Heatwave warning for home tech

Dean Calvert warns homeowners to turn off unused electrical equipment during heatwaves

Stifling Australian summer heat is causing computer component meltdown and could pose a potential fire risk.

Small business technology expert Dean Calvert has warned homeowners to turn off unused electrical equipment if they leave their home unattended during heatwaves or while on holiday.

Calvert, managing director of Calvert Technologies, regularly travels to the Northern Territory to install computer equipment at offices in remote outback towns, where temperatures can exceed 50 degrees celsius.

Calvert recently discussed computer equipment that had overheated while an Adelaide family was absent from home for several days during a recent hot spell.

“The biggest problem is the lack of airflow in some of the confined spaces where people keep equipment,” he said.

“The fans inside the computer can’t operate fast enough to cool them down.

"The AC adaptors connected to the equipment can’t cool down properly, so they get very very hot.

"That can not only cause component failure, but it’s also a fire risk."

Calvert said the problem was that people plugged in a piece of equipment and then forgot about it, not thinking about the pieces of paper and dust bunnies that can accumulate over it.

“I suggest that if you’re not there using it, then turn it off,” he said.

“For devices like routers, switches and wireless access points, in the home in particular where, if you go away there’s no cooling running, components can heat up and it can become a fire risk.

“There’s absolutely no problem at all with shutting those devices off.”

To avoid components overheating Calvert recommends homeowners have a fan running near the computer, but have it connected to a different power socket; keep your equipment unobstructed to promote good airflow and to avoid direct sunlight on your computers.