How Safe Are AIO Coolers

Many people shy away from using AIO coolers because of a common fear of them leaking. We’re going to discuss the safety of AIO coolers, and if they’re worth it.

We also have an article comparing AIOs with the traditional AIR cooling, you can find it here: AIR Vs AIO Cooling.

Do AIO Coolers Leak?

Well at some point, AIOs will all fail, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will leak. Leaking is actually very rare, and your AIO is most likely to suffer from pump failure. If leaking was a massive issue, there would be no point in manufacturers selling AIO coolers. And as always, if a leak occurs report it to the manufacturer, your warranty should cover the damage.

AIO coolers are made so nothing enters, and nothing comes out. You cannot change the liquid inside AIO coolers, that’s why they’re called “closed loops”.

AIO Coolers Failure Rate

Assuming you’ve picked up a decent AIO cooler, the failure rate is actually extremely low. Decent AIO coolers are built so the coolant/liquid has a very small chance of leaking. The pumps, radiator, and tubing are all built so the failure rate is as low as 0.015%

You’re most likely to suffer from pump failure than a leakage, and even if your AIO cooler does leak, the liquid is non-conductive.

When purchasing an AIO cooler, be aware of the warranty period, some of them go up to 6 years, this is usually the lifespan of the pump.

Back in the day, AIOs were dubious, they probably lasted 2-3 years which is why many assume AIOs are unreliable. Nowadays, AIOs are as competent as air coolers, and they make great additions to gaming PCs.

What Is The Lifespan Of AIO Coolers?

As long as you take good care, and you’re not constantly removing the cooler, you should have a flawless cooler that will last between 5-7 years realistically. Manufacturers rate their pumps to last up to 70000 hours which is just about 8 years.

You are probably wondering if AIO coolers need maintaining, the answer is yes. Not like how Custom water loops need maintaining, they require you to maintain everything. With customer water loops, you only need to maintain the fans and the radiator, make sure they’re dust-free.

This is one of the benefits of having an AIO over a custom water loop, less maintenance, as you cannot even open it, and it already comes pre-filled with the liquid.

What Do I Do IF My Cooler Leaks?

A leak occurring could be extremely terrifying, that is understood, you’re thinking about the safety of your important hardware. If your cooler leaks, you may have a chance to save your computer, with these steps, you will be prepared IF your cooler happens to leak. AIO or custom loop, these tips are valuable and can help save your PC.

  1. If the leak starts when your computer is on, turn your computer off as soon as possible, don’t bother pressing shut down, switch it off via the power supply unit, and unplug it. Immediate action is vital.
  2. Clean up all the surrounding liquid, drying all the residue with a towel. Depending on the severity of the leak, you may need to remove every single component and dry them individually.
  3. Inspect every component for liquid residue and clean it with rubbing alcohol. The water may contain impurities that can short circuit your components.
  4. Leave everything to dry for at least 72 hours, this is the most important step, patience is everything.

With all that being said, AIO leakages as I previously said are extremely rare, and even if you’ve suffered component damage, your warranty should cover it.

The only thing you should worry about leaking are custom water loops, but if you’re not experienced with water cooling, you shouldn’t be going for custom loops. Custom water loops require a ton of maintenance.

If you go down the custom water loop route, just don’t half-ass anything because if a leak occurs, you will be held 100% accountable.

Are AIO Coolers Worth It?

AIO coolers are definitely worth it. Don’t be afraid of purchasing one due to the fear of leakage. The cooling performance they offer can be superior to air, usually the 240MM, 280MM & 360MM radiators.

aio cooler

AIO coolers look cooler too, and they fit better in cases. Large Air coolers suffer from clearance issues, whereas AIO coolers usually never.

If you value aesthetics and want decent cooling performance, then definitely pick up an AIO cooler.

You could look as AIO coolers as step-up performance and aesthetics wise. 280MM AIOs outperform the best air coolers which are massive.

AIO coolers also fit better in cases then air coolers. Large air coolers are known to obstruct DIMM/RAM slots which is an annoying compatibility issue.

AIO coolers don’t look like a chunk of metal hanging from the motherboard, which could actually damage the motherboard. They instead put the weight on the case instead.

AIO/Liquid Cooling Vs AIR For Overclocking

If you are working with big overclocks, then AIO coolers are the way. You will want to go for the larger radiators 280-360MM because they offer the best cooling performance. You will be able to push the latest generation of processors clock speeds farther than an air cooler could.

Are AIO Coolers Safer Than Custom Water Loops?

AIO and Custom water loops are both methods of liquid cooling. However, they have a few key differences that I’d like to point out. AIO coolers aka (All in one cooler) are closed loops, therefore, you cannot change the liquid. Custom Water Loops are open loops, therefore you can change the liquid.

custom water loop
Custom water loop example.

Reliability

AIO coolers are more reliable than custom water loops. This is because custom water loops have more failure points, and require much more maintenance.

Custom water loops require you to: change the liquid occasionally, maintain the reservoir, make sure the radiator and fans are clean. AIO coolers are all in one coolers, you only have to maintain the fans and radiator.

If you’re interested in purchasing an AIO cooler, you can visit a buyer’s guide on all about choosing the right CPU cooler.

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