Blog, Mac Support, Windows Support 20.10.2012 Comments Off on Preparing your technology for bad weather

Rain is coming to the San Francisco Bay Area for the 2nd time this season. This is usually a Tech’s busiest time of the year. Why? because of inclement weather, power, phone (yes DSL) and Cable (yes cable Internet users) can effect your technology, and in some cases your livelihood.

How to prepare? For the most part, there’s nothing that can be done about widespread Internet outages, but locally there is a lot you can do to save on personal downtime.

First let’s talk about power. A UPS (Uninteruptable Power Supply/Source- aka battery backup) is an inexpensive and relatively EASY way to save yourself time, headache, and possibly money. Power isn’t a steady thing. It goes in waves or cycles. There is a range that your electronics are supposed to function within. We hear a lot of people say “I have a surge protector, I’m covered right?” –Wrong.  A surge protector is great for protecting against the spikes in power, but it doesn’t protect for dips in power (aka dirty power due to bad wiring or inclement weather).

This is where a UPS comes in. It protects against spikes in current like a surge protector, and when a dip occurs, the battery kicks in to cover the loss (like a laptop battery does when you unplug it). Most folks think of battery backups as a way to keep equipment on during a power outage. Well, they would be correct to a point. Some are designed to “talk” to a PC or server, and let them know that the power went out, and to finish their processes and shut themselves down safely.They aren’t really designed for long-term power use. That would be what a generator is for 🙂

Things that benefit most from clean power are sensitive. Computer memory, hard drives, motherboards, some scanners/printers and especially DSL/Cable Modems, are all vulnerable to dirty power. Ironically these are usually the most expensive to replace. A UPS is cheap insurance!

How big of a UPS do I need? Well that depends largely on what you have plugged into it. If your equipment is spread out (modem over there, PC over here, etc) then several inexpensive UPS devices will be good for each location. If everything is all together at one location, then consider a larger more expensive unit to cover it.

Now let’s talk about moisture and heat.  These are the 2nd leading cause of fall/winter equipment issues. Most folks know that you need to keep your stuff dry, but few realize that the space heater under your desk to keep your legs warm, is not OK for the poor PC trying to keep itself cool right next to it. Easy tip? Try turning your PC so that the warm exhaust is facing your legs. This will also save on your power bill 🙂

 

OK! Well that should be enough to get most folks up to speed on how to prepare for bad weather to protect their equipment. And also remember: If your Internet goes out, wait for a few minutes to see if it comes back on. If not, simply unplug your (DSL/CABLE) modem. Let it sit off for 30-60 seconds. Then plug it back in. Give it a few minutes and let it connect. If you have a router as well, do the same thing with it..but after you powercycle the modem (yes you can use that term to impress your friends/family, or the Internet tech when you call them for support. It basically means to turn a device off and back on).

As usual, please feel free to share this post using the links below via email, FaceBook, Twitter, or if THEIR power is out, you can always print it out for them and bring them a flashlight 🙂

 

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