Cleaning iMac fans

Discussion in 'iMac' started by e93to, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. e93to macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #1
    Hello.

    I was wondering how I could go about clearing out dust from inside of iMac. Do Apple Stores do this? If so, how much would they charge? Has anyone actually taken iMac to Apple Store to clean iMac fans?

    I was also recommended a method where I could vacuum the air intake... Is this effective...?

    Thanks!
     
  2. rigormortis macrumors 68000

    rigormortis

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #2
    I've seen the genius at the apple store cleaning people's macs and blowing them with compressed air for free

    i took a leaf blower to my windows pc once!

    don't hold the compressed air upside down, or shake it, or spray too much or it will freeze it


    don't expect them to physically open it for free
     
  3. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #3
    Thanks for the reply.

    I read that I shouldn't use compressed air though. Will compress air blow out dust particles effectively instead of, well, sucking them out with vacuum cleaner?
     
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    #4
    I would use the vacuum cleaner.
     
  5. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #5
    Vacuum is not working well on computer components.

    1) vacuuming creates a large static build up that could (and most likely will) discharge into the sensitive electronics inside your computer case.

    2) The effective distant is much much less than compressed air.

    The theory about compressed air (the one that not for electronic device) is bad because the air may contain moisture. If you blow some moisture to the connector and boot the machine when it's still wet (almost immediately after the cleaning), then you may damage your machine. However, if you use the correct compressed air (e.g. the can air which is for computer, or some duster like this one). And wait few minutes after you blow the dust away. The chance of damaging your Mac due to moisture is almost zero.
     
  6. iMi macrumors 6502a

    iMi

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2014
    #6
    I've been thinking about this as well. It's time for spring cleaning after all...
     
  7. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #7
    Thanks for your input.

    So how should I use compressed air to blow dust out of fans?

    Do I just put it on air intake, and blow the air? And dust will come out on the other side?
    --- Post Merged, Apr 23, 2016 ---
    I guess there is another crucial advantage to fanless computers like rMB other than portability. I won't have to worry about dust being clogged up inside the computer!
     
  8. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio
    #8
    I've had my iMac apart and I really don't recommend this without opening it. I think the dust will mostly land inside the case if you don't. You should definitely clean off the intake vents, though.

    Here you can see the problem. Of course, your model may be different.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. e93to, Apr 23, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016

    e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
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    #9
    Thanks.

    EDIT: How should I clean the intake though? It's a very tight opening down there...
     
  10. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #10
    The picture that Mr. Buzzcut offered is not even close to a 21.5-inch Late 2012 iMac.
    You can look at the teardown at the iFixit site for your iMac model.
    You'll see that there is only one fan. The intakes are along the bottom edge, and the outlet is the square vent underneath the hinge.
    I don't think it is worth your time to disassemble (cutting the case open) just to clean the newer iMac models - if that is your only goal.
    Now, if you are considering upgrading the RAM, or swapping out the hard drive, then a full cleanup is something that you can do while getting everything else done.
     
  11. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

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    Jan 23, 2015
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    #11
    Ah. Thanks.

    I wanted to clean the fan because I thought my iMac has become louder... I know for sure that my iMac used to be quieter than my MBP, but now my iMac definitely makes more noise than my MBP.

    I guess buying a new iMac would be easier and more economical...? lol
     
  12. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #12
    If the choice is clean, or replace - I would do the cleaning.
    But, do you KNOW that you have dust inside (do you live in an extreme-dust area?)
    A 3-year old system isn't likely too gunked up inside, depending on local environment, I suppose.
     
  13. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

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    #13
    My room isn't too dusty. The desk area doesn't attract too much dust either. My mid 2009 MBP, which has been operational in my room ~70% of its life, is now quieter than my iMac...
     
  14. grcar Suspended

    grcar

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    #14
    The ifixit site says opening a 2015 imac is top-level difficult.
     
  15. DeltaMac, Apr 24, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016

    DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #15
    I also would be even less likely to open a 2015 iMac.
    Good thing that the OP has a 2012.
    2012 iMac is not much fun to open, either, unless you have a real need to do that.
    Then you review the teardown steps, and make sure you have the tools, then don't rush any steps.

    (But I still wouldn't do it just to clean, which may or may not help the noise anyway.

    @e93to - Can you use a utility to change the fan speed to see if that's really what causes the noise?
     
  16. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

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    Toronto
    #16
    Yes, it's definitely fan noise (hollow sound of air being sucked in/out). I've also done AHT before (fan would spin at max at some point), so I am familiar with the sound of fan
     
  17. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #17
    It seems you have the 2012 21.5" model. I didn't own this Mac, but after check it's layout. I suggest you switch the iMac off, and blow from the exhaust.

    DSC_3500.jpg

    For turbine type cooler, this way works better. HOWEVER, this is mainly for recovering the fan's performance (if you assume the dust make the fan draw less air etc). And it cannot remove the dust from the iMac, because for the iMac design, it's almost impossible to remove the duty without open it. What you are doing is blow the dust away from the fan (or make them no longer attached on the fan), so, the fan can perform. And when you switch on the machine again, you can manually run the fan at full speed to try to draw out as much dust as possible (assuming the dust are free to move again).
     
  18. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

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    #18
    Thanks for your input!
     
  19. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

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    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio
    #19
    My mistake. I overlooked the signature. I stand by my comment, though. There isn't going to be a good way to make sure the dust exits versus disperses within the chassis.

    Also, my environment is pretty clean and I don't smoke, yet the fan blades were pretty dirty after 4 years. I would not have taken it apart if I wasn't installing a SSD so blowing out the dust was just a secondary benefit.
     
  20. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

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    #20
    I'm a bit hesitant to do an SSD upgrade because at this point 1TB SSD costs a bit much (Samsung 850 Pro costs like $CAD700). And labor charge for opening up the iMac will probably cost $500ish?

    At that price I might as well get a new iMac!
     
  21. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #21
    The 850 Evo is fine, for most user, no need to go for the 850 Pro.

    Also, you don't need to open the case or pay anyone. Simply plug the SSD into one of the USB 3.0 port, you will be able to enjoy your SSD's speed. Leave the HDD inside as the backup boot solution / data storage.

    However, since you won't open up your iMac, you can't clear the dust.
     
  22. Cape Dave macrumors 65816

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    Nov 16, 2012
    Location:
    Northeast
    #22
    If they had put an entire team of engineers on the specific job of making the iMac impossible to clean, could they have done a better job than the current design? I think not.
     
  23. accentaudio macrumors 6502

    accentaudio

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    Apr 4, 2012
    Location:
    Kansas City
    #23
    I too am curious as to the best way to keep out iMacs clean inside...?
     
  24. e93to thread starter macrumors 6502a

    e93to

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto
    #24
    Make sure the iMac's surrounding is not too dusty. Excessive dust comes from air vents, blankets, curtains, etc. And make sure there is air ventilation/circulation around your iMac.

    Also, careful where you aim when you're watching private videos during your happy time :eek:
     

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