Can a router overheat: Reasons & Tips to Prevent

Can a router overheat? – It is one of the commonly asked questions of most internet users. You are also probably concerned about it.

Right? No worry! I’ve put together this guide to help you find the answer to your query.

Continue reading to reveal what causes a router to overheat and what happens if router gets hot?

Don’t miss the section- “how to prevent router from overheating“.

Can A Router Overheat?- Your Answer is Here

Plain and simple: YES, this internet device can overheat.

Like many other electronic equipment, a Wi-Fi router can generate heat, and you can feel its warmth when its power is on and in use. But, overheating is not very common as they are very low-power internet devices. [1]

Router Overheating: What Does It Mean?

Wi-Fi routers are almost similar to modems or other low-powered electric devices. Typically, they use a low voltage supply (9V/12V) to power up and run.

This internet equipment comes equipped with a processor. But its processor doesn’t have a complicated operating process compared to that of the mobile or PC.

When the power switch is ON, electricity pass through to run the device. Router’s processor coordinates all the incoming and outgoing data or traffic. During the operation process, the processor generates slight heat. Typically, it raises the temperature of the circuit of the router.

So, how warm is your router normally, and how to determine that it is overheated?

SIMPLE!

It is normal for a Wi-Fi router and modem to be slightly warm or hot to touch.

To get a general idea of it, bring your hand close to your router. You’ll be able to feel the heat your device is giving off. If you touch the enclosure of your device, you can feel the warmth.

But you may feel an overheated router uncomfortable to touch.

What Causes Router to Overheat?

As mentioned above, overheating is not common for a Wi-Fi router. However, several reasons may cause it to overheat.

1. Blocked Air Vents

Wi-Fi modems and routers come equipped with vents on both sides of their enclosure. Air vents allow hot air to flow out from the interior of this device. It also allows the flowing of the relatively cool air inwards from outside. Thus, air vents help to maintain normal operating temperature.

Look at Router AIR vents

However, placing your router very close to any object or inside any confined furniture may restrict the air vents circulating sufficient air. As a result, your router may fail to sufficiently cool itself and hence cause it to overheat.

2. Poor Router’s Enclosure Design

Poorly designed router or power supply may lead to overheating. If your router doesn’t have enough air vents for passive air circulation, it will fail to cool down.

It’s no secret that if you are using a cheap router, or if it includes a chip that operates pretty hot in the circuitry, it may cause overheating issues.

3. Sustained Heavy Load

A sustained heavy load causes a domestic router to run hot.

Loading large files/ applications, traffic from heavy gaming, or streaming data for long periods cause a home router to generate heat.

In general, a home router can handle several connected devices smoothly. However, if too many devices are connected simultaneously to your router, it’ll put a lot of load on the chips and processor of your Wi-Fi system, resulting in overheating.

4. Hot Environmental Temperatures

It’s worth noting that this electronic unit is carefully designed to run continuously at room temperature. It can typically withstand temperature maximum 40-degree Celsius.

However, when you run it in summer without temperature-controlled rooms, you may feel this device runs hotter than usual. This is something to note that more overheating occurs during summer than in winter.

When the room or surrounding temperature rises, it adds heat to the device. As a result, the router temperature reaches beyond the rated maximum temperature level.

5. Wrong Placement of the Unit

In general, this internet equipment is designed to stand in an upright position. For this reason, some models include a base to keep it upright. The air vents are typically located at the back or the bottom of the device or along the sides.

No matter, it is a wall-mounted or desktop model, you should ensure it gets proper airflow. Most Wi-Fi routers are designed to stand in either horizontal or vertical position, not both.

If you don’t place it in the right position, you will be blocking the panels for air to travel through. As a result, the heat generated inside the enclosure will take longer to dissipate. Consequently, the inside temperature will increase which will lead to overheating the unit.

6. Dust Accumulation

No matter where you place your router, it’ll collect dust or dirt over time. If you set it on dust-prone areas of your office or house, dust accumulation will be faster. 

Too much dust build-up will block the vents as well as airflow to its housing, causing it to run hot. Thus, it adversely affects its performance and can shorten its lifespan.

What Happens If Your Router Gets Too Hot?

If your Wi-Fi router gets too hot, it’ll affect the performance and reduces the life of your device.

The most common problems due to overheating are:

  • Slower Internet Speed

The initial problem that you are likely to face is snail-like internet connection speed. It may not be as fast and reliable as it once was. In addition, the router’s processor will start delaying sending and receiving data.

 Unfortunately, a 50mbps or 100mbps router is not gonna make any difference in terms of speed if your router is overheated.

Sometimes your PC operations will throttle to crawl. Even worse, facilities or internet devices with high-speed broadband may become freeze.

  • Dropped Internet Connections

In some cases, the Wi-Fi system may turn off due to overheating and you may lose internet connection entirely. Dropping of connection is the most common symptom of an overheated Wi-Fi router.

Keep in mind that if your internet connection stop working but your router isn’t scorching to touch, the problem is not due to router overheating.

  • Hardware Failure

Surprisingly, an overheated router may contribute to malfunction and premature hardware failure.

So, can an overheating router and modem catch fire?

In the worst-case scenario, a scorching router or modem can even start a fire. But this is a rare case.

How Do I Stop My Router From Overheating?

So, how to keep a router cool? Luckily, there are several easy practices you can follow to prevent overheating.

  • Maintain Your Router Properly

Fortunately, routers require very little maintenance. Two things you can do to properly maintain and keep it in good condition for a long time.

  • Check the air vents for dust and dirt accumulation & clean as much as needed

Cleaning dust from inside of your Wi-Fi system helps to improve air circulation through it and helps cool it down. It is recommended to check its air vents for dust and dirt accumulation and clean this device at least once a month. If you place it dust-prone area, clean the air vents as much as needed.

It’s a good idea to blow out air vents for cleaning the dust that can restrict airflow through it. For this purpose, you can periodically use pressurized or compressed air. Can of compressed air is available at electronic or any office supply store. You can also buy it online.

I’ll recommend the Falcon Dust-Off Electronics Compressed Gas Duster. It is safe and great for cleaning hard-to-reach areas of any electronic device.

  • Try Updating the Router’s Firmware

If the processor of your router runs properly, there is no risk to generate excess heat. Updating your current firmware on regular basis helps its processor to prevent it from working harder than it should. Check for available updates of its firmware every few months and don’t miss to update it accordingly.

  • Position Your Wi-Fi Router In The Right Location

Wi-Fi router is a resilient device as long as you place it up correctly. Proper placement is an important factor to promote normal operating temperature for your device and prevent it from overheating. 

For this, 

First, keep the air vents of your device uncovered and free of obstruction.

Second, don’t tuck away your wireless router in a corner or crowd it with other devices or objects either.

Third, avoid stacking anything on top of it.

Fourth, never place your router near any electrical appliance/gadget that may generate heat. Placing it on or near the heater, TV, or gaming system will increase the temperature around your Wi-Fi system, and possibly overheat.

Finally, keep it in an elevated spot and off the floor.  

If you live in a hot climate region, place your Wi-Fi system in a temperature-controlled room. If you do not have air conditioning, but your router has an open port, the easy fix is to place a laptop cooling pad underneath. It’ll extract the hot air from the router and blow it out. 

You can also run a desk fan near your router. It will pass air around the device and help the inside hot air to blow out quickly.

5 Tips in Avoiding Wi-Fi Router Overheating

1. Replace outdated and defective routers, which are more susceptive to overheating. Invest in a newer and modern model.

2. Place your router somewhere cool; keep it away from any devices that can generate heat, direct heat source, or sunlight.

3. Place your router somewhere where the natural air can circulate freely around it and produce inside heat that can escape easily.

4. If your router has an open port, buy a cooling pad or mat for better heat dissipation. Plug it into your router with USB ports for blowing out the heat it is giving off.

5. Leave the device turned off to cool down when not in use. You may also opt to disable some features of your router that are not in use.  

My Parting Words

To sum it up: An internet router can overheat due to blocked air vents, overloading, poor router design, and high room temperatures.

I hope you have found this detailed post on “Can a Wi-Fi Router Overheat?” informative and quite helpful.

Keep your Wi-Fi system cool by following the tips I’ve outlined above. When you plan to buy a Wi-Fi router, try to read the customer reviews to find its real performance.

Good Luck.

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