How Do I Properly Care for Electronic Equipment?

C. Mitchell

Caring for electronic equipment generally means regularly cleaning your devices, being deliberate about determining where to place them in your home or office and using surge protectors and proper cords to avoid electric fires, shorts or other risks. Proper care not only will keep your devices in top working order it also will prolong their life. Well-cared-for electronic equipment keeps running well long after it was first purchased.

A person cleaning a CD with a microfiber cloth.
A person cleaning a CD with a microfiber cloth.

Most electronic equipment is particularly susceptible to dust, especially those that are primarily stationary. Electronic equipment and dust do not mix well. Devices might have small output holes, display screens and speaker crevices where dust and other debris can build up.

Computer owners should regularly clean screens to prevent smudges and buildups of dust and dirt.
Computer owners should regularly clean screens to prevent smudges and buildups of dust and dirt.

Dust clogs affect sound and picture quality in the short term and can affect overall functionality if particles work their way into the inner parts of the device. It is for this reason that water or even commercial dusting sprays should not be applied directly to the device’s surface. Just as dust can penetrate, so can liquids and sprays. A static or microfiber cloth, combined perhaps with a gentle spray of air, usually is the best option.

Screen cleaning comes with similar precautions. Computer and television owners would be wise to regularly clean the screens of their devices to prevent smudges and buildups. Regular glass or surface cleaners should be avoided, however, particularly for plasma screens. Most manufacturers sell specialized screen cleaning solutions made with gentle agents designed to be non-abrasive, and they should be used whenever possible.

A lot of caring for electronic equipment has to do with positioning your devices in safe locations. Most electronics should be stored out of direct sunlight, for instance. If you are mounting a television on your wall or a computer on your desk, be sure to observe the spot in daylight to ensure that it will not be exposed to harsh sunlight from windows or skylights. Electronic equipment should be placed away from sources of heat or cold, as well — particularly air vents or heating frames. Food and drink should, of course, be kept far away from electronic devices, too.

Take note of your electronic equipment’s heating and cooling processes as well. Many devices have internal fans or other built-in systems to keep them from overheating. To ensure that these systems are able to work, keep your devices on flat surfaces where there is plenty of ventilation. Using electronics on blankets, rugs or beds, for instance, can impede their ability to effectively cool, which can lead to mechanical problems later.

Monitoring how the devices are plugged in and get power is also part of a standard care regimen. It is always best to use the power cord that came with your device, for starters. Using cords made and sold by other manufacturers can lead to problems.

Electronics that depend on working memory, particularly computers and intelligent televisions, should be used with surge protectors. A surge protector buffers the flow of electricity from the outlet into the device. In case of a power outage or lightening strike, the protector absorbs the shock, leaving your equipment unharmed. Surge protectors are one of the least-expensive ways to save your devices from costly and time-consuming crashes.

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