Does not compute: Avoid these 5 bad habits with your home tech | America's Preferred Home Warranty Skip to main content

Does not compute: Avoid these 5 bad habits with your home tech

A Blended man sits at the desk in his home office, using the desktop computer

For most home-based workers, the day doesn’t begin without the tap of a screen or the push of a button. Whether we consider ourselves IT wizards or not, technology makes it possible for us to excel at the work we do – so how can we make it last?

By exploring bad habits with our home office tech, we can learn how to take better care of the devices that keep us going.

The 5 most common types of tech habits

Your home likely contains some or all of the 5 main categories of office equipment below. Have you caught yourself or someone else in your household practicing any of these bad habits?

  • Laptop computers: Blocking ventilation with blankets makes it hard for your laptop to breathe
  • Desktop computers: Crowding the computer on your home office desk can cause overheating
  • Monitors: Incorrect cleaning can lead to damage
  • Printers: Pushing your printer’s limits with paper can affect its parts
  • Routers: Weighed down WiFi can lead to frustration for all

How can I avoid or fix these bad tech habits?

Keep reading for more details on common tech owner bad habits, and some straightforward ways you can stop them.

Tech Bad Habit #1: Blanket blockage

If you ever find yourself catching up on work from the couch or sending a quick email from bed, your laptop may be getting smothered by your blankets. Remedy this problem by ditching the blankets or investing in an affordable laptop ventilation stand (Most cost under $20) so you and your laptop can both avoid overheating.


A Hispanic woman uses her laptop computer atop blankets as she sits on the couch


Tech Bad Habit #2: Crowding your computer

When’s the last time you reset your home office space? It can be very easy for our desks to become a catch-all spot, accumulating papers, office supplies, and personal effects that can crowd our desktop computers and take up valuable space. Poor ventilation makes it easier for the device to get too hot, which, if left for too long, can be costly to repair.

Keep the space around your desktop computer organized by scheduling a weekly or monthly calendar reminder, and consider desktop storage solutions to help give things a proper place. Clearing away dust and removing any fabric or fabric-like materials from the perimeter of your computer can also help air circulate more easily.

Tech Bad Habit #3: Incorrect cleaning

While you’re cleaning up the space around your monitor, it can be tempting to use whatever products you have on hand to get rid of any fingerprints, smudges, or streaks. Taking a moment to swap out household cleaners for safer options can help you preserve your monitor by avoiding cleaner-based damage.

Which liquids are safe for monitor cleaning? Distilled or filtered water are your best bet, but you can also spring for designated screen cleaner. Apply either substance to a soft cloth, like microfiber, and gently wipe down your monitor. Never spray any liquid directly onto the monitor, as it greatly increases the chances of liquid getting into the device and eating away at its parts.

Pro Tip: Though tempting, cleaning your monitor with compressed air is not as effective at removing smudges as the choices above, and it can also damage your screen.


White hands emerging from two suit sleeves pull on paper jammed in a printer


Tech Bad Habit #4: Pushing it with paper

Printers are convenient and can give us hard copies of our documents quickly – but pushing our printers to the max can cause jams or damage to parts of your machine, leading to a hefty repair cost or expensive replacements. Follow this checklist to make sure you’re giving your printer the best of care:

  • Check your settings before printing, adjusting your defaults as needed
  • Review your manual to see which paper is compatible with your device, reducing the risk of paper jams
  • Only put in the amount of paper you need (no more than ¾ full), as old paper can warp and cause jams
  • Keep your printer and its paper in a cool, dry place to avoid dampness, which can ruin your device and the documents you print
  • Access your manual to find out how to clean your printer rollers safely, letting them dry afterward to limit debris; this helps them grip paper properly
  • Remove empty cartridges to avoid damaging your print head and causing streaks, splotches, or faint prints

Pro Tip: Maintaining your printer 2-3 times a year can also help extend the life of your machine.

Tech Bad Habit #5: Weighed down WiFi

We can get so used to our routers giving us a steady stream of WiFi that we may add too many devices to the network without even realizing it, making it hard for some or all of them to connect or load programs quickly. Prevent router overwhelm in a few easy steps.

  • Make sure your router is in a cool, dry place with good ventilation
  • Follow manual instructions to clean your router monthly (Compressed air may work well for this)
  • Inspect the cables and replace any that are cracked, frayed, or have broken connectors
  • Limit access to the device by changing strong passwords regularly and only sharing them with people you trust
  • Disconnect your tech from the network when it’s not in use

After reading this guide, you’re equipped to give your home tech the best care possible. If you notice any concerns that good habits and regular maintenance don’t quickly solve, it may be time to call a professional – which is even easier if you already have our Home Entertainment and Technology Plan.

Don’t lose these helpful tips – bookmark this article for when you need a quick reboot! What other advice have you used to help your tech last longer? Visit us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram to tell us your thoughts!