In the modern world, you cannot live without your electronic devices — and your electronics can’t live without you, either. Danger lurks around every corner for devices like laptops, cellphones, flat screens and smart tech; moisture, drops and more can send a perfectly functional device straight into the trash.
If you want your investment in your electronics to pay off, you need to work to keep them safe. Here’s a guide for making your home a refuge for tech.
A Case for Everything, and Everything in Its Case
Electronics are getting thinner and sleeker — but they aren’t really getting more durable. That’s why you need to put as much of your tech as you can in protective cases. Certainly, anything mobile, like your smartphone, laptop, e-reader and tablet computers, should be wrapped in a trustworthy, durable case; something that covers the back, edges and corners of the device and that absorbs impacts is ideal. You don’t have to drop hundreds of dollars on a designer tech case, but you should find something highly rated and aesthetically pleasing, so you aren’t tempted to take it off.
For larger, less mobile technology, such as televisions, desktop computers and home smart tech like speakers and appliances, a case isn’t necessary. Instead, you should have a firm location for your technology and ensure that the device remains securely in place. For instance, it is often wise to have your flat screen professionally mounted to the wall, so you can be certain it will come to no harm.
Keep Electronics Cool
Just as you can’t properly function at certain temperatures, your electronic devices will start to degrade if they endure heat over a certain threshold. Most electronics function at a temperature between 10 and 20 degrees hotter than room temperature. Thus, when they are placed in a warm environment, they can easily overheat and melt their own delicate components. Tech that runs on solid state drives, like the latest laptops, tablet computers and smartphones, will unquestionably start to fry around 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, you are mistaken if you believe that your tech could never reach these high temperatures. Left in a vehicle during the hot summer, especially in the exceedingly warm regions of the South and Southwest, electronic devices can succumb to temps as high as 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Even tech left at home can be exposed to excessive heat if it spends time around a fireplace, next to large appliances like refrigerators or ovens, around radiators or heating vents or even near west-facing windows during the summer. It’s a good idea to keep your tech in a cool, dark corner of the room away from all sources of heat.
Plug it in, Unplug It in
Rechargeable batteries feel miraculous; just when your device is about to die, you can plug it in and continue using it — seemingly unto eternity. However, over time, even rechargeable batteries start to die, and they die faster with improper treatment. To maintain your rechargeable tech’s battery life, you should avoid emptying the battery completely of charge; in fact, to prevent cell death, you should avoid allowing your battery to drop below 20 percent on a regular basis. Still, you shouldn’t leave your battery on the charger for too long, either, which can also degrade the device. Regular use, but not exhaustion, is key — just like a muscle.
Devices that don’t have rechargeable batteries have plug-in rules, too. Specifically, when a large device like a TV or a desktop computer is plugged in around the clock, it can incur damage due to power surges. It’s a good idea to plug your technology into surge protectors, instead of plugging them directly into the wall. Additionally, you should consider unplugging everything during a lightning storm, which can hit power lines and wreck your tech.
An Education Is Never Free
There are dozens of things people do with their tech that turn out to be major mistakes. We simply can’t list all the bad ideas about tech use, inside or outside the home, so instead we’ll give this good piece of advice: get a home electronics warranty. Because seller and manufacturer warranties offer woefully limited coverage, it’s a good idea to invest in extra coverage to protect your tech. Then, even while you are still learning how to treat your electronic devices, you can keep your finances safe.
A Clean Device Is a Happy Device
Finally, you need to keep your technology clean for a variety of reasons. Because we use tech with our hands, devices can often become breeding grounds for bacteria, even deadly ones like salmonella and E. Coli. Additionally, dirt and grime can impact the functionality of tech, often by increasing the likelihood of overheating.
Fortunately, it’s easy to keep tech clean if you are appropriately diligent. Every few days, you should dust your tech down with a dry microfiber cloth. For electronic devices you often touch, you can dampen a microfiber cloth with warm water and dish soap and gently wipe the front and back, being careful not to allow moisture to seep into any cracks.
If you have to buy new devices every few months because yours keep breaking, you aren’t being careful enough to protect your tech. With the above tips, your electronic devices should last well into the future, allowing you to make the most of them.