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What is good practice for maintenance of AIO coolers?

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Posted · Original PosterOP



I am about to get my first AIO water cooler in my new computer, at the recommendation of a few people in the LTT Discord. I am slightly concerned about leaks, however. My research tells me that this is rare, and that most manufacturers pay for replacement components in the event of a leak, but I would still like to ensure that I perform best practices for maintaining them. Here are my questions (I have partial answers to some of them from the research that I have done):

  1. How often, if at all, should I check the cooler for leaks?
  2. How should I check the cooler for leaks?
  3. What can I do to prevent failure of other components in the event of a leak? (perhaps an audible leak alarm?)
  4. What are the things that I should avoid (eg. letting a screwdriver touch the radiator)?
  5. What are the things that I should do to maintain it?

Any other useful information is also, of course, welcome.

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1: Just keep an eye in the case if you have a side window. If not, open it up like once a month and use a paper towel around the fittings to see if anything comes off. If not, then youre file.


2: See #1


3: No real way beyond just watching and monitoring to see if any liquid is accumulating anywhere or on your leak checks. 


4: You should avoid touching anything in our around the fins of the radiator itself. Beyond that, just normal carefulness when screwing in the radiator and fans should be sufficient.


5: Just keep it free from dust. When you open it to check for leaks, this would be a good time to clean the dust from it with compressed air or a data vac to blow the air through it to clean it up. 

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What Skiiwee29 wrote, and beyond that if there's anything I can add:


2: When you do look inside your PC, you can check for staining on and around the cooler (around the fittings in particular) and directly underneath it, some cooler liquids might leave residue after they dry up so you might be able to see potenatial problem spots.


3: If you noticed a leak, turn off your PC, disconnect the power and clean it off asap also make sure that it actually came from the cooler and if so replace it (most AiOs are difficult if not impossible to repair after they leak, so if it leaked and the PC didn't get damaged, replace the cooler). It would be difficult to create any alarms that might go off when a leak happens, as you'd basically have to take into account any surface the liquid might drip onto, which is not practical.


Now given all that, good AiOs leak very rarely and usually last a long time, you're more likely to have to replace it due to the pump giving up after some years of use, rather than due to the fluid leaking out.

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Stay away from the cheapest aios you find,The higher end ones that cost more will last the longest then the cheap ones.Size of the rad depends your cpu,Bust most a 240/280 rad is enough.If you want something hot like a 9900k at 5ghz then get a 360 rad size.Once you get the aio just install it like you should and leave it alone pretty much.Like said if you have a window case if it leaks you'll see it and leaks are rare on the good brand ones.If the pump dies which is kinda rare also your cpu temps will sky rocket so if you see that you know.But if it runs hot right from the install its probably not installed right.Up keep on a aio just use a can of air to dust the fans and rad whenever needed and that is all.The aio is sealed most the coolant is good for 4 years or longer if i remember right.

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