I don’t know about you, but any time there is a change in season, I do some sort of prep. In the spring, I typically devote an entire weekend to cleaning every nook, cranny, and shelf in my apartment. In the summer, it’s all about prepping my balcony for three glorious months of outdoor living. And in the fall and winter, I put all my summer stuff away, break out the cozy sweaters and spend most weekends making and freezing copious amounts of comfort food. In all this seasonal prepping, there’s one thing I’ve never given much thought to–prepping my tech for the changes in weather.
But when you get down to it, prepping your tech for winter is really important. Think about how much we all spend on tech–can you imagine it all short-circuiting due to a flood in your basement? Or what about being unprepared for a blizzard, tornado, or power outage? None of those things would be welcome Christmas presents. Thankfully, prepping your tech is super easy. Here are five tips to get your tech ready for yet another Canadian winter.
- Keep your tech charged
I’m pretty bad when it comes to keeping essentials like my laptop, tablet, and cellphone charged. I’m constantly wondering why I don’t keep extra chargers in my purse and at the office. Even now, as I type this, I am looking at the little red battery icon in the corner of my laptop telling me I should really leave the coffee shop and get my behind home before my laptop dies. While I can typically borrow chargers from friends and colleagues (and sometimes strangers), I might not be able to do so if I find myself stranded in my car in a snowstorm with a dead cellphone. So, during the winter months, you should first make sure your essential devices are as charged as possible at all times so if you need them in an emergency, they’ve got your back, and second, make sure you have spare cables, and perhaps even a portable charger like this one from TP-LINK at the office or on your person so you can give your devices some juice when they need some.
- Have a car? Get a 12-volt USB charger
This tip is actually one I came across online, but is really genius. If you have a car, or even have access to a car–like a neighbour with a car–pick up a 12-volt USB charger. That way, if the power goes out in your home, you can use the charger to give your smartphone, tablet, or even your laptop some juice. How smart and easy is that?
- Keep things elevated
As I’m sure you know, technology is to water what oil is to vinegar–generally speaking, they don’t mix well. So if you have any tech products on the ground level or basement of your home, do yourself a favour and elevate them a bit. This can be as simple as making sure your speakers are situated on speaker stands or as “less simple” as them being mounted on your wall or ceiling. It’s also important that your TV, stereo, and home theatre components are on a TV stand and otherwise not left on the ground. This is also true for your laptop, cellphone, and tablet. I know I tend to leave them on the ground after working on the couch for hours on end and then stumbling to my bedroom in a half-awake daze. Don’t.
- Keep away from windows
It’s just as important to keep your tech away from windows as it is to keep them off the ground. Drafts and moisture from windows in the cold winter weather can wreak havoc on your electronics, so pull them all away at least a foot from your windows, so you don’t find yourself having to replace them when spring rolls around. If your tech products do happen to get moist, deal with it immediately by either calling the manufacturer or Googling what to do. I recently spilled a full glass of red wine on my laptop while trying to kill a fruit fly (don’t judge) and I immediately grabbed my phone to see what I should do. I followed the steps exactly as they were laid out and my laptop survived. Had I not dealt with it right away, it would have been a very expensive accident.
- Surge protectors are your friend
Last, but by no means least, if you don’t already have all your tech plugged into surge protectors, do yourself another favour and fix that problem. Standard electrical outlets don’t offer any protection against power spikes or surges, which can happen when there is a sudden voltage increase. These increases can be caused by anything from lightening strikes, to power outages, or even the power company rectifying a power outage, and without a surge protector, power spikes or surges can cause irreparable damage to your tech devices. The good news is that these days, you can find surge protectors with as many as eight or 12-outlets, so you can plug all your electronics into one place without the fear of them short-circuiting during a winter storm.
Prepping your tech for winter is not an expensive or difficult thing to do, but it’s very important if you want to ensure your tech products survive another Canadian winter. It’s easy to say: “well, I’ve never had to prep them before” but why take the risk? Take the proper precautions and your tech will survive well into the spring and for multiple seasons after that.
Cover image courtesy of The Weather Network
We’ve got an entire series on how to Prepare for the Great Canadian Winter. Check them out:
Winterproof your home
Stay safe while driving
Prepare your home for cold weather comfort
By Stacey McGregor, Technology & Lifestyle
Stacey McGregor is a marketing and communications professional based in Vancouver, BC. During the day, she works as Marketing & Business Development Manager for Vancity Credit Union … by night she writes, designs, builds WordPress websites, and fights crime.
With regards to point 1 and 2…. one thing that happens often are car batteries will fail in the colder weather. I got myself a combo phone and car booster from Cobra…. love it.
Not sure if this is still available….
the Wagan iOnBoost is still available at Best Buy
Those are great reminders for winter @StaceyMac , Anti-Surge power bars are a graet way to help protect your techno products. I would also recommend, for those with higher eschelon products, be it a TV or Audio gear, that a Power filtering anti surge bar be used.
Power filtration is needed to eliminate spurious noise from entering the AC line frequency. Every time someone turns a switch on or off, it sends a “spike” through the system. Power filtering helps prevent these spikes from adversly affecting your TV image and sonic purity of your Home Theater system. Most all electrical components have a “power filter” built in to their power supply, however in most all cases it is a minimal filter that “reduces noise” not eliminate it.
Devices that utilize processor power will benefit greatly from “clean power”. This string on the Plug-in forum also discusses this issue.
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