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Caring for Todays Home Theater Gear

by Jane Brown on Sep 28, 2016

Televisions have really evolved into a level of entertainment and information (infotainment) value that no one ever predicted decades ago. You can look into TV internet specials and other entertainment options to watch movies and enjoy an amazing array of channels on our televisions, all with phenomenal sound and pictures. Video games are a great option as well.

Most people are operating such new equipment that the performance is still very good. But the fact is that our shiny new TV will reach a point where it starts to act up, and there will be a choice of expensive repairs or replacement.

To some extent, it's inevitable. Products get old and wear out. But you can do a lot to prolong the life of your TV and other electronics. If you're the type who prefers to maximize mileage for your major purchases, consider these points for maintenance and care.

The Home Environment

The biggest enemy of electronics inside a home is dust. Its persistent pursuit of places to settle lets it find its way into every nook and cranny imaginable.

The impact is more than just aesthetic. In addition to negative health effects on people with allergies, dust is bad for your devices. Electronic junctions that become crusted with dust, especially when the dust draws moisture from humid conditions, quickly malfunction and can overheat or otherwise fail. Home HVAC filters and ducts should be cleaned regularly, and routine household cleaning should also involve some vacuuming around vented areas on electronics.

Speaking of humidity, it must be monitored as well. Most people can detect the sultry feel of a humid indoor space and, of course, an air conditioner does eliminate a lot of humidity. But electronics that are set up in a typical basement man cave are out of sight and out of mind, and moisture levels can get sky high between your visits. Invest in a dehumidifier to keep levels low, and set it up near a floor drain so that it can empty itself without your help.

Screen Care

Old tube-based televisions had glass screens, and most people just cleaned them with glass cleaner. But modern flat screens should not be maintained in this way. The materials and methods used to clean them call for completely different care.

Common glass-cleaning products aren't suitable. Instead, many televisions come with a cleaning cloth used for dry wiping to keep dust off the screen, and manuals will instruct you on proper ways to clean fingerprints and other wet or oily messes.

Watch out for impacts with the screen, too. Think about what may be stored nearby, and if it may be possible for the use of books or toys in adjacent shelves to bump into the screen and create scuffs. Those bumps and bruises are irreversible and will be a glaring imperfection on your high-definition TV.

Accessory Care

Some entertainment centers resemble their own television station, with a DVR packed beside a DVD player and the subwoofer for the surround sound. The more components we add to our TV enjoyment, the more space we use. As things get crowded, we're tempted to pack items closely together.

This can be trouble. First, you should always make sure to allow for adequate ventilation. These devices generate heat, and if they cannot effectively release that heat into the air around them, the high temperatures will eventually cause damage.

You should also think about power. Cramming everything onto a single power strip could cause breakers to trip or cords to overheat. See about having additional receptacles installed in the device-heavy areas of your home.

Most people build their home theaters a little at a time, so it can be easy to miss the impact of accumulated equipment. If you start with a good maintenance plan and consider the changes you make along the way, you'll be sure to get the most life from your system.

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