Do you brush your teeth?
Most people do. It is a standard proactive maintenance procedure that helps stave off cavities, bad breath, root canals, and a plethora of other dental maladies.
Just as proactive maintenance is good for your dental hygiene it is also good for your computer. No, you should not take a tooth brush to it; however there is a silent buildup of something just as dangerous as plaque building up on the inside. Dust.
Depending on the environment that your computer is in the frequency of how often the dust should be cleaned out varies. In areas of high dust, high traffic areas, animal hair, pet dandier, and cigarette smoke cleaning may need to be done as often as once a month. In sterile environments less so; but as a general rule of thumb at least once a year.
There are several reasons for the need to do a physical cleanout of your computer periodically. First is heat. Computers do not like heat. Dust buildup in the heat sink and fan assemblies cause less airflow through the computer causing higher internal temperatures, leading to slower performance and eventually critical thermal events.
Our second reason is to avoid short circuits. If enough dust builds up inside a computer it can lay across the internal circuitry causing the board to short out.
Lastly – fire prevention. Large amounts of dust buildup lying across internal circuits can catch fire.
We suggest using compressed nitrogen (canned air) for cleaning the dust out of computers. Do NOT use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the dust. The suction can cause static discharge that can short out the computer.