Are you having problems with your laptop or desktop overheating? Or maybe the room you’re working in is just always getting too hot because of the various electronics you’re constantly using.
Don’t fear – there are many different strategies you can explore to keep your computer room cool. Not all of them will apply to everyone and some will seem like a lot of effort or extra money for a small payoff. Hopefully a few of these will be paths you can explore to keep the computer room you work or play in a bit cooler.
Strategically adjust the AC/heat vents in your home
This is one of my favorite tactics and it can be very effective. I did this back in college so my bedroom was colder than my roommates’ rooms who didn’t like it as cold.
- It doesn’t apply to every situation…it’s highly dependent on where your thermostat is and what your vent setup looks like.
- It also only works if you’re in a climate / time of year that is using AC or heating.
- It also requires that you don’t really mind that your AC will be running a bit more, sending your electricity bill up a bit.
Here’s the strategy.
Let’s start with the obvious. Most thermostats have the temperature gauge on the unit itself. So, if it’s set to 72 degrees but it’s actually 74 degrees in the thermostat room it will continue cooling your house even if some of the rooms in the house are hotter or colder than 74.
You can use this to your advantage. If your computer room has its own vent you can keep the vent completely open and close your door to keep all of the cold air from escaping.
The next step is to visit the other rooms in your house, specifically the room/area that your thermostat is in. If it’s in a hallway then there may be a vent or two that are affecting the temperature in that area.
You’re going to want to gradually start to close the vents that effect that area so that less (but still some) air is coming out. This means that the AC will need to run a bit longer for that area to reach the same temperature.
For example, if the thermostat is set to 72 and it’s 74 degrees it might take 30 minutes rather than 20 to get down to the set temperature in the room your thermostat is in.
But that means your AC unit ran for an extra 10 minutes and, because the vent in your computer room was 100% open, your computer room got 10 extra minutes of air conditioning. This can keep a particular room colder than others which can be very helpful if you’re having problems with your computer overheating or the room itself just being hotter due to the extra electronics.
This Works in the Winter As Well Just reverse it! Keep vents open in the thermostat room and slightly close the vents in your computer room. This will keep the hot air out.
You’ll need to fiddle with this…it won’t be perfect the first time and you’ll need to strike the right balance. But once you do you’ll find that you can keep certain rooms hotter or colder
Install a ceiling or floor fan
While using a fan isn’t going to change the literal temperature of the air in your computer room it will keep the air moving which keeps the actual objects (you or your computer) cool by blowing the hot air away and replacing it with cooler air from elsewhere in the room. But I don’t need to explain to you how fans work.
Installing a ceiling fan is going to be a fairly significant project. If you do it yourself you can save a few hundred dollars in labor but if you pay a professional to do it you’re likely looking at $400 to $700.
Adding a floor plan is obviously going to be much less expensive and is a great, easy option to keep you or your computer cooler.
Install thermal curtains for your windows
A lot of heat comes in through your windows, especially during the summer months where the sun is at it’s most powerful. If you’re struggling with keeping your computer room cool you might consider installing thermal curtains in front of your windows.
Thermal curtains are made using several different layers that block different types of light and heat. If you’re interested in learning more about it check out this excellent blog post which asks the question “do thermal curtains really work?“.
These types of curtains can get a little pricey but they don’t have to be. Amazon offers many different sizes and styles for around $25 to $50 for two panels. Make sure to verify that you’re purchasing thermal curtains…most blackout curtains are also thermal curtains but it’s worth double checking.
Upgrade your lightbulbs to LEDs (or turn off your lights completely)
Light bulbs generate heat and older light bulbs actually can generate a lot more heat than you might realize. Upgrading your lightbulbs to modern LEDs will save you a lot of money on electricity (in the long run) and also keep your room cooler.
Replace your AC filters
If it’s been a long time since you last changed your air conditioning filters you might consider switching them. Generally it’s considered ideal to change these up every 3 to 6 months (probably closer to 3) but if you’re getting closer to a year since you’ve changed them they could actually be contributing to your house (or certain areas of your house) being on the warmer side.
With these filters all filled up with dust and debris it will be harder for air to pass through them, requiring your AC unit to work harder to keep air moving through the system.
Not only might this help keep your computer room a bit cooler, it will also help anyone with allergies to be a bit more comfortable in your home.
Seal any cracks around your windows and install energy-efficient windows
This recommendation clearly is going to be a bit more on the pricey side and is only really an available option if you own the house. If you already have a fairly modern house this likely isn’t an issue for you but if you’re in an older build you might actually have a substantial amount of heat being lost through cracks around your windows or through the glass itself. Again, this isn’t a cheap fix – depending on your area, the house itself and what type of windows you’re installing you’re likely going to pay around $250-$600+ per window.
If you don’t want to pay that much (or don’t own the house) consider adding a reflective window film which I outline next.
Add a reflective window film
Reflective window film can be extremely effective to keep your computer room cooler and is extremely inexpensive compared to some other options. You can get an 18 inch by 8 feet roll for only $15 on Amazon.
This is a film which blocks light from coming through and creating a bit of a mirror effect. Think of it sort of like tinted windows on a car. You will be able to see out just fine (it might be a bit darker) but those on the outside will have trouble seeing in. These are generally attached to your windows without glue, making removal of them fairly easy, making them a good option for renters.
These can be a little bit of a pain to install but more so to get perfect…if you’re not a perfectionist it’s not going to be that hard to put them in place.
Turn off other electronics in the room
This is a simple one – electronic generate heat, especially things that generate light (TVs, Monitors, Light bulbs). If the room your computer is in has a lot of other electronics it’s best to turn these off when you can.
Bonus: How to keep your computer itself cool
Ensure your desktop computer has good ventilation
Not all computer fans are made equal (and you can usually install an extra one or two). You’ll want to make sure that you have a good quality fan installed on your desktop – look up the part number and check out some reviews. Some fans just don’t move air as well. You can also look into liquid cooling systems but these are for more hardcore setups who have overclocked their CPUs. Likely not necessary.
Keep your laptop on a cooling pad / airflow stand (laptop)
Keeping your laptop on your desk is a great way to overheat it. The laptop needs airflow to wick away the warm air that it generates. There are plenty of products that will lift your laptop off of your desk, it all depends on how much you want to invest and how big of a problem you have.
You can get a cooling pad which basically is a laptop stand with fans under it. These often are powered through the USB port in your laptop but you can also get ones that get power from a wall socket.
Or you can just get a laptop stand, something that simply lifts your computer off of the table but doesn’t have any active cooling capabilities (ie fans). There are desk mounted stands (that will lift it up with use of a stand on the end of an arm or more mobile stands that you simply place your computer on. Either one works well, it just depends on your setup.
Place your computer near the AC Vent / Unit
Here’s an obvious one…certain parts of your room are going to be a little colder than other parts. This is typically true for areas right under the air conditioning vent or perhaps near the window in the winter time. Keep your computer closer to these areas to get a reduction in temperature.