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We’ve all been there; you’re using your laptop as you normally would, but you notice that the fan is more noisy than normal. Laptops are relatively expensive, and you don’t want yours to crap out on you.
So you want to deal with this new problem before it gets out of hand. This article discusses the causes of a noisy laptop fan and what you can do about it.
Is Laptop Fan Noise Normal
It may be normal, but it depends on the surrounding factors. Your laptop fan makes noise because it is moving at a faster speed than average. Its speed increases because the temperature of your laptop’s internal components has increased.
Hence, the fan must work harder to dissipate the heat these components generate. If they get too hot, that can permanently damage them or reduce their lifespan.
Why is Laptop Fan Noisy?
Demanding Software Processes
This could be many things such as gaming, multimedia editing, some types of programming, too many tabs open, etc. Anything that demands a more significant proportion of your laptop’s processing power may cause overheating.
Overheating is relatively normal, and it is expected that as soon as you stop running these processes, the laptop will begin to cool, and the fan noise will stop in a few minutes.
However, if you aren’t doing anything outside the norm with your laptop, you can open your laptop’s task manager to figure out if it is an errant software process that’s causing the overheating.
If any software is taking up more than 20% of your CPU for more than 10 seconds, that might be the cause of the noise. End it and see if the noise stops.
The Surface the Laptop is On
Laptop fans dissipate air, and that air needs to escape via vents.
If the laptop is placed on inappropriate surfaces or spaces such as human skin, clothes, or wardrobe, the hair will have nowhere to escape. That will make the laptop hot and cause the fan to get noisier.
The Laptop Feet are Detached
There are two rubber feet at the bottom of your laptop; those feet are usually located on both sides, just under the laptop screen. The rubber feet help elevate the laptop’s vents off the surface of the laptop is and allow heat to be dissipated.
If they are missing, the heat might build up. Check the base of your laptop to confirm if the feet are still present.
Dust can accumulate on the fan via the vents. It is harder for the fan to cool down the CPU effectively when this happens.
The dust may also degrade the fan’s ball bearings, making the fan unbalanced, which can also be a separate cause of the fan noise.
The Fan Has Worn Down
Though this isn’t common, if you’ve had your laptop for several years, it’s possible the fan has worn down and can no longer function as it used to.
Out of Date Software
When some types of software are out of date, a graphics driver, for example, may force the laptop to expend more energy than it needs to operate. This may cause overheating and fan noise.
How to Fix Laptop Fan Noise
The fix for the laptop fan noise depends on the underlying cause.
Missing Rubber Feet
Missing rubber laptop footpads can be easily replaced if you can find the right ones for your model, which might be tricky.
However, for more recent laptop models, the manufacturer of the laptop usually has them available for sale on its website. Alternatively, especially for Macbooks, you can get the feet on Amazon. If that fails, your nearest service center should have them in stock.
You’ll need to clean the fans themselves. If you can, you should open the laptop up. Before doing this, ensure that it’s switched off and all the power cables are disconnected.
Afterward, unscrew the bottom of the laptop and disconnect the fans from the motherboard. Next, spray the cooling fan with canned air at an angle in 1-second bursts. This helps to ensure that the dust leaves the laptop instead of being pushed to other parts.
Then use a dry, microfiber cloth to wipe it down. Since the laptop is already open, you should also clean the power supply fans using the same methods. Do not open the power supply compartment as this may damage the laptop.
Finally, confirm that the thermal paste of the CPU and GPU hasn’t been depleted. If it has been depleted, replace it. The thermal paste helps the CPU and GPU dissipate heat. You should ensure you reconnect everything once you’re done.
If you don’t know how to open your laptop up, you can do a lighter leveling of cleaning using a straight straw and a blow dryer after the laptop has been switched off and unplugged.
Press down on one end of the straw until it’s skinny, then insert it into the vents at an angle and place the blow dryer on the other end. Repeat this process for all the vents, then put your laptop on to see if it worked.
Laptop Cooling Pads
You can purchase a cooling pad for your laptop. These pads provide a flat, smooth surface you can take with you on the go.
The pads come with a fan that specifically directs air to the vents at the bottom of your laptop, helping to recirculate cool air and prevent overheating.
You can confirm if your drivers are up-to-date and download new ones if they aren’t by going to your laptop manufacturer’s official website.
Worn Down Fan
If the fan or its ball bearings look worn after you open it up, you’ll need to replace it. A laptop cooling fan costs $20-$50.
How to Replace Laptop Fan
Before you start, consult your owner’s manual, as the process will vary depending on the specific laptop model.
You should avoid making contact with the metallic part throughout the process to prevent static charges from building up and frying your laptop’s internal component.
Shut down your laptop, unplug the charger, and remove the battery. Then long-press the power button to discharge any residual current within the computer. Next, unscrew the cover on the underside of the laptop. There may be multiple covers.
Pull the connector of the cooling fan out and unscrew the fan. Place the new cooling fan in. Like before, you should clean the power supply fan and replace the thermal compound. Finally, screw back everything.
Laptop fans make noise when they need to work harder than normal to cool the system due to overheating. The noise is normal if you’re doing something on the laptop, such as playing high-end games or rendering 3D animation.
If you’re not, the noise may be due to several possibilities, such as dust accumulation within the laptop. The solution depends on the exact cause of the noise.