Your printer is a very valuable piece of technology. As such, you need to take very good care of it so that you can keep using it for a longer time.
Granted, all electrical equipment come with an expected lifespan and the day will come when the printer will be old and will fail for one reason or another.
Nevertheless, you can extend the life of your printer. If you follow the guidelines shown below, your printer can last much longer than expected and you will be able to get more than your money’s worth of service from it.
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Why Extend the Life of a Printer?
Printers, for most users, are a frustrating device. They suffer from issues like ink jams, driver failures and even mechanical ones.
However, all these issues stem from carelessness and irregular maintenance.
We recommend you follow the steps below so that your printer is up and ready to print whenever you send the command.
Plus extending the life of the printer using preventative methods is more economical and far less frustrating as compared to getting it repaired once the damage is done.
Tips to Extend the Life of a Printer:
Maintenance and Cleanliness
The first few tips to extend the life of a printer would center around the obvious topics of maintenance and cleanliness.
1. Keep it Clean
This is one of the most important things you can do for your printer so that it serves you for a longer time.
In the course of its operation, your printer will most likely gather dust and other particles. An accumulation of this on the printer’s vital components can result in damages and premature failures.
Cleaning your printer regularly can delay the onset of failure of a printer from neglect. And, this does not need to be an intricate process. You can use some soft fabric to wipe down some of the easily accessible parts of your printer.
You may not need to disassemble the device to clean it as this is discouraged and can lead to voiding your warranty. The more technical aspects like cleaning the printer heads are better off left to trained technicians.
2. Regular Maintenance
For very busy printers, it is ideal to ensure that the device is maintained regularly.
Large complex printers will need to be handled by a trained technician to avoid any damage.
Some printers have a lot of moving parts that can wear out over time. It is necessary to have maintenance done so that parts that need replacing can be identified and replaced before you start to encounter serious problems.
A full maintenance would require that you disassemble the components. This can be done by repair shops.
3. Maintain or Replace Rollers
If you hare facing a lot of paper jams or if you notice that the feeder is not picking up the paper from the tray properly, your rollers have probably worn out.
This is not really a cause for a concern.
You can first attempt to clean and grease your rollers or use alcohol swabs.
If that does not work, you can find replacement rollers and most manuals have the directions on how to change the rollers on a printer yourself.
4. Update it Regularly
All printers have an Operating System which is the software that tells the printer’s electronics how to do their work. Some manufacturers will constantly roll out updates for their printers to increase their efficiency and fix some minor issues.
Ensure that you check if your model is liable for future software upgrades. If it is, ensure you install the recommended updates promptly.
Something to note, it is advisable that you download your updates from the product’s manufacturer.
In so doing, you can improve your printer’s performance and fix some issues that would have otherwise resulted in a reduced lifespan.
Updating your printer can solve a lot of the mysterious experiences and frustrations that occur from time to time. This can save your from a lot of trouble especially when you are in a hurry.
5. Check for Ink Spillage
Ink spills in an inkjet printer is generally not a cause for concern unless if the spills are profound.
In a normal situation, ink spills can occur over time. This can be easily remedied with ear buds and cottons swabs dipped in alcohol.
Spills are important to clean since they can build up overtime and even damage the printed documents.
If the spillage is excessive, it is time to repair or replace your ink cartridge. If replacing, make sure to recycle the cartridge properly after.
General Usage and Cartridges
6. Print Often and on a Regular Basis
We cannot stress this enough. If you have an inkjet printer and you want to save the cartridge from drying out, use the printer.
Either print a sheet or two on a regular basis, or remove the cartridge and store it in a sealed, dry, and room-temperature environment.
7. Use Recommended Ink and Toner Cartridges
There are many different types of toners and ink cartridges in the market today such as original vs compatible vs remanufactured. It is essential to know the model and brand that your printer uses, as well as the difference between ink and toner before making a purchase.
Different printers are built to work with certain toners and cartridges and if you pick the wrong one, it may damage your printer or just fail to work.
It is quite easy to find a cheap alternative to the cartridge that you use for your printer.
Some may work seamlessly and you will not notice a difference. However, if not careful, you may end up buying a terrible cartridge which will cost you more than the money you wanted to save.
Ensure you buy the best cartridge for your printer so that it can run efficiently and last longer.
8. Don’t Overwork Your Printer
For busy environments, you must buy a printer that is capable of handling the immense workload while still maintaining quality.
A good unit to use to establish the printer’s printing limits is the maximum monthly duty cycle. The duty cycle number shows you how many pages your printer can print in a month at its rated printing quality.
Therefore, if you expect to print thousands of pages in a month, ensure that you purchase a printer with a duty cycle that at the very least matches the projected numbers of pages you expect to print per month.
Overworking your printer can lead to wear and tear which not only shortens its lifespan but also reduces the printing quality.
9. Keep the Manual Feed Tray Closed When Not in Use
You should keep the manual feed tray of your printer closed unless you’re using it.
The main reason why you should adhere to this is because this tray usually sticks out from the printer and can easily get damaged if someone hits it.
Keeping it closed when not in use can minimize the chances of someone bumping into the printer which will, in turn, reduce the likelihood of it incurring damage.
This will positively impact the printer’s longevity as well as ensure that you don’t spend money on repairs for a problem that could have easily been avoided.
It is more convenient for many users to leave the manual feed tray open. However, if you want to use your printer for longer, keep it close and only open it when you need it.
Furthermore, keeping all the trays closed saves the printer from accumulating any dust particles. If you leave the sensitive parts open to air for prolonged time, such as the input feeder, then damage can occur.
10. Be Cautious When Changing the Cartridges
Most of the time, as the user you will be required to change the cartridges by yourself. It is therefore important that you know how to do this so that you do not end up damaging anything.
Taking care is important because some of the printer’s internal components are quite delicate and a little too much force can lead to breakages and misalignments.
Therefore, always consult with your user manual if you are unsure about how to go about removing or inserting a cartridge and ensure that you follow the given directions carefully.
Likewise, you need to have the device powered down while you conduct some of these activities to avoid damages or personal injury.
11. Use it within the Recommended Parameters
Just as you should not overwork your printer, you should equally not use it in non-ideal conditions. What this means is that you should carefully follow the guide that the printer comes with to know how best to use it.
Cases of extreme temperatures and humidity can negatively impact the lifespan of your electronic device and you may end up replacing it sooner than you think.
Therefore, ensure that you have gone through the user guide and have correctly set up your device in an ideal working condition so that it serves you for longer.
12. Don’t Wait Till Ink Cartridges Dry Out
Having the printer ink dry out can not only frustrate you, they can also damage the printer due to their wear and tear.
A dry ink cartridge is an indication of a damage cartridge. Having it inside the printer can even cause accidental spills due to the damaged components.
13. Ease with On and Off
Do not power ON and power OFF multiple times a day.
Doing so can cause damage to the delicate machinery inside.
Instead, if you believe that you have plenty of print outs to take out, just keep the printer in standby mode.
That way, it will conserve energy and be ready for printing out as soon as you wake it up. All the while saving it from unnecessary wear.
14. Use Draft Mode Often
When printing your documents, especially black and white, try to use the Draft Mode often.
Draft Mode reduces the quality of print outs. While it does have glaring effect on a colored print, it does not affect black and white prints much.
Documents printed out in Draft Mode use less ink and are printed out much faster.
As such, the printer uses lets effort and suffers from less wear and tear.
Overtime, this can add up toward the longevity of the printer.
15. Check Quality of the Paper
The condition of the paper matters a lot for the longevity of the printer.
A good paper can save the paper from unwanted jams that can damage the sensitive components.
Most printers have a specified paper weight that they support. However, generally 20-24lb paper would do perfectly well.
Anything lower can crumble the paper and cause jams whereas any thing higher would be too thick to roll out, which would also cause jams.
16. Check Condition of the Paper
Refrain from putting torn, worn out or crumbled paper in to the printer. These have a very high change of jamming up the printer.
17. Take Care when Printing on Unique Materials
When printing on label paper, photo paper or even cardstock, make sure that your printer is capable of handling them.
In other words, do not insert a random sheet of paper without first consulting the spec sheet of the printer.
If your printer does allow for different materials, make sure you only use the most high quality options.
For example, a cheap label paper can cause significant issues if the labels were to accidentally peel off in the middle of the printing process.
18. Make Sure the Paper is not Charged
The paper can get charged if it is placed in a very dry room for some time or if you fan the ream of paper before inserting it into the printer.
A static charge is dangerous for the delicate components inside.
Therefore, make sure, the paper is placed in an adequately moist room and that you do not fan or twist the ream before putting in the tray.
Like all electronic devices, your printer will need a lot of care and attention so that it can continue to function optimally for longer periods. With this in mind, there are certain things that you need to consider doing if you are trying to extend the life of a printer.
Most of these things can be easily handled by the user and some may require specialized assistance.
The most important thing you need to note is that the printer can continue to work as long as you keep it well maintained and you are careful when using it as stipulated in the user’s manual.
Taking care of a printer should not be an uphill task. With the directions given here, you can extend the life of your printer and get more service from it. With proper care, a good printer can last for several years and still manage to do a good job.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.