Storage units are helpful when it comes to putting away old furniture, clothes, documents or toys. For sensitive devices such as computers and other electronics, you may want to prepare the storage unit and the computer instead of simply stashing the computer for months at a time. To understand the risks of casual computer storage practices, take a look at what could go wrong and how you can keep your system safe.
Computers Are Sturdy, Aren't They?
The average personal computer or laptop may be designed for most walks of life, but they can't withstand all conditions. Households with a lot of dust, high humidity or excessive air pollution such as smoke may see computer failure sooner than cleaner households if proper maintenance isn't performed on a regular basis.
In a person's possession, dust and settled pollutants can lead to overheating and burnt circuitry. In a storage unit, the same kind of buildup could happen. Although you have the benefit of not leaving the computer on in storage, buildup can still be damaging.
Dust can collect moisture and other airborne materials, which can settle against the inside of the computer. Corrosion could take place at a slow rate, which could weaken some of the contacts inside of the computer and lead to poor performance--although complete failure is a minor and unlikely risk.
The bigger problem is that once the computer turns on, you'll have dust caked against the inside of the system. Dry dust may simply create an insulating layer that increases the computer temperature faster, and may have a small risk of creating miniature burns if you continue to overheat the computer. Damp dust is the bigger problem, as any moisture on dust that connects electrical circuits that shouldn't be connected can result in a circuit burnout.
Finally, damp dust is difficult to clean off. Even if you try to clean the computer after storage, you'll be performing a tricky task of needing to scrub firmly, but not so firmly that you ruin the electrical traces.
Sealing And Storage Unit Conditioning
The first and easier step in protecting your computer is to put it in a sealed container. A large storage container that can be closed with a clamping lid can go a long way towards keeping your computer safe. It doesn't need to be airtight, but a computer-sized airtight container may be worth the investment if you have valuable information on the computer.
You should consider preparing the storage unit for a more stable environment as well. A dehumidifier and air filter can go a long way towards keeping not only your computer, but any other belongings you have in better condition.
If the area is humid on a regular basis, make sure to get a dehumidifier that is rated for the storage unit size. Contact either the storage facility for dehumidifier suggestions or a dehumidifier manufacturer for an explanation of models rated for the storage unit size. Check it out before you start moving your items in, too, to ensure it's the right place for you.
Discuss your computer storage needs and cleanliness expectations with a storage facility representative to get the right unit and support for storing your computer.