Overheating is one of the most common issues that laptops face these days. Over the years, laptops have become slimmer and more powerful which is great but all of these come at a heavy cost and that is overheating.
Thin laptops today are equipped with high end processors like Intel core i5 or i7 and with the strong graphics cards that these laptops come with, heating up to high temperatures is very common.
Laptop overheating is a major problem for any laptop users. Laptops are prone to overheating because its hardware ingredients are attached closely to each other with little space for air movement. Overheating damages both laptops and its internal components.
When the temperature inside the laptop move above 35º C (95º F), the danger of damage to important internal components increases. If the problem of overheating was not prevented at time, it will costly for you to fix it. One should regularly take the preventative measures to keep their laptop safe and its component from damaging. But before preservation and cure, one should be aware of its causes and symptoms.
This article is especially made for gamers and for professionals who use high end laptops with lots of processing power. Gaming laptops specifically are bound to overheat with use and they can be a real threat to your laptop. Sometimes, permanently damaging the internals and melting core system hardware can be fatal for your laptop.
Today, we will tackle this overheating problem on your laptop step by step and I will show you how you can easily take care of your laptop’s high temperatures and take necessary precautions for the future.
What Causes Overheating?
Before we move on to the prevention, we want to know why and how does a laptop get to those high temperatures.
The main reason is because of insufficient cooling.
One of the most common reasons for insufficient cooling is the blockage of cooling vents because of accumulated dust particles. This clogs up your fans and as we know, thin laptops are prone to dust particles getting clogged up on their fans. Moisture and grease can also get accumulated if you’ve been using your laptop for more than a year without any servicing done.
Dust on Fans and Air Vents
There are many reason for laptops’ overheating, but the most common one is dust building up on the fans and air vents which can trap heat. Dust reduce fans function that cause overheating of laptop. Dust blocks intake grills or exhaust ports, that clogs up fans. Dust and debris can gather in and around the air vents over time.
This dust in and around air vents block the airflow and cause the fan to run faster than normal to cool the system. The heat produced inside cannot find a way to leave the laptops body. This is why, while using laptop, the person will gradually be able to sense the heat emitting from it.
There are two types of vents in a laptop: one for intaking cool air inside the laptop; other for releasing out hot air from laptop. The user should confirm by checking as the outflow vents are blowing hot air and the intake vents are letting air in.
Sometimes the cause of overheating is dirty hardware. This can lead to loss of the data. Try cleaning out these areas as best you can before you move on to another solution. Dust under the processor and RAM doors to get rid of any dust and debris.
Faulty Laptop Fan
Malfunctioning of fan may lead to overheating of the laptop as there is no other means to cool down laptop except the fan. The fan may stop working when laptop is booted up. It can also be stopped by damage of the capacitor. Check to see if the fan is running properly.
Incorrect Laptop Placement
Another possible reason of overheating is wrong placement of laptop which blocks airflow through the air’ vents. Putting laptop on a cloth surface, such as your lap, a bed, or a couch cushion, can obstruct the airflow. And thus air blockage for a long time causes overheating and potential damage. Most laptops have vents on the bottom.
Step 1: Find and Clean the Heat Sources
Every laptop has areas where a lot of heat is produced. This is normally from the power source, CPU, graphics card and motherboard deck. From here, laptops are designed in a way so that the heat gets transferred and cooled with air vents and fans. Fans are located almost in every ends of the laptop to control the air flow that equalizes the overall temperature of the laptop.
Check the Air vents
Just like desktop computers, laptops need a way to expel the heat and hot air that’s produced in a laptop. Without any air flow inside the laptop, there won’t be any heat transferring going on which means accumulation of heat and increase in fan speed.
Some high end gaming laptops have massive air vents behind the back.
You will likely see many air vents with in the laptop. Some are intake air vents where cool air draws inward into the laptop and some are outflow vents where fans expel the hot air.
Check Outflow vents if they are blowing hot air
While the laptop is running, check the outflow vents if they are blowing any hot air. If you find that hot air is blowing out of the air vents on the sides and back, most likely your laptop has accumulated a lot of dust particles and you should open your laptop and clean them up.
You can do that by first carefully taking out the components. Then use a small brush to brush off the dust particles. Ideally, you can also use your mouth to blow them off. And while the fan is out, don’t forget to blow out the area where the fan sits, as well.
Step 2: Cleaning of Dust
As it was mentioned before that dust gathering in and around fans and vents is a sure cause of overheating, so the first and most important thing is to clean the fan(s) that provide(s) cooling to the CPU and graphics card. Regarding cleaning, first of all the user should know how to open laptop and access fans and vents. But before cleaning, the user is require to shut down laptop, remove battery, and unplug the power strip.
After this, a cotton swab is required. Cotton swab should be immersed in alcohol. Use this dipped cotton swab carefully and clean the fans. The user should make sure that before connecting laptop to the power source, the alcohol content should be evaporated.
Additionally, you can also use a silicon gel to clean the internals of your laptop. It works great and it is much safer than using brushes that may damage your internal hardware chips.
Regarding exhaust port or air vent, user can clean it out by with a mini laptop vacuum cleaner. The exhaust port usually sits on the side of the laptop. Exhaust port blows out hot air from the laptop.
Step 3: Replacing faulty Fans
If a fan is making a loud growling noise or not moving, there is an issue with the fan. The fan may stop working after you boot up your laptop, so it is advised to shut down laptop and restart it after a couple of minutes.
A fan may also stop working due to a damaged capacitor, which should be replaced immediately. Do not use a laptop if fan is still not working, as internal temperature will increase and can damage other important components.
The best advice is to replace the fans completely even if the fans are dirty. The new fans are going to be much better for your laptop.
Step 3: Making sure there is adequate ventilation
To decrease the likelihood of overheating problems, make sure the fans on your laptop are able to ventilate properly. Proper ventilation for the system is important for laptop operation.
Follow these guidelines to ensure adequate ventilation: Keep the laptop upright and on a sturdy, level surface; Provide at least 15.25 cm (6 in) of clearance around each vent. Moreover, if the laptop is being used at high altitudes, above 1500 m (5000 ft), take extra safety to keep the laptop cool. When moving the computer to a higher altitude, the temperature inside the computer decreases by approximately 1º C ( 34º F) every 300 m (1000 ft) of altitude.
Step 4: Buy Laptop Cooler or Cooling Pad
There is also accessories for laptop that can reduce the heating of laptop. In this regard laptop coolers or cooling pad are the best accessories. But before investing in cooling pad, the flow of air into and out of laptop should be understood. Because most laptops suck in air from the bottom in order to keep cool laptop. In this sense warm air rises upwards. Therefore, a cooler that places below the laptop and sucks air away from it, does not contribute to laptop cooling and rather increases overheating.
So if laptop has intake grills at the bottom, then buy a cooling pad that cools it and moves the cool air upwards, i.e. into the laptop. A passive cooler be best as it will not consume power, and will only absorbs heat. Laptop cooling pads are known to reduce the temperatures of your laptop by atleast 20% to 25% which is really impressive but it also depends upon what kind of Cooling pad you are using.
Here are some of the best ones that we have got great results with.
- Tree New Bee High Performance 1200 RPM
- Havit HV-F2056 15.6″-17″ USB powered
- Pccooler Laptop Cooling Pad 17.3″
- Carantee Laptop Cooling Pad 5 Quite Fans
- IETS GT300 Double Blower Laptop Cooling Pad
- Nobebird Laptop Cooler
Precautions that you can take to prevent overheating of your laptop
1. Managing Fan Speeds
Continuously airflow within laptop reduce fans speed. When your fan is running at high speeds, it implies that the CPU is working hard and it may get hotter. For managing speed of fans the user should install software such as SpeedFan for Windows.
2. Keep laptop in low temperature Places
Laptop should not be exposed to hot sunlight during using. Therefore, you should keep your laptop in the shade whenever temperatures are high. It should be used in room which provides only room temperature. Temperature above than room temperature will cause overheating due to due to an expansion of hard drive and battery damage.
3. Put Laptop on a Hard and Flat Surface
Most laptops suck in cooling air through their bottoms. Uneven surfaces, like a blanket, pillow, or your lap, obstruct your laptop’s airflow. It leads to overheating. This cause of heating can easily be avoided by placing laptop on hard and flat surface. For removing this cause of overheating, user should use a tray or buy a special laptop holder or lap stand. Below, in the picture, is laptop tray.
4. Don’t overcharge
I remember when I totally damaged my HP laptop because I used to leave it on charge all night long. Don’t do this. Either your battery is going to get spoiled and become totally useless or your laptop will start overheating. You should avoid overcharging of laptop, as it cause battery damage which in turn lead to overheating.
5. Softwares to check internal temperature
There is many types of softwares that provide monitoring of internal temperature. There is some system information tools which also support temperature readings. The benefits of those programs is that it will let you to check up not just temperature of internal components but also about other states of laptop. For checking actual heat values inside laptop, use a tool such as HWMonitor and an application such as Speccy or any number of others. This might also reveal which part of your laptop is getting too hot. Typically, you’ll find that the CPU or GPU are overheating the most.
So these were some of the most common reasons and prevention methods of laptop overheating. So if your laptop is overheating, before taking any prevention method first of all point out the best possible reason of your laptop overheating. This will help you from wasting your money and time on reasons which aren’t an issue in the first place. Also if laptop keeps overheating too frequently than your best bet is to take it to its manufacturer (if its under warranty) or some local repair shop to get it checked.
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