Cleaning your equipment is an essential part of any regular system maintenance schedule. Our services are usually performed every 3 to 6 months depending on the client's needs and contract. These maintenance services keep end-users happy by stretching equipment life and reducing repairs and/or service calls. Even if your equipment is in a spanking clean environment, your equipment will accumulate dust, the arch-enemy of electronics. Of course, most environments fall well short of spanking clean. So while it doesn't have the glamour of, say, protecting your company from a crippling security breach, regularly cleaning PC equipment plays a big part in preserving the life of your systems.
The following list covers the maintenance services performed by A.M.S. to keep your equipment functioning optimally:
Keeping the environment clean via regular dusting and vacuuming will help reduce the amount of crud that finds its way into your equipment. It's not enough, but it's a start. Many experts also advise that you keep equipment off the floor, where the dust is most likely to settle. We can regularly clean the exterior of the PC and monitor case(s), cooling vents, and IO ports.
We use a cleaner, designed for this purpose, on the surface of the display unit to remove fingerprints, dust, and/or other imperfections on the screen. Under no circumstances should you use Windex or paper towels to clean an LCD screens, especially those with anti-glare surfaces.
When it comes to your PC's case, dust and pet dander that make their way inside are more of a concern than surface dirt. Proper airflow within the chassis is critical to maintaining an optimal operating temperature, and dust can build up in the various fans (case, power supply, CPU, and, in some models, GPU), causing them to slow down or seize up altogether. If that happens, the resulting excess heat can cause the CPU to automatically throttle down its speed (to avoid overheating). Eventually, components might fail altogether. We take the system apart and remove all dust and clean the external and internal surfaces of the computer to get rid of dust and any other particles, especially the power supply fans, CPU fans, and disk drives which are especially prone to accumulating dust.
No matter how dusty your PC may be, don't resort to your household vacuum cleaner. The static electricity generated by these appliances will do more harm than the dust itself! You'll want a machine that's rated ESD-safe, such as the 3M Electronics Vacuum.
Makers of high-end PCs carefully route and tie internal cables to enhance airflow, increase heat dissipation, and cut down on the areas dust can hide. Internal and external cables can become discolored, worn and even tangled with other cables. Untangling and re-organizing the cables with zip ties will prevent them from becoming tangled over time. All cords and ends should also be cleaned and/or replaced as needed on a scheduled basis to make sure they operate correctly. Most surge protectors and/or UPS equipment lay forgotten on the floor. Dust bunnies, popcorn, even paper clips congregate around them. The dust that accumulates there could cause a fire.
Also, many people do not realize that it is a good idea to replace your surge protectors and/or UPS devices on a regular basis. Most surge suppressors and UPS devices employ a device called an MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor). MOVs are variable resistors, typically made of zinc oxide (ZnO), and are very cheap to produce. Surge suppressors generally work by shorting voltage spikes directly to ground. This can, by the way, cause severe damage to any unprotected equipment that happens to be on the same circuit. Each time this happens, the MOV degrades, and it will eventually cease to perform. Depending upon environmental conditions, this can occur after only one or two lightning strikes or other power fluctuations, yet there is little or no indication that there is a problem. The little light only indicates that the protector is still inline and its internal fuse has not blown. It provides no indication as to the health of the MOV.
Printers are often overlooked during PC cleaning time, but they need a little bit of care as well. Obviously, different kinds of printers will need different kinds of attention. You should refer to the manufacturer’s instructions before diving into the guts of the equipment. Laser printers should be blown out each time the toner is replaced. Many printers come with the ability to clean themselves. If yours do, clean the print heads according to the manufacturer’s instructions.