From Alienware computers to the PS5, gaming has become serious business. One thing is for sure: whether you want to spend the day on Psychonauts 2 or play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, you want to play in comfort. More importantly, you want to keep your hardware safe from heat and moisture, functioning properly.
Read on for some tips and tricks on how to ensure you and your setup stay in peak form.
Stay Comfortable and Stay in the Game
After spending hours in your bedroom, office, or basement where you set up your gaming area, the room can get awfully stuffy. You’ll likely need to close the door when you play in order to give the rest of the house a little peace and quiet from all the action (especially if you tend to talk into your headset), which restricts any fresh air from coming in. That means you’re left boxed in with whirring equipment that can heat up a room more quickly than you might expect. It’s a recipe for a room that’s too warm for both your equipment and you.
Feeling stifled or hot while you’re playing is no good for your performance, and it’s no good for you. You play video games to have fun; being uncomfortable while doing so just defeats the purpose. To keep yourself as relaxed as possible (and to stay on top of your game), regulate the temperature to your liking and keep new air flowing in as much as possible.
Heat and Your Hardware
All computers and game consoles have built-in fans to keep temperatures low while gaming, but these cooling systems aren’t always constructed to withstand high heat. (There’s a reason server rooms are air conditioned.) Some can even increase the temperature of a room. You want to keep heat away from your computer or console to help protect your setup and preserve its life. With all the money you’ve invested, why would you want to damage your precious equipment?
While most computers and other electronics have internal fans to help circulate air, they won’t work properly if the room temperature is too high. Keeping the air temperature down will not only help the fans cool the electronics more efficiently but will keep humidity down as well.
If the humidity in your room is too high, it can cause damage to your device’s internal components. When condensation forms within their electrical components, it can cause rust and corrosion, which can damage them. Remember that even when they’re well maintained, moisture can slowly build up over time inside electronic equipment, especially as they warm up, so you should dust your electronics weekly to remove any buildup. Combining dust with condensation can clog up vents and overlay components, thus preventing sufficient cooling.
Luckily, there are a number of methods to prevent condensation from forming on and within your consoles, to keep them from overheating, and to keep you comfortable and happy.
Cooling Solutions for You and Your System
There are a number of different approaches to making your gaming room more user- and console-friendly.
Central air conditioners
The first solution is to use central air conditioning to cool down the whole room. But there are several potential downsides, the first being that not every home is equipped with central AC. And even if it is, using central AC to cool down just your gaming room is not an economical answer. Instead, try another solution that involves maintaining your desired temperature in just the room where you have your setup.
Portable air conditioners, window units
One of the most effective ways to cool things down if you’d like to avoid using central AC is to use a portable air conditioner or window unit. That way, you can avoid turning on whole-house air conditioning and just cool down the room you’re in, saving energy and money—especially if you’re planning on a marathon gaming session. A compact portable AC like the Honeywell MO08CESWK can also function as a dehumidifier to ensure your computer and consoles stay dry, helping to alleviate the risk of condensation formation.
Open doors & windows, blackout curtains
Portable air conditioners aren’t the only fix to a stuffy room. Sometimes the simplest solution can solve all your problems. If your main concern is feeling too stifled, you can open a window or open the door to your room, bringing in new air. A window fan can also help with a fresh-air influx. Depending on the time of year and where you live, you might have to consider where your consoles are positioned since the sun could cause them to overheat or make you unpleasantly warm. You can help control for any potential overheating by placing your devices in the shade, if possible. You can also try using blackout curtains to mitigate some of the heat coming in through any windows. If your current area is unavoidably sun-drenched and you have a lot of freedom, you can even consider resituating your setup in another area of your home.
Standing fans, LED lights
Aside from opening a window or door, there’s no easier solution than the good ol’ standing fan. While this won’t allow for any new air to enter the room and it probably can’t cool you and your system down, at least it can make you a little more comfortable when sitting right in front of its airflow. You can also look into lighting solutions that don’t produce heat. There’s no point sitting right under hot lights when you can exchange them for some LEDs.
If your main concern is keeping your gaming room dry, you can purchase a dehumidifier, like the Honeywell TP50WKN. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air, which will help provide your electronics with a safe environment. This is also a good solution if you’re playing in your basement, where there are no windows for you to use portable air conditioners or window fans.
If you have a lot of disposable income, you can even look into liquid cooling to address possible computer overheating. But while it would ensure the components stay cool, most people don’t need to resort to this expensive approach.
Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or someone who just likes to play every once in a while, it’s important to keep your gaming equipment in order and to stay comfortable while you play. By utilizing some of the suggestions above, you can help prevent condensation from forming on your equipment, keep computers and consoles from overheating, and ensure you enjoy your next gaming session.