While a noisy laptop fan can be a sign of potential problems, it is possible to troubleshoot and solve these issues in a matter of minutes.
If you've ever asked "Why is my laptop fan so loud?" then this article is for you.
We have collected five of the most common causes of a loud laptop fan below, including a solution for each issue.
Let's look at how to restore your laptop fan to perfect working order:
1. Remove Fan Dust
Computers are composed of a myriad of moving parts, and the design is such that you shouldn't be able to hear the fan noise at all, especially not a grating one.
A noisy laptop fan is not only annoying but also an indicator of more significant underlying problems.
Usually, excessive fan noise is attributable to dust or overheating. Both work in opposition to the fan and cause it to use more energy thereby making more noise.
The inside of a laptop is a prime spot for collecting dust. That’s because most laptops use forced ventilation, which, as a byproduct, sucks dust into the interior compartments.
As dust accumulates, it can cause a series of potential problems.
The foremost issue is that the dust blocks the fan vents and the insulation parts. The fan is forced to work harder to circulate air inside the laptop than it would otherwise have required.
While a computer ordinarily generates some amount of heat, excessive dust can lead to overheating, which also decreases the lifespan of the device.
Fortunately, dust is easy to remove. The best way to do it is with compressed air, which typically costs between $5 and $10.
Depending on how often and how much you use it, the product will last upwards of a year.
After purchasing a can of compressed air, the first step is to shut down your computer. Open the base covers and carefully spray the dust directly with the compressed air.
You might get a lot of dust everywhere, so it helps to do this somewhere you don't mind getting dirty, like the garage or the basement.
As you continue to spray the laptop interior, make sure to hold the can upright. This positioning allows for the most concentrated flow of air.
If you lean over, turning the can on its side or even upside-down, the airflow will stagnate. It may also spray moisture, which is detrimental to your computer.
Once you complete the cleaning, replace the base cover, and enjoy a quieter laptop.
While compressed air is an efficient cleaner, it is not necessarily environmentally friendly. Each can is made up of plastic and metals that make it difficult to recycle.
Fortunately, there are alternatives—all you need is a Phillips-head screwdriver and a cloth.
Using a Cloth
Once you unscrew the base, hold the fan firmly in place to prevent it from moving around. Do not remove the fan! Doing so could damage the heat dissipaters in the laptop or the processor.
Gently run the clean cloth along with the blades of the fan. You should let each stroke start at the center and move towards the tip of each blade.
As the cloth builds up dust and dirt, change to a different section of the fabric or use a new cloth entirely.
Before replacing the cover, feel free to wipe the vents clean and gently blow on the fan to dislodge any remaining dust or debris.
Whatever you do, avoid using a brush or a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust. Each of these devices has potential static build-up, which may discharge into the laptop.
At its worst, static electricity can destroy integrated circuits that would prevent you from being able to use the computer in the future.
2. Stop Unnecessary Computer Processes
If you are experiencing excessive laptop fan noise, it may be a result of overworking the machine. For instance, the computer fan will strain itself, responding to hardware demands from the graphics and central processing units. This strenuous input is typically a result of having multiple processes running at once.
The best thing to do is to kill the processes. One way to do this is with an Activity Monitor for Macs or a Task Manager for Windows. When you open the systems, they will display a list of the applications and system processes that are currently running.
"Start by ending the most energy-intensive process first. You will not only reduce the noise of the fan but preserve battery life as well. "
You will be able to organize the list based on different categories, such as memory, energy, disk, network, and CPU.
These factors provide insight into what processes require the most power and are causing the noisy fan. Once you troubleshoot the options, you can kill the processes and see how much effort the laptop preserves.
The goal here is to close unnecessary apps. Start by ending the most energy-intensive process first. You will not only reduce the noise of the fan but preserve battery life as well.
3. Raise Your Laptop Off the Desk To Keep It Cooler
An abnormally loud fan is often a symptom of overheating. With computers becoming smaller and more compact, overheating is becoming a prevalent concern.
Faster processors operating in tighter cases generate more heat.
Overheating is problematic for more than your fan, though. Sony recalled several thousand of its computers because they operated at a high enough temperature to induce burns. There was also global speculation that overheating laptops could lead to male infertility.
Additionally, the internal components of the laptop are at risk. Too much heat can cause the failure of parts, such as motherboards, hard drives, and video cards. It can also dramatically decrease the life expectancy of the device.
While a noisy fan is an obvious sign, there are several other symptoms of overheating. For instance, the computer may be sluggish when you try to execute basic tasks, like opening a Word document.
You might also experience freezing, the laptop shutting down, mysterious error messages, or lines randomly showing up on the screen.
While taking a break is the most straightforward solution, you may need to use your laptop for an extended time, which makes that option less than feasible.
If so, you to minimize the blockage of the fan. For instance, when the laptop is on your lap, your leg obstructs the fan from below.
An easy solution is to place the laptop on a hard, flat surface. The pads on the bottom of the computer should prevent the base from sitting flush with the surface. The added bit of space will usually be enough to solve overheating problems.
If you find it does not remedy the problem, try a laptop stand. There are many different kinds available, easily suited to your aesthetic and functional preferences. If you are more of a DIY-type person, there are plenty of alternative solutions, too.
Regardless of the route you take, the goal should be to give the fan ample room to circulate air, free from obstruction.
4. Use an External Laptop Cooling Device
We have already touched on a stand as a method to cool your laptop, but there are other options as well.
Cooling cases bring down the temperature of your laptop, which takes the pressure off the fan and helps reduce any potential noise.
One of our favorite cooling cases is the Havit HV-F2056. While Havit makes a range of different size cases, this one fits laptops that are 15.6 to 17 inches wide.
The case is a perfect blend of slim and portable, with enough durability to prevent wear on the bottom of the laptop. Best of all, its three fans are almost silent so that users can enjoy a noise-free workspace.
Another option is to have a portable laptop cooler that sucks away the hot air from the computer. An example of this is the OPOLAR Lap Fan Cooler. For only $30, the nifty little device can "reduce both surface and internal temperature by 18 to 50 F degrees in minutes."
The OPOLAR Lap Fan Coolers works because it absorbs any excess heat the laptop produces. All you have to do is plug the device into the side of the computer to get it started.
The OPOLAR Lap Fan Cooler also comes with a temperature display, 13 different fan speeds, and a rapid cooling feature.
Last, but not least, are cooling pads. Place your laptop on top of one and let it work its cooling magic. One the best options are the Kootek Cool Pad Chill Mat 5, which comfortable fits comfortable from one foot to 17 inches in width.
The Kootek Cool Pad Chill Mat 5 is a mouthful, but it is much more efficient than its competitors. According to Lap Top Mag, it will cool the internal temperature by more than 30 degrees, and the surface by 11 degrees.
It is also relatively quiet with only 54 decibels, it offers angles from 0 to 25 degrees, and it comes with a three-year warranty.
5. (Cautiously) Use Software To Reduce Fan Speed
Downloading software to reduce laptop fan noise is an unconventional yet viable solution which can work.
If you are a Mac user, Macs Fan Control gives you the ability to monitor and control different aspects of the fan.
When you open the application, you will be able to see a list of fans in one panel and temperature sensors in the other. Included in the fans panel is a heading that indicates the minimum, current, and maximum operating speed for your fan.
Those readings will let you diagnose a potential problem quickly. For instance, if it is 80 degrees in the workspace and the fans aren't functioning, there is an issue. The same applies when it is 40 degrees, and the fans are operating at maximum capacity.
Using software to adjust laptop fan speed can increase the chances of your laptop overheating which could cause damage.
Only use this type of software if it is your laptop and your are confident you know what you are dong.
Windows users should consider using SpeedFan, which allows people to track laptop cooling and hardware statuses easily. The application uses digital sensors inside the computer to monitor the temperature.
Once the app scans a system, it provides a detailed report and can take some necessary measures to prevent overheating.
For instance, SpeedFan will automatically adjust the speed of the central processing unit if the monitor indicates it is too hot or too cold.
The app supports a range of sensors and hardware monitoring chips, and, best of all, it is free. Windows users may also consider using other software to reduce laptop fan noise and rising temperatures, such as HWMonitor.
If your laptop is making a grinding noise, there are several solutions to be considered.
One of the simplest things to do is use compressed air to remove excess dust build-up from inside the laptop.
You can also use a cloth to gently remove the dust if you do not have compressed air on hand.
If that does not work, the next step is to minimize the workload of the machine by shutting down processes.
It also means placing it in a cooler location where the fan can circulate air without obstruction, which causes unnecessary strain on the device.
These should be your primary methods of addressing fan noise as they work to solve the problem directly rather than masking it.
Users can even download software or purchase cooling devices that eliminate laptop fan noise.
Apps, such as Macs Fan Control and SpeedFan let users precisely monitor the energy levels of their fans and make changes accordingly.
People can also purchase laptop stands, cooling cases, and external fans to keep their laptop fan quiet and in perfect working order.
We hope one of these solutions works for you, thanks for reading.