7 tips to keep your tech from overheating

Summer heat waves are a dangerous time for a computer, game console, smartphone or gadget that produces heat. Here are seven tips that will help your electronics survive the hottest temperatures.

Why do electronics generate heat?

Before we get to the advice, let’s take a moment to consider why gadgets generate heat in the first place and why it’s bad for them. Computers and other electronic devices generate heat because when electricity flows through a conductor, including the semiconductor material in computer chips, some electrons collide with atoms or impurities in the material, creating resistance. .

Since energy is conserved (transformed but never destroyed), these electron collisions create kinetic energy in the molecules of the conductor, which is heat. Electronic devices with computer chips are especially in need of removing waste heat from their chips and conductors. If they don’t, the chips’ transistors won’t work properly. With that in mind, here are some things you can do to keep your gadgets from overheating.

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Avoid direct sunlight, hot cars and extreme heat

It probably sounds obvious, but don’t use your electronic device outside when it’s extremely hot outside. The hot air circulating in the device will not be able to properly cool your gadget. Also avoid direct sunlight hitting the device, which will heat it up considerably. And if your car has baked in the sun, don’t let your gadgets roast in the heat, which can even damage a gadget that isn’t turned on. Once you’re in the car, keep your tech off until you’ve ventilated or turned on the air conditioning.

As an extension of this, whenever possible, only use heat-sensitive gadgets when you have air conditioning. The cold air from the AC will help remove heat from your unit while it is running. If that’s not available, point a fan directly at your device and keep it shaded as much as possible.

Use a cooling pad or laptop stand

If you’re using your laptop for long periods of time in a hot environment, it might be a good idea to use a cooling pad. These devices often include additional fans or heat sinks that help regulate the temperature of your device to prevent it from overheating.

If you don’t want to spend money on a cooling pad, just place your laptop on an elevated platform. Or you can buy a laptop stand. The greater the distance between your laptop and the table, the better the potential airflow.

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Give him space to breathe

Fans and heat sinks can only remove waste heat from a gadget if the air temperature outside the device is colder than the air exiting the device. This heat transfer process relies on a supply of cool air to work, and you can’t get it if your device (such as a game console, gaming PC, or the like) is completely enclosed in a center entertainment center or cabinet with little-to-no airflow. To remedy this, open the doors of your TV stand or place the unit on the top shelf behind the TV where it can air out.

RELATED: How to Automatically Cool Your Entertainment Center When It’s Too Hot

Keep it clean and don’t block the vents

Dust accumulation is one of the main causes of overheating in computers and game consoles. Be sure to clean your tech regularly to prevent dust from clogging vents, heat sinks, or fans. Dust impedes airflow, causing your device to overheat.

Also, make sure the vents on your device aren’t blocked by your hands, knees, a table, or anything else. If so, it will restrict the airflow to cool the device, which will lead to rapid overheating.

RELATED: How to clean dust from your laptop

Disable overclocking or use low power mode

Overclocking is a term used to describe the practice of forcing a gadget (such as a PC) to run faster than the manufacturer intended. It can be used to increase the speed of a computer, but it also causes your device to generate more heat, which is bad when the environment around the PC is hot. To cope, disable overclocking or try to locate a low-power mode that will underclock the device’s CPU and use less power, which will also generate less heat.

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Disable unused or background features

If you don’t use certain features on your device, turn them off. For example, if you’re not using Bluetooth, turn it off, which will both save battery life and potentially reduce thermal load on the device.

Additionally, some apps on PCs and smartphones continue to run in the background, constantly checking for updates and heating up your device. Close these background tasks on a PC or Mac or turn off background app refresh on an iPhone, for example.

And while you’re in the heat, you can choose to use less CPU-intensive apps or games. In general, games with detailed graphics can generate a lot more heat than simpler games that don’t strain your device’s graphics capabilities.

RELATED: How to prevent your Mac from overheating

Take breaks

If you’re using your tech for long periods of time in extreme heat, be sure to take breaks from time to time. The best way to do this is to turn off the device completely and let it sit for a few minutes. But if you can’t do that, close all apps or pause a movie and let it sit for a while without using it. This will give your device a chance to cool down before you start using it again.

Good luck and stay safe out there!

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About Anne Wurtsbach

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