Preparing Desktop Computers For Long-Term Public Storage

Traveling for extended periods of time without a permanent residence can be tough on your belongings. Some items can be placed into public storage units with no major preparation, while others may need extra protection from the elements and dust collection. Computers are a particularly difficult issue, since excessive dust and humid climates could leave a dusty or sticky situation inside the system by the time you return. To find the right storage requirements, take a look at the threats faced by computers behind public storage doors.

The Dangers Of Dust And Computers

The problem with dust and computers doesn't become dangerous until you turn the system on. Aside from a few extreme circumstances where corrosive materials soak into dust, the system won't be damaged during long term storage.

Even outside of storage, a computer brings in dust through its vents. While powered on, the system blows a lot of dust out with the help of the fans, but the results can still be a dingy, dusty mess. When in storage, the dust can build up into thick layers that require heavy cleaning.

Simply blowing dust out of the system with a can of air is only the beginning. A lot of dust will still be coating the surfaces of circuit boards, such as the motherboard and any interface cards, and even that thin line of dust can act as heat-escalating insulation. To clean the dust, you'll need to have an electronics-safe cleaning solution (often alcohol-based) that can be applied to a pad or cleaning swab for careful cleaning. 

If you're not careful, you could bend a few components on the circuit boards or leave behind dry cleaning material such as cotton tufts from cotton swabs, which simply becomes another heating hazard. Dust, cotton, paper and any other easily combustible materials can burn and cause small spots of damage on the system.

Climate Control And Clean Air Management

One solution would be to put the computer in a container, but even this brings danger. Unless you invest in an airtight container, your system will be subjected to condensation from humidity if the area is especially humid and you storage unit lacks proper climate control. If your storage facility's area is in especially muggy areas such as coastal regions or the Southeastern United States, expect foggy boxes and damp computers as the warmer months go by.

Instead of relying on containers alone, make sure that the storage facility has air conditioning options and that the air conditioning is working properly. This means more than just blowing cool air, as you'll need to make sure that the vents are clean and not dumping more dust into your storage unit.

It'll take some time to monitor the situation, as lower levels of dirty air conditioning filters may not be obvious with just a day's observation. If the facility becomes excessively dusty or shows sign of dust collection around the vents over a week, bring it to the storage facility management's attention to get ventilation cleaning and a filter change.

For more information, contact Northwest Self Storage or a similar company.