Computer Problems Related to Environmental Conditions

February 18, 2021 6:11 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Often computer problems can be related to environmental conditions (power problems, electrical grounding, poor phone line conditions, lack of adequate surge protection, temperature, moisture, smoke, dust). An on-site technician can evaluate these factors.

Computer Problems Raise Their Ugly Heads 

With coffee cup in hand, you sit down at your computer, turn it on and nothing happens. Why are you having computer problems? After you have checked all the usual culprits, you realize you need help. There are environmental reasons that could be causing you to have issues. Are you ready to find out what some of those reasons are? Let’s take a look.

Let’s start with the Obvious 

What would you think the most obvious computer problem might be? I thought about it and came up with power problems as being your number one thing to check. But where? The electrical outlet, your router/modem is unplugged; your computer or laptop is unplugged; what could it be?

Faulty Power Supply 

There are multiple reasons that sporadic problems can arise because of a faulty power supply. The most common power-related symptoms include:

>> Any power-on or system startup failures or lockups

>> Unplanned rebooting or intermittent lockups occur during normal operation.

>> The integrity of the digital data in the computer or other memory-type errors could occur.

>> Your data storage device that lives in the computer could be acting strangely.

>> The computer could be overheating because the fan isn’t working properly.

>> A small brownout can cause the system to restart.

>> You are getting shocked when you touch the computer case.

In addition, obvious reasons that will lead you to suspect you have a faulty power supply are your computer is just plain dead, you are seeing smoke at the outlet or computer location or you are hearing popping noises when the PC is turned on.

Extreme Power Surges

It is a well-known fact; power surges can occur from abrupt, large increases in voltage or currents in the power supply. Typically, surges only last a fraction of a second. They are usually the results of faulty wiring, downed power lines, or the sudden and heavy use of high-power electrical devices such as air conditioners during a heatwave.

But we are not talking about the normal run of the mill power surges. We are talking about lightning strikes! This creates a huge discharge of electricity that develops during a thunderstorm.

If you have your computer plugged into a wall socket that is turned on, even when it’s in standby or sleep mode, your unit is at risk.

Besides a faulty power supply, what is another computer problem you could be experiencing from an environmental cause?

Poor Phone Lines

Satellite internet is the most likely type of internet to go down in bad weather, but any type of internet can be affected by weather conditions. Cable, fiber, fixed-wireless, and DSL internet outages can happen anywhere during severe weather conditions or even due to construction.

But while satellite internet signal loss is more likely because of rain or other weather conditions interfering with the signal itself, other types of internet outages usually happen because of equipment and infrastructure failure during storms.

In addition to what we’ve mentioned thus far, what other environmental conditions can create havoc with your computer.

Dust and Smoke

Dust can be a problem because it can block fan vents. It can, in some cases, also affect insulating parts. What can happen? An excess of dust often causes overheating, but unless it contains substantial amounts of corrosive or conductive material (in which case you shouldn’t be breathing it), it is not as likely to damage the electrical components (beyond any overheating damage).

Another possibility is that if there is condensation inside the box, you can get a mixture of dust and moisture causing a conductive sludge. This would normally only occur if you bring the box in from an extremely cold environment (below 0C, roughly) into a humid indoor environment. To prevent that, just wrap the box tightly in plastic before bringing it indoors. You should then leave it wrapped for a couple of hours. This will allow it to warm up.

Smoke damage from a recent fire at your location or even close at hand like your next-door neighbor or business is hazardous to your internal electrical components. Smoke is corrosive and can lead to short-circuiting and even fire hazards in affected equipment.

When plastic or metal is subjected to high heat, these materials can release harmful chemicals into the air. Powering on damaged equipment can reheat compromised components, putting employees or families at risk of exposure to toxic fumes.

Even if you can’t see it, internal damage from smoke and heat is extremely dangerous and risky. Don’t assume they’re safe to use just because your electronics look the same.

Unusual Computer Problems

You might not think about this scenario causing heartache for your computer, but do you live in an apartment? Can you imagine taking a shower with your laptop in the next room close to the door and listening to music while you are enjoying a relaxing, warm massage for those sore muscles or even you being stressed out?

You may not be aware, but computers are rated for the maximum humidity they should endure – usually in the 80-85% range. Your shower room can jump up to high humidity of 100%.

The misfortune that can occur is that water vapor from your shower gets inside your machine and causes a short. When that happens, a laptop might not work anymore.

But even if that is avoided, humidity from a steamy shower is more than likely to end up on your laptop’s internal components. This will speed up corrosion and decrease your computer’s lifespan.

Too Hot or Too Cold

You have heard us say before that heat is bad for your electronic devices. It won’t just affect your processor, but it will also play havoc with the life of your battery. Surprisingly, it can create hard drive expansion, or similar to the shower scenario that we mentioned above, humidity will cause excess condensation.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to take more care with your equipment if the temperature reaches 90°-95° Fahrenheit. You want to start shielding your laptop and smartphone from the heat. Don’t forget that if you decide to store your device inside your car, the temperature is going to be much hotter than outside.

Now, let’s consider the opposite of heat which is cold. While it can be said that your electronics will usually run better in colder than hotter temperatures, extreme winter weather is just as dangerous to your equipment. Leave your device in the cold for too long, the battery will die and its LCD screen will likely start having issues, and possibly die completely. In this case, lower than freezing or 32° Fahrenheit should be avoided.

Don’t Let Computer Problems Stress You Out

Megabite will perform a computer diagnostics on your computer if you are having computer problems. In addition, they will provide you with a report detailing their findings. If they find a need for repairs, an estimate will be given to you so you know how much it will cost. Your initial computer analysis will run you $20.­

Among the things that our pros will look for is soot, dust and smoke damage, corrosion, and possibly compromised circuit boards and other components, among other things. In many cases, your computer may just need a thorough cleaning to get it running smoothly again.


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This post was written by Megabite

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