It is no secret that computers are delicate and require deliberate care and maintenance in order to last for a long time. Whether its neglect in minimizing environmental influence or simply an oversight in packing, failure to notice even the smallest of details can make the difference between a functional unit and a broken one.
There are many different approaches to storing consumer electronics for extended periods of time, but here are several factors you need to take into consideration to protect your device.
When it comes down to the factors which will have the most effect on your computer in self storage, temperature and humidity are what you have to worry most about. If you live in a region with unpredictable weather patterns, it will be important to moderate the temperature your computer is stored in. A self-storage unit is one of the most convenient methods of doing this. Personal storage units are very inexpensive, with multiple providers allowing you to set the temperature at a consistent rate with climate-controlled units. Just like the title suggests, a climate-controlled unit like the one seen here provides the feature to regulate the heat in the unit, at a rate not much more expensive than a standard unit.
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On the other side of the spectrum, you might also have a problem with humidity when you store your electronic device. Just like you make sure to keep water and other liquids away from your computer, it is important to make sure your electronics are not exposed to humidity in the air, especially for long periods in a confined space. While climate control helps with temperature, it isn’t so effective with humidity. For this, you will need a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier, basically, absorbs moisture in the room, keeping your computer and its delicate circuits in a nice and dry condition.
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If using a dehumidifier is impractical for your specific situation, you can also control humidity to some degree with certain packing techniques.
While regulating the external “weather” of your storage environment will make a world of a difference in preserving your computer, there are other things you can do while packing to reduce harmful effects on your device. First off, you should clean your computer thoroughly: clear any dust that might have built up inside the computer and fan, as well as any dust trapped in your keyboard. Next, take away any removable parts, such as your computer’s hard-drive and internal battery. If you’re using a laptop, you need to remove both the large battery, as well as the smaller one that is used to provide energy to the real time clock and the CMOS chips. These parts have a reputation of failing, and batteries are notorious for leaking after long periods of inactivity. A battery acid leak is dangerous not only for surrounding devices, but also for your health as they can create potentially poisonous fumes that linger in storage units. Any CD/DVD or flash drives that are attached to the device should be removed, stored in their own containers and wrapped in similar fashion to your laptop or desktop.
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Once removable components have been taken care of, wrap your main device in an airtight container like a large Ziplock or plastic box with lid, with several layers of cloth sheet and bubble wrap around that. Using an airtight vessel, rather than packing your electronic loosely, helps prevent any dust or rust buildup inside. It is recommended to use cloth and not a plastic sheet in the outside layers in order to help absorb moisture. Additionally, if your computer is hit against a hard surface, cloth better helps absorb the shock.
For extra protection against humidity, insert several silica gel packets (generally found in certain food packages, with a “do not eat” notice stamped on), or other materials that absorb humidity. This is another way to prevent corrosion of the parts inside your device. Now, put your wrapped computer into a larger container and fill in any empty space with packing peanuts or more cloth.
Preparing your computer for storage can be a time-intensive process, but it helps assure that your device will be functional in the years to come. Forgetting to take care of even the smallest details in packing could harm your computer should temperatures or humidity run out of control: take the time now to prepare carefully, and your computer could be kept safe for years to come.
Willie Pena is a professional freelance writer, video editor, visual artist and music producer. He prefers the Oxford comma. In addition to writing for firms such as IBM, Colgate, Transunion, Webroot and a multitude of private clients and websites. He also shoots, directs, and edits the hit celebrity web series for example “Teens Wanna Know”. You can connect with him by Google+ & LinkedIn.