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Can Monitors Overheat? What You Should Know

I bet you’ve never thought about whether or not your monitor could overheat, but it’s a valid question.

After all, monitors generate heat, so it stands to reason that they could overheat if not properly ventilated. But do they?

Can Monitors Overheat?

Although somewhat rare, monitors can overheat. In most cases, an overheating monitor is caused by a problem with the monitor’s heatsink (an internal component), or aging components inside the monitor causing electrical resistance and generating heat.

Like all electronic devices, monitors generate some heat while in use. This heat is a side effect of the electricity running through the monitor’s circuitry as it works.

To manage the heat generated by this flow of electricity, all monitors have heat sinks somewhere on their circuit board.

The purpose of a heatsink is to extract heat from the monitor’s internal components and dissipate that heat into the surrounding air.

Heatsinks are made of metal and are designed to have a large total surface area, making them more efficient at getting rid of excess heat than the internal components themselves.

Sometimes, an overheating monitor is caused by a heatsink that has come loose or is not properly attached to the monitor’s internals.

Other times, an older monitor’s heatsink may need a new application of thermal paste in order to keep working efficiently.

If a monitor’s heatsink is working properly, but the monitor is still overheating, then the monitor may have broken or faulty components.

In particular, capacitors are prone to deforming as they age, causing increased electrical resistance and an excess of heat.

Regardless of the cause, the best way to address an overheating monitor is to replace it.

While you could open up your monitor and try and tinker with or replace its internal components, this is inadvisable and even dangerous if you are not a professional.

What Causes a Monitor To Overheat?

The most likely causes of an overheating monitor are a faulty heatsink or aging/faulty internal components. While you could try and troubleshoot these issues by taking a look at your monitor’s internals, this is not advised and could even be dangerous.

Your monitor’s heatsink, which is attached to your monitor’s internal circuit board, is responsible for dissipating the heat generated by electricity flowing through the monitor’s circuitry.

If your heatsink is loose, cracked, or has old/dried thermal paste, then it won’t be able to dissipate heat, leading to overheating.

If the heatsink is working properly, but your monitor is still overheating, then faulty/aging components on the circuit board may be to blame.

As your monitor ages, its capacitors are particularly prone to degrading. Degraded capacitors will lead to increased electrical resistance and overheating in your monitor.

In either case, the best solution is to replace your monitor. It’s not recommended to open up your monitor as doing so could result in electrocution if you’re not a professional.

What Happens if a Monitor Overheats?

Flickering is usually the first sign of an overheating monitor. This is because the circuitry is getting too hot and unable to function correctly. If you continue to use the monitor in this state, it will eventually go completely blank. In some cases, you might even see smoke or smell burning.

If this happens, it’s important to unplug the monitor immediately and call a professional to have it checked out.

Using an overheating monitor can cause permanent damage to the screen or circuitry and, in extreme circumstances, even start a fire!

How To Know if Your Monitor Is Getting Too Hot

If you notice unusual behavior with your monitors, such as flickering or ghosting, it’s a good idea to take a break and let it cool down. If the issue persists, it’s time to unplug it and give it a thorough inspection.

You should also be on the lookout for any physical signs of overheating, such as cracks in the casing or discoloration of the screen. If you see any of these, it’s time to unplug the monitor and have it checked out by a professional.

However, these warning signs might not always be present. The screen can black out suddenly, or you might notice smoke or a burning smell. If this happens, you will need to replace the monitor.

How To Keep Your Monitor Cool

Here are a few tips to help keep your monitor cool and prevent it from overheating:

  1. Don’t leave your monitor near vents or windows
  2. Make sure the monitor vents are unobstructed
  3. Clean your monitor often
  4. Get a cooling fan
  5. Stop overclocking

1. Don’t Leave Your Monitor Near Vents or Windows

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s still worth a mention. If you leave your monitor near an air-conditioning or heating vent, the airflow can actually lead to overheating.

The same goes for leaving it near a window, as the sun can heat the monitor and lead to cooling issues.

2. Make Sure the Vents Are Unobstructed

If you have a desktop computer, ensure that the back of the monitor is not blocked by anything. This includes clothing, books, papers, or any other objects.

The same goes for laptops. Make sure the side, back, or bottom vents are not blocked. And if you’re using your computer on your lap, be sure to use a cooling pad to help circulate the air and keep things at a comfortable temperature.

3. Clean Your Monitor Often

Dust can build up on your monitor, which, over time, can lead to cooling problems and overheating. So, it’s important to clean it often!

The best way to do this is with compressed air. You can also use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the screen. Just be careful not to use harsh chemicals or cleaners, as they can damage the screen.

A friend made this mistake once:

She thought cleaning her monitor with a window cleaning solution would be a good idea. But it actually left streaks on the screen and made it harder to see.

I’ve also seen people damage their screens by using too much pressure when cleaning. So, be careful and try as much as possible to use a microfiber cloth and wipe in the same direction. 

4. Get a Cooling Fan

Suppose you’re using your computer in a hot environment or doing something that’s likely to cause overheating, such as gaming or video editing. In that case, getting a cooling fan is a good idea. 

There are many different cooling fans available, so choose one specifically designed for monitors. You can find them online or at your local electronics store.

👋 Hey There, I'm Eric!

Since 2018, I've been making streams come true.

I like gaming, streaming and watching other people stream. I created this website to help streamers, viewers, and gamers answer questions they have regarding live streaming, gaming, and PCs. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I also have a Youtube channel where I make videos about streaming. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.