gather in the wrong place. The spark can fry the sensitive electronic pathways and potentially start a fire if there is enough of a dust collection.

The way that most people will experience the horrors of dust is in the slow, oppressive grip of the growing blanket of fuzz. The airways in the ventilation ports will become clogged, fans will have a harder time spinning, and heat in general will be slower to move away from your computer.

What Can Be Done to Protect Your Devices?

The first thing you can do is implement regular cleaning of your home's airways and the interior of your electronic devices. You can safely clean out your computer's interior with a can of condensed air; Just remember to never turn it upside down to avoid moisture damage. For the air ducts, you will want to call on the help of the Dust Doctors to give your home's respiratory system a breath of fresh air.

Finally, you'll want to perform daily dusting or vacuuming alongside installing an air filter. These will help clear out the bits of dust that naturally accumulate or find their way into the computer room.

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