Valve warns people to stop inhaling from Steam Deck exhaust vent


In one of the stranger tech stories of recent times, Steam Deck manufacturer Valve has urged people to stop inhaling fumes that may be emitted from the exhaust vent on the machine.

The act has become a meme in recent weeks as the Steam Deck is prone to emit a particular smell from its innards and inhaling from the vent has become a popular pastime for some on social media.

While the handheld PC has had to pass stringent safety tests before going to market, inhaling the heated fumes from inside the machine is something that was probably never discussed in a design meeting.

Dexerto reports that Valve Support was asked by a user, “Is it safe to inhale the exhaust fumes from the top vent of the Steam Deck? It’s somewhat of a meme to enjoy the fumes but I think I kinda… like it?”

Valve’s reply suggested it was not a good idea in no uncertain terms, stating, “As with all electronics, it’s generally not recommended that you inhale the exhaust fumes on your device. While there are no safety concerns with general usage, directly inhaling the device’s vent fumes should be avoided. 

“We understand that it may be a meme, but please refrain from this behavior for the safety of your health.

While it is unclear what is causing the smell, theories abound on Reddit that is actually the heating of the plastic used in the case, rather than anything internal, such as thermal paste or any of the interior metals or components.

As with any warning, the flip side is generally that it attracts more people to the issue, but sniffing fumes of any kind is rarely beneficial for your health, and doing so for meme value is not something Valve thinks you should be doing.

Featured image: Valve

Paul McNally

Paul has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision. He spent over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title. Has written gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian PlayStation Magazine, PlayStation Pro, Amiga Action, Mega Action, ST Action, GQ, Loaded, and the Daily Mirror. Former champion shoot ’em-up legend.


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