When the air-intake fan of the computer case turns, it sucks air from the outside to blow it inside the computer and cool the internal electrical components. With this process, however, the fan invariably brings ambient dust as well.
To ensure hot air that builds up inside the computer is expelled, an exhaust fan is installed at the rear side of the computer. The power supply unit has a dedicated fan for this purpose also. It is located at the rear of the unit.
Shown below is my current computer case showing the vents for the power supply, exhaust and air-intake fans.
Notice the direction of air flow with the three fans. The power supply and exhaust fans blow air towards outside while the air-intake fan blows air towards inside the unit.
Need for a Computer Fan Dust Filter
After the computer technician mentioned dust as the primary cause of sticking or stuck-up fans, I wondered what else I could do to prevent dust entering the computer unit. My computer is located in a second floor bedroom where it is breezy for much of the afternoon. It rests on top of a desk and not on the floor where I'm sure it will be more prone to dust.
Upon searching the internet, I learned there are such items called fan dust filters. These are installed to minimize the entry of dust in computers. I also learned that some folks have improvised dust fan filters using old stockings or pantyhose.
Common Improvised Desktop Air Filters for Dust
I suppose the mesh provided by stockings or pantyhose is fine enough to trap dust particles from getting past through the computer case fans. The solution commonly provided is to wrap or envelope the computer fan, specifically the air-intake fan, with a piece of stocking.
This is good if the dust that collects on the stocking filter remains OUTSIDE the computer. Not all computer cases are built the same though.
The air-intake fan in my computer case is installed inside the unit. As seen from the photo above, there is only a set of limited air vents in a circle pattern for air to pass through.
So if I followed the instructions, the stocking-wrapped fan would still be inside the computer case. All accumulated dust therefore would also be inside the computer case.
To avoid having to deal with dust accumulating inside the computer case, I designed a simple and mountable dust fan filter frame from scrap materials. This will be installed outside the case and is attached to the cover panel using the air-intake fan's screws.
How to Make a PC Fan Dust Filter
- Clear plastic lid - Old plastic lid from those disposable clear containers commonly found in supermarkets. The plastic lid should be large enough to cover the air-intake vents as well as the screw holes of the cover panel. See the photo below for reference.
- Old stockings or pantyhose - Any color of any kind of ladies stockings with fine mesh.
- Masking tape
(See Part 3 for the continuation of this article)