10 Maintenance Techniques to Prolong Your Printer’s Life

Photo by mava @ flickr.com

It is a well-known fact that printers do a good amount of work and are hardly ever cared for in the proper manner. Some people will use and abuse their printer, encounter a mechanical problem and just throw it out. A little known secret is that maintenance and care for the printer can be a low-cost, easy way to preserve its lifespan. Tossing out a printer than has been improperly cared for and buying another to meet the same fate, is a waste of time and can easily be avoided.

The type of printer that is in use has a lot to do with individual maintenance techniques. For instance, cleaning an inkjet printer may require more or less than cleaning a laser printer. Here are some helpful tips to carefully cleaning and maintaining your inkjet printer.

1. Clear and Close – It is only natural for the printer to collect dust and other objects, from time to time. However, freeing the printer from excess weight, lint and heaping dust can keep your printer healthy. Dust can do some damage to the inside of the printer if not maintained correctly; it can affect printing quality and should be blown out of the printer with compressed air, if needed. One of the most important tips to keeping a healthy printer is closing the feed tray when it is not in use. It can protrude and cause bodily harm, but can also break off or allow dust to enter the internals of the printer, causing damage.

2. Changing Parts – Remember that things inside the printer age, like anything else. The rollers are often too old to function properly which causes paper jams, and poor quality printing. If the rollers develop a slippery feeling, it may be time to change them. Be careful changing printer parts; it can seem like a no-brainer but you want to avoid any unnecessary damage to other parts. If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it! Check the warranty on your printer and don’t do anything that would void it in the future.

3. Paper Quality – A good, quality printer paper is the key to maintenance success. You may be tempted to buy the less expensive, lower quality paper, which seems like a good alternative. This type of paper could cause significant damage to your printer over time and may end up being more costly than you were expecting; definitely more costly than just buying the better paper and maintaining your printer correctly!

4. Ink Cartridges – Ink cartridges are where most of the mistakes happen; consumers will take their cartridges to be refilled at maintenance stores, to save cost. Most professionals will tell you to avoid refilled ink cartridges at all. After refilling, quality often falters. It is worth putting out the expense of new cartridges to avoid spilling and the washed out look of most print outs after an ink cartridge has been refilled.

5. Avoid Fanning – Consumers will often fan out the papers in a stack to separate and prevent jams. Actually, it makes the situation more likely and worse off; the static electricity that is generated by fanning the paper will increase chances of a paper jam. Your printer can handle the closeness if a quality paper is being used!

Cleaning, Tools & Other Tips

Inkjet printer care techniques are slightly different from those associated with laser printers. Laser printers require more technical maintenance, not just the superficial cleaning and clearing of its inkjet counterpart. In order to be successful at maintaining a laser printer, use the proper tools and consult a professional if needed.

1. External Cleaning – Keep the outside of the printer clean with a damp cloth, habitually. When inserting new toner cartridges, take care! It can leak and stain clothing, damage the inside of the printer and be a big mess!

2. Toner and Paper Quality – It is best to stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to toner and paper. Do not cut corners and try to save money in this aspect of maintenance; low quality paper can be harmful and poor toner can cause internal damage!

3. Basic Internal Cleaning – Specific laser printer cleaning sheets should be used regularly to do a surface cleaning of the printer’s inside. The sheets remove excess dirt and dust, along with misplaced toner.

4. Correct Tools – Be equipped with the right tools when doing more than surface cleaning! Cotton swabs, gloves, a mask, toner vaccuum and cleaning alcohol should be used carefully and correctly.

5. Deep Internal Cleaning – Be sure to show the toner cartridge attention when cleaning; take the toner out and clean around the inside of the machine carefully. Pay attention to the wires, be aware when swabbing them with cleaning alcohol. Do not apply too much pressure, and make sure excess toner is removed.

It is important to the life of the printer to keep it cleaned and maintained. It doesn’t have to be a daily task, but making it a regular habit will save time, money and energy that can otherwise be spent on something better!

This guest post was contributed by James Adams, a writer who works at Cartridge Save where he also analyses and reviews the latest Lexmark supplies for printers.

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