Are Humidifiers Bad for Computers?

by Evan St. John

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.

About the Author

Evan St. John is a freelance writer from Austin Texas. St. John graduated from the University of Texas with degrees in English and Linguistics, and is a regular music review columnist on AustinSound.net.