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Last Friday morning, my central air died – more specifically, the compressor failed. It took until Monday afternoon for a new compressor to be installed.

Well, Jack, that’s annoying for you, but why tell us? Because believe it or not, this is a lesson in backup. Backup? Yes, backup – cooling backup. If you are running a home business, or you’re a remote worker, and it’s important that your computer be up, then you need to be able to run that computer even if your house begins to heat up.

Computers these days are able to take a lot more heat than older systems could, but they still may shut down if the ambient temperature gets too high. We also have a couple of dogs, and so it was fortunate that I work from home – I could leave the doors and windows open since I was there. It was still very hot inside the house, but the dogs got by, as did my computers.

I have a window fan for the computer room that lets me either pull in air from the outside, or vent the air in the room. In addition, I have a ceiling fan (we have them in nearly every room) as well as a larger portable fan that can be used to cool a room. So even with the air cut off, I was able to keep things cool enough (although hardly what anyone would call “cool”) for us all to get by and the computers to keep running. Being a remote worker, my employer isn’t interested in hearing that I’m off-line because it’s too hot to run a computer at my house!

Fans these days aren’t expensive. If you normally rely on air conditioning, you should have something you can use to cool your computer (or the room its in) in addition to something to help you keep somewhat cool as well. Consider a window fan to help in venting hot air out of the room. Make sure you have decent air flow at all times around your computers and any external peripherals – especially disk drives – that might also be susceptible to overheating.


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