January 7

Maintenance for Inkjet and LaserJet Printers

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Having a printer is a valuable asset for any business. Whether you are the kind that prints thousands of copies a month, or the one that prints only when you need to, having a printer at your service is always a superb thing to have.

However, that printer, like your car, won’t run forever. You absolutely love the valuable service that your printer gives you, but it comes with a cost.

That cost is wear and tear.

No matter how much you try to avoid it, wear and tear will creep up on you in one way or another. This is why it is important to maintain your printers as often as possible. A maintenance schedule would be a wonderful thing to implement.

Failure to maintain your printers will mean they will break down when you need them. Murphy’s Law comes to mind; “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, at the moment you least expect it to.”

First things first…

Before setting out on performing maintenance tasks on your printer, there are a few things you need to do. These are:

  • Unplug the printer: After some time operating, the printer will usually heat up. Unplug it and give it about an hour to cool down. This way, you help prevent injury to yourself and probably damage to the printer.
  • Remove the paper and the paper trays.
  • Open up the printer. The goal here is to take out the toner or the cartridges. On a separate surface, lay disposable paper or a newspaper. This help prevent spillages from destroying your furniture.

General cleaning.

One thing about printers is with all the heat, movement and general operations, they tend to accumulate various amounts of dirt and debris. This is especially true for inkjet printers.

As the printer is in operation, ink is sprayed on paper through minuscule holes in the printer head. With time, ink dries on these pores and blocks them.

For this task, you will need a damp cloth, preferably disposable, as the ink may render that cloth unusable after cleaning. Gently clean the head, and be thorough with it. The quality of your printed material will definitely improve with this one move.

This is especially true if the quality of your prints had started to wane, yet the ink cartridges were nowhere near getting depleted. The prints will usually start of with the normal solid color but will then start getting lighter as the printer moves forward.

Laser printers on the other hand, rely on toner to transfer color to the paper. This is done via a fuser which is responsible for melting the toner onto the paper. If you have done more than 100,000 prints, you may need to replace the fuser.

The toner also breaks off into little particles that spread all over the insides of the printer. You will need a vacuum cleaner to help you suck up all those particles without leaving behind any residue.

Next is the rollers. This is a simple task as the soft rubber is easily cleaned with a moist cloth.

The same also goes for the exterior of the printer. While it has been sitting there, regularly churning out quality work for you, the exterior has slowly been accumulating dust and other airborne debris.

Giving it a good wipe down will help bring back the sheen that it came with from the factory. And it definitely is a much nicer look to have when it is looking clean and well taken care of.

The kind of paper you use.

This may not be news to you, but there are various different degrees of quality that printing paper is manufactured with. The quality of that paper will be evident whenever you attempt to print something on it.

However, there are cases where the paper you are printing on is not visually terrible, but can cause serious problems for your printer. This is why printing paper grades are indicated on the packaging, to help you choose which to pick.

Also, printers have a minimum standard of printing paper they can work with. Sometimes, this can go against your cost cutting plans as you look to purchase medium to low grade paper.

While you may think that you may get away with this, you may come to pay dearly for this decision. Different grades of paper mean that they have certain qualities, such as how easy it is to work with.

If you put a poor grade in a printer whose minimum threshold is a higher grade, this may end up increasing the amount of wear that your printer’s parts will be experiencing. This will mean shorter intervals between maintenance, and also increased costs to maintaining the printer.

The same also applies to how you store your paper. Paper can easily absorb moisture from the atmosphere and this can cause them to clamp together.

If you attempt to put these clamped papers in your printer, you end up getting printer jams and other errors which can seriously affected workflow around a busy office.

Whenever you buy paper in bulk, ensure that you store them in an area that is not experiencing crazy amount of humidity. If you have a dehumidifier in your office, then that would be the best place to store your paper

Software is important.

The world has come a long way since the printer first graced the office. The printers of today come with several lines of code baked into them. It’s the reason why some of them reject refilled cartridges, or those from unauthorized vendors.

Every once in a while, a manufacturer will update the software and add new features or capabilities to the printer. Also, the software currently in your printer may not be working optimally, or break frequently.

Connecting your printer to the internet, or performing the upgrades yourself will mean keeping the printer in tip-top shape. This will help avoid issues when you are in the middle of a busy day, and the software controlling the software decides to act up.


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