Home theater furniture is great for many things, such as keeping electronics stored, concealed and usable. But one often overlooked quality that is absolutely necessary, is finding furniture that keeps your electronics cool. Now, we’re not talking about “cool” in the vernacular sense (even though an original Nintendo console or an 80-inch flat screen would be awesome). But more so, “cool” in the temperature kind of way.

You see, when electronics overheat, all types of problems can arise. Internal chips can melt. Pixels on screens can darken or wear out. And in the most serious of cases, fires can spark. While normal wear and tear on your components will always be a reality, keeping your electronics cool can protect your furniture and extend the life of your components.

Here’s a guide to what you should do—and not do—when storing your electronics.

DO

Ventilate.

Perhaps the most important way to keep your electronics cool is to select furniture with built-in ventilation. Your components need some room to breathe. Give each component—be it a TV, speaker or a printer—about 2-3 inches each, and make sure all of the vents around each item are completely clear and not obstructing the airflow.

If your equipment is stored in an enclosed area, hot air tends to cycle through it making it hotter the longer it is running. Fans and cooling devices are great for areas where the ventilation is not available.

The Vertica 8556 by BDI keeps electronics cool with ventilated door panels.

Power Off. 

Something need to stay on all the time—like your AC, for example. But your television, computer and other electronics do not. Turn these components off when you’re not using them, and it will help keep them and the furniture around them cooler.

If you notice any of your electronics overheating, shut it down immediately and disconnect its power source. Don’t try to restart it until it is completely cool to the touch.

Keep Clean. 

Like everything else in your home and office, cleanliness is key. Dirt or dust can be detrimental to your electronics, often finding its way to the fans inside. This can cause your components to stop working correctly. A quick blast of compressed air and a good dusting can help keep your electronics cool—and clean.

Semblance by BDI provides lots of shelving space to keep your TV area organized and uncluttered.

DON’T

Stack.

While some of your components such as a Blu-Ray player put off minimal heat, your more powerful components like a DVR or AV Receiver can generate a lot of heat. These electronics get hot enough on their own without the added heat that comes along with stacking. Utilize shelving to keep your components spread out and cool, and make sure the vents on all of your electronics are exposed to some type of airflow.

Put in the Sun.

While this tip is kind of obvious, it’s also frequently ignored. But placing your computers, televisions and other devices in the path of direct sunlight is one of the most harmful things you can do to your electronics. Moving these components to a shadier area is a simple way to keep them cooler, and will protect them and keep them working much longer!

Use 24/7

Give your electronics a break. As the summer starts winding down, take advantage of the cooler evenings and sunny afternoons. Spend time playing games with your family, and BBQing with your neighbors. If you’re lucky enough to have a summer vacation, your electronics should be able to get one, too!

Watch this video to learn more about the ways that BDI media cabinets are designed to protect your home theater system, and keep your AV components cool.