Julies Blog

Computer cleaning kits

by Julie Finch-Scally

Someone mentioned to me a few months ago that there was a kit one could buy that had special items for the cleaning of computers. I found and purchased one at a stationery shop the other day.

Firstly let me say the kit is really a spray for cleaning monitor screens and a tin of high pressurized air for blowing into keyboards to remove dust. So what we really have in the kit is cleansers for keeping the outside of a laptop clean. That doesn’t meant the products don’t work, it is just a misnomer to call it a computer cleaning kit.

As I have mentioned many times before, with tin top computers the amount of dust that gets drawn inside the workings of the machine is incredible so needs a regular running over with a vacuum to drag the dust out of the vents that can get blocked.

But back to the kit I purchased. I tried the monitor cleanser and was pleased with the results. I had to turn off the screen and let it cool down before spraying the product on the glass. Special lint free towels were provided in the kit and made it easy to wipe down, but when those run out a micro-fibre cloth will work just as well.

The keyboard spray is a little different. If comes with a thin tube that fits into the spray nozzle so the cleanser can be sprayed directly into the cracks between the keys on the board. This is a heavily pressurised small can containing methane and is highly flammable. Care has to be taken when using it and my recommendation is that your machine (if it is a lap top) is turned off and been off for at least 30 minutes. If you are just cleaning a keyboard of a tin top machine the keyboard should be disconnected.

When I used this product I was amazed at the chill factor of the spray. I am presuming the chemical mix in the can contains nitrogen because there was a white film over the keys after I started to spray. It wiped off and there were no harmful affects but I could see there were possibilities of this being a very dangerous product if not used correctly.

Did it remove all the dust? Well some, but not all. My usual way of cleaning a keyboard is to place a large sheet of paper on the desk and lift up the board with one hand, leaning it on the desk at the short edge. With a small paint brush, I brush the bristles down along the cracks between the keys towards the desk. I then hold the keyboard at the top and lean the bottom section on the desk and brush down between the keys again.

I used my usual way of cleaning the keyboard after using the spray and more dust came out, so maybe the spray can of dust remover is not so efficient.

Either way; it was an interesting experiment, and having such kits available makes people realise the outside of their computers do need to be cleaned on a regular basis.


Air-conditioning filters

by Julie Finch-Scally

Our house is two levels. On each level we have a reverse cycle air-conditioner. As an experiment to try and rectify the ambient warmth of the whole house, I have been using the down stairs unit only. It kept the upstairs warm as well as heating down stairs. Hot air rises.

Why would I be concerned about this? The down stairs area is usually three or four degrees cooler than upstairs. By using the down stairs air-con both areas have become equal in temperature and we are still only using one machine. (Electricity costs should be the same)

We had noticed that the down stairs air-con had to be set very high to keep the temperature level reasonable. Of course, to generate the higher the temperature the more electricity is used.

Hubby thought it might have been some time since he had cleaned the filters, so last weekend he climbed up and removed them. Both he and I were shocked at the dust that had collected all over the filters. In fact the filters were chocked with dust, making it difficult for the air to flow through and naturally causing the temperature gauge to be increased to provide the required temperature in the room.

Out came the vacuum cleaner and the crevice nozzle attachment and each filter was gently rubbed over with the nozzle, lifting and removing all that thick, built up dust. While we were doing this the air-conditioner was still on and we were amazed that the temperature in the room increased by three degrees in that short period of time.

I suggested we cleaned the fins inside the air-con behind where the filters sit. While I held the vacuum up so hubby could reach, he ran the crevice nozzle along and across all the fins inside the unit. I could see the dust swirling around in the vacuum cleaner catchment barrel. It was amazing.

Needless to say, having cleaned the down stairs filters we thought it wise to see if the upstairs air-con was as badly affected. There was dust but nothing like down stairs. The vacuum crevice nozzle was used again but the dust seemed a lot finer so I had to wash the filters. This was done by placing them in hot soapy water, and while wearing rubber gloves gently rubbing over both sides of the filter. The light film of dust was easily removed and there was dirty water. The filters were put outside on a towel to dry in the sun.

The moral is: Air-conditioning units all have filters that need to be cleaned on a regular basis. How often? At least once every six months: and if they are used all year round, during summer and winter, maybe every three months. I can tell you the difference the clean made on the downstairs air-conditioner was massive. We can now keep the temperature gauge around 22° and the ambient temperature of the whole house is just perfect.

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