Electronic Dog Days of Summer

Tina Riedel
Monday, July 22, 2013 - 12:45pm

Whether you’re planning a vacation this summer or sticking around town, it’s important to remember that the hot, hazy, humid dog days of summer can be as harmful to desktops, laptops, cell phones, and tablets as they are to humans or pets. Here are a few tips to keep our wired friends from turning into next months' recycle:

At Home

Check and clean the air vents on desktop computers, especially if the computer is located under a desk or near the floor.
Dust can accumulate quickly over the air vents on the metal case of desktop computers. This is because they generate static electricity, which, over time, turns them into little dust magnets.

If your home computer is located in a room with no air conditioning, use a small fan to keep the air in the room circulating.
Air temperature can be moderated several degrees by circulating it with a small fan. Don't point it at your computer

Turn off your home computer when not in use, when on vacation, or during electrical storms.
Not only is it healthier for your computer, but turning off your computer can lower the temperature in the room by several degrees. If you’re home computer is a laptop, unplug and switch to battery power during a storm. 

Use a surge protector to guard against electrical spikes.
Short power outages and spikes are common during the summer months. 

If your computer is directly connected via a cable to a cable modem, disconnect it during severe weather or before taking a vacation.
LAN (network) cables can carry incredibly high voltage if lightening strikes the wire coming into your home from your cable provider. This is not a concern if your computer or laptop is using a wireless connection. 

On the Road

If vacationing with your laptop, bring along a small surge protector or a spare battery.
In the event of severe weather, using a surge protector or running on battery power can protect you from surges and lightning strikes. 

Use a good, well-fitted laptop or tablet case that can guard against temperature extremes, humidity, and sunlight.
A good laptop or tablet case adds a layer of protection and offers some flexibility if extremes can't be avoided.  

Don’t leave your electronics in your car.
If you forget, allow enough time for the device to cool off before using it.

Never leave phones, laptops, or tablets sitting in direct sun.
Damage from direct sunlight isn't always readily apparent, but can weaken components and shorten the lifespan of a device.

Don't bring your laptop to the beach.
Tempting as it may be, sand is pervasive and invasive, to say nothing of the damaging effects direct sun can have on your screen. If adhering to this rule means leaving it in a car, park in the shade.