Fixing a noisy fan
As fans in electronic equipment get dirty; the dust and dirt will slowly work its way into the mechanical components of the fan, grinding the smooth plastic surfaces like sand paper. This keeps the fan from moving smoothly and eventually produces a buzzing or whirring noise from the resulting friction. In time, the increased heat and friction will simply burn the motor out and it may stop working entirely.
Some choose to just ignore the problem or simply disconnect the fan to stop the noise; however, the fan usually serves an important purpose cooling the machine. Cases are carefully designed to circulate air and even one fan failing out of several can change the airflow in such a way that pockets of heat can become trapped above chips and under critical components. While many think that washing or cleaning the fan regularly may resolve this issue, often it does not. In fact, it can make it worse by removing oil and grease intended to lubricate the parts and keep them running smoothly. Removing the dust itself will also not replace the lost plastic as normally smooth surfaces will still be scored. Many times after cleaning fans become even noisier.
Because the plastic itself is physically damaged, the best issue long term with a noisy fan is to just replace the fan yourself when it becomes unbearably loud. That said, don't pay to have a fan repaired or cleaned by a repair service unless under warranty. Most computer shops when faced with a noisy fan issue will simply soak the fan in mineral oil or lubricate it with WD-40 and return it to the customer. This only resolves the issue for a short period of time and cheats the consumer given that the computer fan itself can be bought at a variety of part suppliers so cheaply.
Just treat the noise as good indicator that failure of the fan is imminent. Generally it will not cost over $15 and once installed it runs quietly for a much longer amount of time than any fix.
on Mar 25, 2010 | PC Desktops