Humidify for Electronics: How to Reduce Dust
In environments such as data centres, server rooms, offices and hospitals, we rely on electronics to perform efficiently and operate as they are intended to. Dust accumulation can result in a myriad of issues in electronics, such as overheating due to fan blockage leading to hardware failure and even risk of combustion in extreme circumstances. It can lead to system performance issues as well, hampering workplace efficiency. In this latest entry in our “Why Humidify for Electronics” series, we’ll cover some ways you can reduce dust buildup.
Keep Electronics off the Floor
Regardless what electronics you have, if they are sitting directly on the floor it is only a matter of time before they are overwhelmed by dust build-up. Many desks now incorporate lower shelving that is raised off of the floor to protect against dust build-up, so if you have that desktop computer sitting on the floor, that might be an alternative to consider. Combined with proper humidity control that regulates air moisture, it should be easier to keep your computer systems clean and less prone to dust buildup.
Use Dust Covers When Possible
Whether you have a stack of servers or a computer workstation, using a dust cover on monitors and other electronics will ensure that no dust ever gathers on their surfaces, even under properly humidified conditions when dust generation is reduced. Simply take it off when working and replace it when finished. Be sure to clean any dust covers you have on a regular basis, however, as they are generally made of rubberized plastics and can collect dust easily.
Cover Power Cords
Many people don’t consider dust on their power cords a threat, regardless if they’re using a desktop computer or server. However, if dust continues to build up and collect, it can lead to safety risks. Try using electrician’s tape to cover power cords that rest on the floor – this will also protect them from being damaged by feet if they are taped down flatly. Alternatively, rubberized mats or other forms of cover will be equally effective. At the same time, ensure that your power outlets themselves are protected with dust coverings, not to mention power bars and extension cords. A little preventative planning goes a long way in protecting electronics-based environments.
Maintain 40-60% Relative Humidity
The most crucial way to protect electronics from dust build-up is to enforce consistent humidity control. By using a humidifier such as one of Nortec’s electric or evaporative cooling/humidification systems, you can manage interior temperatures and humidity levels far more efficiently. Keeping your relative humidity (RH) between 40-60% is important, as it minimizes the amount of time dust can spend airborne, forcing it to settle more quickly. Additionally, proper humidity control can minimize brittle components, reduce de-soldering occurrences and mitigate instances of electrostatic discharge (ESD).
Carpeting, no matter if thick or thin, acts as a magnet for dust mites to accumulate and spread. Any electronics-focused area will massively benefit from removing carpeting installed in sensitive spaces that are prone to dust build-up. Alternatives such as tiles, linoleum or woods are infinitely easier to keep clean, as taking a dust mop will quickly remove any dust that has settled. Combined with proper relative humidity control, this is a great way to reduce electronics dust build-up – especially if a space is full of equipment and you have no choice but to house systems directly on the floor to make the most of your available interior space.
While proper humidification plays an integral role in minimizing dust build-up, there are multiple ways to cut down and protect sensitive electronics. With these techniques in mind, it should be easier to keep your environment as dust-free as possible. Additionally, by opting for a Nortec humidification system, your electronic devices, components, tools, and equipment will be spared from other various safety risks and performance detractors.