• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Question Can I Freeze My Computer In A Freezer Safely?

Mulsiphixx

Junior Member
Jun 10, 2014
17
3
71
My friend and I want to freeze this mid-tower PC for 24 hours. Contains both an M2 and several HDDs.

Questions
1.
Will doing this repeatedly, say every two weeks indefinitely, cause harm to electronics within in any way, assuming they are allowed to dry sufficiently before being turned on again?
2. If it is safe to freeze them, what is a good amount of time to let them dry before turning the PC on again?

THE ACTUAL PLAN
To clarify, the idea was to buy a chest freezer. Set the unit to be as cold as possible, put the PC in there for 24 hours. According to what I've read online no roach can survive an immediate change in climate like this. They can hibernate up to 10 to 14 hours (say a cold night) but further exposure will start to kill them off. At 24 hours, in temperatures of 32F or lower, they will surely die. Roaches are able to survive cold temperatures, but only if allowed to acclimate over time. A change this quick will not allow them or their egg sacs to survive.

The PC comes out, compressed air is blow throughout the unit to dislodge dead bodies and eggs, and then the PC is left to dry on a floor with a fan blowing air inside it for two to three days to insure no water remains. The PC is placed on a large tape pad made of duct tape and power is finally restored. Large roaches get caught on duct tape. Tiny roaches can crawl across it fine. Roach eggs take two to three weeks to hatch.

If the computer is frozen twice a month in this manner there should be very little activity within a PC at all. Tape pads are effective but over months time prove incapable of stopping every single visitor, as someone eventually gets inside, lays eggs, and an infestation takes root. My primary concern is for the electronics and whether they can take be refrozen in this matter over the course of multiple years. Twice a month is 52 times, 3 years is 156. It definitely add ups. Will the regular compression and expansion of plastics, metals, or circuitry within hurt any parts in any operational manner?

BACKGROUND STORY (optional read)
Friend asked me to help with a computer problem. I diagnosed it as a dead PSU over the phone, and when I investigated in person I found he had a horrible roach infestation in his home. Unfortunately, he has an autoimmune disease and using pesticides isn't a solution. He has consulted pest control experts and he is using all non-chemical roach methods recommended, but he cannot rid his house of them, only control their numbers. Unfortunately, electronics are perfect hive locations, because of constant warmth and being tight cut off spaces. His PC PSU was no exception. I cleaned it out, tried a PSU I had handy, and his PC is fine.

At this point the question is how to save this PC from dying and reduce the potential for roach assisted (dropping, dead bodies, egg sacks) short circuiting. To the roaches, the PSU is a closed ecosystem. If a single roach gets in, it lays eggs, the eggs hatch, and that generation lives inside the PC, likely feeding on the remains of other dead roaches. They never have to leave in order to thrive. Despite his best efforts to prevent access into the PC itself, they always find a way. So he has accepted that for the time being, roaches aren't going anywhere.

He relies on a PC for everyday work, so he needs to protect it from failure. He has a solid data backup solution, so this conversation is only about protecting future hardware failure. We read online that freezing roaches and their eggs will kill them off. After that, he can blow any remaining bodies out with compressed air. If he does this every two weeks, it should prevent any real hives from establishing in the future.
 
  • Wow
Reactions: AnitaPeterson

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
14,217
4,768
146
:oops:

Just when you think you've seen it all. I thought the user who's cat like to urinate on his computer would be the most unique situation I'd see, but now I'm not so sure about that.

I mean, as long as all the moisture and condensation is not on any the components (it would have to dry for long periods after being removed from the freezer), in theory I guess it would work. Although most of the components list both operating and storage temperatures, and I imagine doing this would severely impact the components overall lifetime, and would cause failure well before the normal expected MTBF.

However, I imagine an exterminator would be a WAY BETTER option than repeatedly freezing an entire computer. This seriously makes me think it could be on an episode off of Hoarders: Buried Alive.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
50,495
6,065
126
Aww geez, that's a tough spot. It also makes me hesitant to work on people's PCs that they bring me, for fear that they bring "bugs" to my place, which is an apt. complex. Sigh.

Anyways, perhaps, the most immediate solution for you, would be getting a new "Roach/bug-proof PC".

Look for "Industrial PCs", that have NO ventilation, but instead, are made so that the chassis (which usually has ribs) is one large passive heatsink for the components, and generally sealed from the outside. (Still has USB ports, etc.)

Yeah, I know, roaches are crafty, and maybe babies could crawl into the power jack socket or something, I don't know.

But that's my best suggestion, that way you wouldn't have to keep the PC out of service for a few days every few weeks to "de-roach" it.

 
Last edited:

TheELF

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2012
3,198
366
126
Moisture will do immediate damage to some components, most mobos are fine but you can't be sure about everything, especially PSUs and mechanical disks I imagine will be very susceptible to moisture.
It can corrode some things within just a few minutes and then that component won't work anymore no matter how long you dry it off because the corrosion already happened.
Isn't here some sort of mesh to protect from roaches?! Use that to wrap the PC up.

Otherwise look into a Mineral Oil PC setup.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AnitaPeterson

Mr Evil

Senior member
Jul 24, 2015
464
186
116
mrevil.asvachin.com
What I'd be worried about is damage from thermal cycling. Most components in a PC will not be rated to handle temperatures below 0°C, and so will not be sealed against moisture. Any moisture inside a component when it freezes will expand, eventually cracking it.

If you want to avoid that happening, you need to seal the computer in a completely dry enclosure of some sort.
 

blckgrffn

Diamond Member
May 1, 2003
7,520
724
126
www.teamjuchems.com
Wow.

I think Larry’s suggestion is the most actionable. Hopefully an industrial unit sealed from dust will last much longer - and since many are SFF can be placed so as to have maximum/easily replaceable defenses - be more defensible with the current methods in use.

Still. Props for really explaining what is happening.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
5,737
569
126
Yes you can freeze a PC. Don't know if this is going to solve your problem, but the main thing is that it must be up to room temperature with all condensation evaporated away before connecting to power, and I'd take the battery out of the motherboard first.

However if you have bug parts potentially causing short circuits, condensation could make that worse. What I would do, is clean it out first, then when you remove the system from the freezer, immediately seal it in a trash bag with all extra air evacuated out till it reaches room temperature, so there is minimum condensation caused, or put it in the bag ahead of time.

It's a waste of time if you don't effectively treat the premises for roaches, block entry points, and keep food/water contained so they have no motivation to be there.

You can roach proof a system without it being sealed, by just blocking any unnecessary holes and putting filter panels on the rest. Not sure if they would chew through a cellulose based filter panel medium so I'd use metal mesh or perforated type instead. That's a substantial reduction in airflow so you need a large surface area or much more intake or exhaust fan power.
 
Last edited:

RLGL

Golden Member
Jan 8, 2013
1,762
202
106
Expansion and contraction, two things that happen during heating and cooling. I would be afraid of the cycles breaking the traces on the MB.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
5,737
569
126
Some of you guys must live in wonderful climates where it never gets cold. Here, several times I've received something electronic, including motherboards, in the mail in winter, so they were sitting at sub-freezing temperature in my mailbox or on the porch.

The only temperature related problem I've ever had was the time my sister mailed me a bag of chocolate covered peanuts in summer, lol.
 
Last edited:

blckgrffn

Diamond Member
May 1, 2003
7,520
724
126
www.teamjuchems.com
Some of you guys must live in wonderful climates where it never gets cold. Here, several times I've received something electronic, including motherboards, in the mail in winter, so they were sitting at sub-freezing temperature in my mailbox or on the porch.

The only temperature related problem I've ever had was the time my sister mailed me a bag of chocolate covered peanuts in summer, lol.
It's negative 25 here and yeah, I've received many deliveries of all sorts of stuff. I just don't think I would do it on the regular and or when I couldn't return it easily/quickly as defective :)
 

gorobei

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2007
3,148
299
126
freezing is generally outside the rated specs of a bunch of the components.

the better option would be to go the opposite direction and aim for the upper limit of roach temps. pest control uses high heat for hours/days to kill bedbugs and the eggs. 120f is nowhere near the 120c Tjunction limit of transistors and wont add the risk of condensation. at those temps they would probably move to the walls but they wouldnt be in the pc.

that said, the person should just seal up all their food in a bin and cut off the main lure. bottle traps or jar-vasoline traps work fine. hell even a gecko would be better than this freezer plan.

a new system with a older/last gen ryzen and 0rpm fan psu shouldnt generate nearly enough heat to be above ambient (my system has the fan curve set to moderate at idle and the parts inside are cold to the touch. mind you i have ssd only)
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
5,737
569
126
^ Those low temperature specs are likely operational rather than storage limits, but you have a good point about going the opposite direction in temperature, though I saw a little higher 130F to 150F mentioned to kill. However, it could be difficult for the average person to control temperature in this range, if their oven is not accurate that low (seems like some don't even have a setting much below 200F) or they don't have an enclosure and heater setup to do it.

Many typical, portable heaters have an overheat shutoff before that high. I mean the shutoff components themselves may be rated higher than that temperature but only due to proximity to the heating element, to account for best-estimation of downstream temperatures, that it's operating outside of normal/safe limits, that something went wrong whether intake or exhaust blocked or fan failed, etc.

I guess if you have a thermometer that measures that high you could even try using a hairdryer, if the case has a window to view it, or an infrared heat gun type thermometer for measurement, though some hairdryers might also cut off from heat buildup before you could get the whole pc up to 120F+ and keep it there for several minutes, which leads to a heat gun... where it seems like variable heat settings would work best to achieve and maintain a controlled temperature, and might be a bit low airflow to get the downstream portion of the PC hot enough before overheating the intake area and components there.
 
Last edited:

gorobei

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2007
3,148
299
126
im not talking about heating the pc, im saying heat the entire room/house to 120+ for a 5-7 days while removing all food sources. solve the problem not the symptom.

when killing bedbugs they turn the entire space into a sauna and leave it there for a while. roaches might move to the wall hollow spaces but eliminating the food means they are that much closer to exiting the building. [also borax powder sprinkled in their path will eventually kill them when they get hungry and clean the powder from their legs by licking/eating.]

a propane radiant heater will crank out enough btu in a short while. a large electric radiant will do the same just slowly.
 

AnitaPeterson

Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
5,683
69
91
If the PC owner has an autoimmune disease and can't use pesticides, would it not be simpler to take the PC away from their house take it to an open space, spray it thoroughly with whatever bug-killing substance you have available, seal it in a plastic bag, then wait... and return it in a few days, after all the roaches are dead, and the smell has dissipated?

*edit*
Then again, if the whole house is infested, it will take only a few days until the bugs are back in the machine... Ugh!
 
Last edited:
Feb 4, 2009
28,734
9,311
136
I mean wow, I just don’t know.
Per a friend who had a roach infested place, there is no possible way of getting rid of roaches without using chemicals. They are persistent and keep coming back.
Borax soap along all the walls, in the corners, in the cabinet seams sort of works but it is not a complete solution. They will come back.
A professional exterminator the licensed more expensive folks should be able to come up with a plan to address the problem however if your friend is renting that is the landlords responsibility and if they aren’t addressing the problem board of health should be consulted.

Regarding the PC, how about leaving it somewhere it will debug and maybe a raspberry pi is a better web option. Admittedly this is really a basic browsing solution without your friend having to go full Linux nerd. Small, can be sealed, power supply is like a phone charger, no mechanical hard drive.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY