Thermal paste has the function of making our computers run better. When we think of thermal paste that takes care of our delicate parts, we usually stop thinking about its expiration date. We do not care about the question of how long the thermal paste lasts!
While this is not credible, it does indicate that the thermal paste has lost its ability to function effectively over time. Most manufacturers of thermal paste guarantee that their product will have a shelf life of three to five years.
Even when you buy a component, the thermal paste stays on the shelf for a long time, which means that its longevity and effective cooling properties are further reduced. So, there is an elephant in the room.
This time limit applies only if the thermal paste is stored under natural conditions, i.e. weather that is too hot or too cold is bad. Nice though. If these measures are not taken into account, it can adversely affect the thermal paste performance.
What is thermal paste?
It is a thermal compound, a cooling agent, used to prevent CPU overheating. The main purpose is to eliminate the air gap between the CPU and its heat sink and to increase heat conduction and dissipation. This keeps the CPU cool, thereby increasing the speed and performance of the system and the CPU running smoothly.
Kinds of Thermal Paste
There are some varieties available in the market. People usually stick to the market’s favorite or most rated paste. They swear on its performance or longevity. Metal thermal paste, silicone thermal paste and some types of ceramic thermal paste. Different types of thermal pastes contain the same type of material, but slightly up and down with the amount applied. The most common materials include silicone oil, ceramics, aluminum, carbon nanoparticles, zinc oxide and other antioxidants. Is there a difference between these types of thermal paste? Well, it does increase its shelf life, but there is no big difference here.
Does Thermal Paste Go Bad?
Surely it does. Even the best thermal paste can turn bad if not handled properly. Trapping the air gap in the heat sink is a great way to separate the thermal paste. Thermal paste is essential to ensure that the CPU operates in a quiet environment.
The overheating system is likely to shut down. But in the worst case, you can destroy the system, it will cost you a lot of money to fix it. Or you may need to completely replace your system.
It is recommended that regular inspections be performed to ensure effective performance and to see if there is any need for its replacement.
Reasons for Thermal Paste Expiry
When we talk about how long the thermal past will last, we can focus on how long it will take care of. The answer to expired thermal paste may be very simple: you did not take good care of it. You need to be careful when sealing the thermal paste, otherwise it may fall apart due to some negligence. When this happens, the paste is completely invisible when separated from the bottle.
You can tell if the thermal paste is bad. A bad thermal paste will never look the same or work the same as an initial application. When you remove it from the tube, some signals will immediately inform you about its health. A flat and deadly sign it has flakes. What does this mean when the paste is broken? The consistency of the paste is another sign when it is water.
All of this may have happened because the paste was not kept in a confined environment; It is kept in very cold or high weather or more air is trapped in the tube.
When Do You Know That Thermal Paste Is Expired
Does the question arise as to whether the thermal paste will deteriorate even with good care? Most probably not. It totally depends on how well it is served. When you deal with sensitive compounds, proper care goes a long way.
Above all, we rely on this feature to ensure the reliable performance of our systems. Therefore, it is important for us to ensure good habits so that this cooling effect lasts longer and prevents our system from overheating.
Thermal paste manufacturers provide their customers with manuals indicating precautions and recommendations. If you have been using thermal paste for a long time, it is better not to rush and use alternatives. But in the long run it is not recommended.
It is possible to test on a flat surface, preferably metal, before applying the paste. If you spread it on a flat surface, you can tell by its consistency whether it is good or not. Any red flag with adhesive or water and you need to replace it. Do not try any hacks with the paste. You can put your computer at greater risk. If you try any hacks, you will probably end up with a fried heat sink.
The best thing to do is to forget the past and buy a new paste. The best part is that it is easily accessible and not too expensive. It’s up to you to choose whether you want to risk your computer system or spend a little to replace the thermal paste tube. I recommend the latter.
Is Storage a Hassle?
Proper maintenance and storage of your thermal paste will give it a long shelf life. You should always keep your container in a cool environment. If you expose it to direct sunlight, you are allowing sunlight to increase its temperature. You should avoid placing it in a place that is too hot for the paste.
Conversely, if you keep it in a very cold place it will damage the paste evenly. Most likely however will lead to a lower consistency of the paste. As mentioned earlier, it should be kept in cool weather. Ziplock bags work well. This ensures that the cap is tightened without interfering with the air that is the root cause of product damage. One trick is to place the tube on its side. You will be amazed at the consistency of the thermal paste with this trick.
Conclusion: How long a thermal paste lasts depends on how skilled you are at handling it. It is a good idea to keep your thermal paste in the closet or in a drawer. Also, keep out of reach of children. With such a small effort, you can take advantage of it and save your computer from any errors.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How often should the thermal paste be changed?
In most cases, you do not need to know to apply more than once every few years. If your CPU temperature rises or the cooler is removed for some reason, you may want to reapply.
Can I use toothpaste instead of thermal paste?
Although it looks like toothpaste, it does not have the same properties as thermal paste, so it should not be used.
How long does the thermal paste last after opening?
In most cases, if properly looked after, it can last up to two years.
How long will the thermal paste last if good quality is used?
Good quality thermal lasts for 3-4 years. If you overlock it, you may want to replace it every few years.