Whenever your air conditioner starts to malfunction, chances are the problem started with bad ventilation. Clogged vents mean that air doesn’t reach every corner of your house or the office. An unchanged HVAC filter makes the whole unit work harder. That can lead to overheating, faster wear and tear, and lower air quality. That’s why preventative maintenance is one of the most essential parts of having a well-running air conditioner.
Your computer’s fan is exactly the same way. Your CPU generates a lot of heat, and the fan is designed to pull all of that hot air away from the internal parts. The more powerful your computer is, the more it needs that fan to keep things from breaking down. In this instance, power can mean anything from speed to processing power to extra components inside the computer. As computers and servers get more complex, even water-cooled systems are becoming a popular alternative.
Hopefully, your coworkers’ desktops and laptops don’t need anything so complex. But if a department just got a bit of a hardware upgrade or you see a surge in network users, keep an eye out for tickets with these complaints:
1. “My computer keeps randomly shutting down.”
When computers overheat, it can cause irreparable damage to the inner components. That’s why computers are built with a safety measure in mind. If the temperature gets too warm or there isn’t enough air circulation, the computer will shut off. Because it’s a sudden system shutdown, this can destroy a lot of in-progress work.
So tell people with this complaint to make sure their fan is blowing, isn’t too loud, and their computer isn’t too warm. A shutdown or two doesn’t necessarily mean the fan is broken or no longer strong enough for the system. It could just mean something was blocking the vent. This is a common issue in laptops, especially.
2. “My computer doesn’t sound like it usually does.”
People know that computers have a constant whirring sound, but they don’t necessarily know that it’s a fan. When that noise suddenly kicks up in intensity, they’re going to call IT. This is good news because it means you can try to solve the problem before it grows. Occasional clunks and grinds will also alert the average user that something is wrong with the computer.
But when the fan is silent, most people won’t notice. An absence of the usual startup whir and the constant, low-level hum is not seen as a sign for concern. For your company’s most valuable hardware, consider adding a sensor that can read the temperature and auto-generate a ticket if the temperature goes up. With the increased accessibility of the Internet of Things, you might be able to enable all of the office desktops and servers.
3. “My computer smells like it’s burning.”
Your coworkers will have to try very hard to actually start a fire. But computers can start to smell like dusty warmth, and that’s another sign the computer is overheating. Dust and dirt get into desktops through the vents, and that buildup will start to clog the fan. Sometimes the problem has grown to the point that the fan needs to be replaced. Other times, you can just clear out the computer with a can of air or a vacuum.
Just like with a commercial or residential air conditioning system, the heat has to go somewhere. If a fan isn’t pulling it out and safely dispersing it, then all of the moving parts could be damaged. So build an SOP of when it’s time to replace the fans, schedule routine maintenance, and make sure the fans match the hardware. Go to IT Networks Australia Pty Ltd for more computer tips and IT processes.