You have just come back from your holidays, you dust off your printer, pop in a camera memory card and set off printing your pictures only to find your printer isn't working properly. Now before writing your printer off, here are a few tips and ideas to help prolong your printer lifespan and to get it working perfectly again.
Keep It Clean
You would think this is a pretty obvious point, but it is amazing how many people neglect to clean their printers.
Everything needs a clean now and again to keep it working properly, especially printers. In order to aid with the printing process, ink and toner contain additives such as wax, drying agents and lubricants all of which, expectantly, get into all the little cracks of the printer after long print jobs. A build-up of this will cause mechanical parts to stick and seize and cover important sensors in your printer.
The best way to clean your printer is to first turn it off. Next you will need a small brush (A clean, fine Bristle paint brush works well) to clean off excess dust in and around the printer exterior. For the interior and mechanical parts, I tend to use 70% Isopropyl Alcohol on a small cotton ball and gently dab out the thickest chunks of ink, followed with a dry paper towel to polish. NEVER use water inside your printer, Isopropyl Alcohol evaporates very quickly and leaves very little liquid residue behind.
Be Gentle When Unblocking Paper
When paper is jammed DO NOT pull the paper out through the output tray. Doing this is harmful to the paper wheels which feeds the paper through and can also tear the paper, leaving behind bits of torn paper, which will harm your printer later.
Most printers come with a rear hatch which will allow you access to the printer wheels and where the paper jam is likely to be. Once the jam is located be careful when removing the paper to avoid bending or harming any parts of the printer.
Use Your Printer Often
It is a common recommendation from most manufacturers to keep your printer in regular use. Regular use will prevent ink from clogging your printer heads which can result in smudgy results or missing colours. Regular use will also prevent dust from settling inside your printer which will ultimately improve the printers performance.
Quality Paper Helps A Lot!
To the naked eye, printer paper looks all the same; however, printer paper comes in many different types. One of the main measurements for paper is its grammage or density of the paper. Paper with less density or a lower grammage is often cheaper and probably the choice of most people looking to save a few pennies, the drawback is that low density paper, due to its flimsiness, are more likely to cause paper jams which can ultimately damage your printer. A grammage of 90g/m2 is the industry standard for high quality printer paper.
Avoid Cheap Compatible Inks and Toner
Ink and Toner is expensive, this is fact. It is very tempting to use compatible, refilled or remanufactured ink and toner to cut back on the cost of printing but new, original cartridges are by far the best and safest to use. It is like putting a compatible or used engine part into your car instead of the manufacturer approved part, it may work at first but the performance of the car will be affected and you are likely to break down.
Printer Ink comes with a print yield, which is an estimated number of prints that can be done until the cartridge runs out. Original ink cartridges can produce anywhere between 1000 to 1 million prints before it expires.