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[ The PC Guide | System Care Guide | System Care: Protecting Your PC | General System Care Factors | Environmental Care Factors ]

Humidity

Much as the case is with temperature, computers prefer moderate humidity as opposed to either extreme. PCs are not as sensitive to humidity issues as they are to temperature, but they are still affected by it.

Obviously, computers and moisture don't mix well; you need to keep your computer dry. That means keeping it away from places or things that can get it wet. This includes the obvious: don't put a PC in the bathroom or kitchen, for example. It also includes the not-so-obvious: watch out for a PC located near a window if it is frequently opened, and be wary of beverages placed near the PC that could spill on it and short it out.

As for the air itself, using a PC in a humid area can be problematic, but only if the climate is extremely humid--a few warm days and nights is not a problem, but using the PC in a tropical rainforest is a different matter entirely. Humidity leads to corrosion and possible condensation risk, which can damage equipment. It also makes cooling the PC more difficult. Conversely, air that is too dry can cause problems in two different ways. First, it increases the amount of static electricity that is in the room, increasing the chances of a discharge. Second, it can cause faster wearout of some components that dry out over time. This includes some types of capacitors, as well as rubber rollers on laser printers.

Finally, humidity can exacerbate problems related to dramatic climate changes. Going from a cold environment to a warm one can lead to condensation, which is why you must wait for the PC to warm up before turning it on. Obviously, if the warm environment is also a humid one, the chances of condensation are increased.

Next: Dirty Environments


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