Most laptops use fans to cool down components that can overheat. Typically, a laptop will have one or two fans to cool the main processor and graphics chip. Many designs use a heatpipe system to draw heat away from these components, with a single fan cooling a heatsink attached to the heat pipes. The radiator will have a lot of fins to dissipate heat and dust can also accumulate between these fins, significantly reducing cooling efficiency.
With everything tightly packed to make the laptop as thin as possible, there’s very little room for airflow. And that means even a small amount of dirt can interfere with the cooling system’s efficiency.
If your laptop’s fan is running noisier or more frequent than usual, or won’t turn off at all, the first place to look is in the Windows Task Manager (Ctrl-Shift-Esc). On the Processes tab, you’ll see how much resources each application is using on your laptop, but you may have to click ‘More details’ to see these stats.
Look for any apps that use a high percentage of CPU time, as this is often the main culprit when the fan is running at full speed.
If nothing is out of the ordinary, you can try to clean the fans and heatsinks. Unfortunately, this is not an easy job in many modern laptops that are not designed to be opened by the user and the fan can be placed deep inside.
Other laptops have removable ‘maintenance’ plates underneath that only require a screwdriver to remove, but looking to the fan is the best way to clean it properly.
How to clean laptop fan with compressed air
If you’re not confident using a screwdriver to disassemble your laptop, get a can of compressed air or try a camera lens air dust filter if you’re concerned about using compressed air. Vacuums are not recommended: they are quite ineffective at removing dust from laptops, and they can also cause a build-up of static electricity that you don’t want around laptops.
Obviously make sure the laptop is powered off before you start it and remove the battery if possible. Insert the nozzle of the air dust filter into the vent (or as close as possible) and start blowing the dust out. Try and stop the spinning blades with a long plastic object – you’ll have a hard time removing dirt from the spinning fan.
How to clean the fan by opening your laptop
For those who prefer to use a screwdriver, turn off your laptop, flip it over, and remove the battery, if possible.
If so, remove the plastic or metal plate on the base and hope it will expose the fan. Your success here will depend entirely on your laptop model. If you can’t see the fan at all, you’ll have to go one step further and remove the other components. There are tons of YouTube videos on how to disassemble a laptop: just search for your make and model.
If you can reach the fan, use a small brush to remove dirt. If you use compressed air, do not get too close to the nozzle and be sure to prevent the propeller from moving. You should remove and remove the fan at this point and check for any other dirt underneath it that could be clogging the radiator or vents.
After you have removed the fluff and dust, replace the parts in the order you removed them.
Can I replace the fan in my laptop?
Many laptop fans have plastic bearings that don’t last forever. If your fan is making a loud noise (which didn’t happen when you first bought the laptop) it might be time to replace it. Here, ebay is your friend but it’s helpful if you have a popular laptop category: we found a lot of Dell, HP, Acer and Asus fans but you’ll need to look up the model. his exact portable.
Before you order anything, check that you can access the fan and match the sizes, or check with the seller to make sure you’re buying the right part.
Sometimes these jobs are best left to the professionals, so contact your laptop manufacturer or your local repair shop for a quote.
Laptop cooling pad
A cheaper and easier option is to buy a cooling pad that is essentially external fans for your laptop. You’ll pay more for a pad from a well-known brand and less for a no-name pad from Amazon or ebay.
For example, the one below has three fans and two USB ports and costs £12.99 / $24.99 from Amazon:
It’s not as convenient as having to use your laptop on a pad like this, but the cooling effect takes the load off the internal fans and potentially makes things cooler and quieter.
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