Are Humidifiers Bad for Computers?

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Computers, as well as many other types of electronics, are often vulnerable to temperature and humidity extremes. Depending on what the air is like where you live, having a humidifier in the same room as a computer could be harmful or helpful.

Humidity

  • Computers operate best in average humidity. If your house is already of average humidity, using a humidifier can increase the likelihood of computer damage.

Electrical Shorts

  • An electrical short can occur on a computer when condensation forms on the electrical components. The water droplets alter the path of electricity by offering a route with less resistance than the intended one.

Consequences of Electrical Shorts

  • If electricity takes an unintended path, it might cause damage by destroying components never meant to handle such high loads. Repairs to shorted components are often difficult to find and fix.

Low Humidity

  • If a computer system is in an overly dry environment, damaging static discharges are more likely. In this case, use of a humidifier might make computer operation safer.

Notes on Temperature Change

  • If a humidifier is being used, try to keep the temperature of the room constant; having rapid temperature changes (such as switching on and off the air conditioner) will increase the chance of condensation damage. Give computers approximately one hour before powering them up if vast temperature changes have occurred.

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