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Keep Computers Clean and Up to Date

27 Jul 10

In late July, there was an incident reported in which an unattended, very dusty computer tower overheated, causing some smoke; an electrical fire was averted but was a danger. The computer was more than 5 years old, and it appears the ventilation fan was in poor condition. We would like to share with the CU community some tips to avoid overheating.

Dust drawn through computers' ventilation systems can create a fire hazard when machines are left on unattended for extended periods of time. Keep your computing environment reasonably dust free and work with your local IT support to occasionally clean out the machines as part of a maintenance cycle (about every 6 months). Replace fans when they start making noises. If your computer is older than 4 or 5 years, you should consider replacing it - and always replace your machine with one that has an Energy Star rating.

Please remember too that recycling your old computer is the best way to dispose of it. For more information, visit http://www.environment.columbia.edu/wycd/old-computers.