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Rully7160

Is it safe to clean AIO Water Cooling radiator with vacuum cleaner?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

It's been almost a year i got my first PC and it's cooling performance have been degrading with time, and i think it's because i didn't clean my radiator thoroughly (I always use a paint brush to clean it and blow it with my mouth), and i'm way too much of a newbie in PC hardware maintenance to clean the radiator with water and i don't have those water-shooty-thingies. In other words, i'm too afraid to involve water into the equation. So is it fine if i use vacuum cleaner to clean my radiator? Although, i've heard that vacuum builds up static electricity and could potentially fry my PC.

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1 hour ago, Rully7160 said:

It's been almost a year i got my first PC and it's cooling performance have been degrading with time, and i think it's because i didn't clean my radiator thoroughly (I always use a paint brush to clean it and blow it with my mouth), and i'm way too much of a newbie in PC hardware maintenance to clean the radiator with water and i don't have those water-shooty-thingies. In other words, i'm too afraid to involve water into the equation. So is it fine if i use vacuum cleaner to clean my radiator? Although, i've heard that vacuum builds up static electricity and could potentially fry my PC.

On electrical components then a vacuum can indeed fry components, although I did it for years with no issues.  But on the radiator it should be safe as its a large piece of metal so should dissipate any static charge.

Be careful with fans though, you don't want the air of the vacuum to make them spin as it can fry their tiny PWM ICs.  I HAVE done that!


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Anything on sensitive components, using a vacuum is risky...such as

  • On/around the Motherboard
  • The graphics card PCB / circuit board
  • RAM sticks
  • SSD / HDD PCB / circuit boards

Other then that, the chance of static electricity killing fans / cables / radiators, etc is slim...or next to impossible.

An AIO radiator (or any radiator) has no electronics in it -- literally metal tubes with liquid flowing inside it, and a bunch of metal fins.

If you are careful not to damage the tubes (e.g. puncture them), and/or damage the thing metal fins, you are basically safe to vacuum it.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 hours ago, -rascal- said:

Anything on sensitive components, using a vacuum is risky...such as

  • On/around the Motherboard
  • The graphics card PCB / circuit board
  • RAM sticks
  • SSD / HDD PCB / circuit boards

Other then that, the chance of static electricity killing fans / cables / radiators, etc is slim...or next to impossible.

An AIO radiator (or any radiator) has no electronics in it -- literally metal tubes with liquid flowing inside it, and a bunch of metal fins.

If you are careful not to damage the tubes (e.g. puncture them), and/or damage the thing metal fins, you are basically safe to vacuum it.

But, do i need to discharge it first? Or the radiator won't carry any static electricity so that i can put it back to the Motherboard right after vacuuming it?

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12 minutes ago, Rully7160 said:

But, do i need to discharge it first? Or the radiator won't carry any static electricity so that i can put it back to the Motherboard right after vacuuming it?

wait, im confused, why is rinsing the radiator under the tap not a option? you can literally submerge the radiators (take the fans off first obviously) and get rid of all the dust.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
43 minutes ago, For Science! said:

wait, im confused, why is rinsing the radiator under the tap not a option? you can literally submerge the radiators (take the fans off first obviously) and get rid of all the dust.

I don't have those faucet-hose-thingies in my home. But if submerging it in water is completely fine, i'll consider it. But do i have to remove the tubes and get all the water out of the radiator? And also, how long does the radiator usually dries out?

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25 minutes ago, Rully7160 said:

I don't have those faucet-hose-thingies in my home. But if submerging it in water is completely fine, i'll consider it. But do i have to remove the tubes and get all the water out of the radiator? And also, how long does the radiator usually dries out?

Why would you submerge an AIO in a bucket of water??? Do NOT open the cooling loop of an AIO as this will most likely VOID your warranty. Just remove the fans and dust them off with a brush, use a dry vac with the hose on the return line to use as a blower and blow the dust out in the opposite direction of the fan's flow. 


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29 minutes ago, Rully7160 said:

I don't have those faucet-hose-thingies in my home. But if submerging it in water is completely fine, i'll consider it. But do i have to remove the tubes and get all the water out of the radiator? And also, how long does the radiator usually dries out?

No, just remove the fans, and dunk it in without remove anything else, the dust will float up to the surface. I think also you need to clarify whether this is an AIO, or a custom loop radiator, and whether you are trying to clean the inside or the outside or both.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, For Science! said:

No, just remove the fans, and dunk it in without remove anything else, the dust will float up to the surface. I think also you need to clarify whether this is an AIO, or a custom loop radiator, and whether you are trying to clean the inside or the outside or both.

This is an AIO. For now, i'm planning to clean the outside first, if cleaning the outside doesn't resolve my heating problem, i may have to clean the inside too. I had this radiator since last year so i don't think cleaning the inside is necessary for now.  

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32 minutes ago, Rully7160 said:

This is an AIO. For now, i'm planning to clean the outside first, if cleaning the outside doesn't resolve my heating problem, i may have to clean the inside too. I had this radiator since last year so i don't think cleaning the inside is necessary for now.  

You can clean the outside, the inside of the AIO should never be cleaned as it will void yoru warranty and so is not part of routine maintenance. If something requires internal maintenance you should contact the manufacturer for an RMA request,.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, For Science! said:

You can clean the outside, the inside of the AIO should never be cleaned as it will void yoru warranty and so is not part of routine maintenance. If something requires internal maintenance you should contact the manufacturer for an RMA request,.

Ok, thanks for the answer. But how do i dry a radiator? Do i use a hair dryer or just leave it in a room for like 24 hours?

 

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41 minutes ago, Rully7160 said:

Ok, thanks for the answer. But how do i dry a radiator? Do i use a hair dryer or just leave it in a room for like 24 hours?

 

shake off the water and then leave to dry for a couple of hours is fine. You don't want to heat it up since there is liquid still inside it. As long as it is not dripping wet it will be fine.

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2 hours ago, Rully7160 said:

Ok, thanks for the answer. But how do i dry a radiator? Do i use a hair dryer or just leave it in a room for like 24 hours?

 

 

You CAN'T clean the INSIDE of an AIO ... it's a CLOSED LOOP ALL-IN-ONE cooler.

It's not meant to be taken apart, to have anything inside cleaned.

 

If you want to rinse it with water, you need to first .... obviously take it out of the PC.

Remove it from the CPU and motherboard -- NOTE, you'll need new thermal paste if you do this.

Take the fans off, so you are just left with the radiator + tubes + CPU block (that is all connected together anyways).

Then clean the radiator.

Shake the water off, put it on a towel to dry...use a hairdryer to speed the drying up (use low or no heat)....or just let it sit to air dry.

Clean off old thermal paste, and reapply new thermal paste (you cannot re-use it once you have taken the CPU cooler off).

Re-install AIO back into your system.


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1.) Yes, this is how I clean all of my radiators (by using duct tape and 3 bendy straws to reduce down and create a hell of a suction)

2.) If you took your AIO apart, just buy a reservoir and new tubes and its a "custom loop" and refill it with antifreeze 50/50 premix (I use Preston with their Cor-guard corrosive inhibitor already in the bottle)

3.) Yes you can dunk radiators in icewater to get better temps so just dry it all out in whatever method you want that dries it out.


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