Essential printer maintenance tips. Courtesy, HP
All office equipment will last longer if properly maintained, and that’s just as true for your printers. Follow these tips to extend the life span of your printers.
1 Read the manual
Your manual should be the first port of call for any printer-related issues.
You can also invest in a manufacturer’s maintenance kit to help prolong the life of your printer. These typically contain cleaning supplies and replacements for the parts most susceptible to wear and tear, such as the roller. Worn or dirty parts are often responsible for printer jams or streaky printing.
A simple way to keep inkjet printers in particular in tip-top shape is to use them, though the average SME will usually be doing plenty of printing already. If not, print out a test page or two at least once a week to stop print heads from clogging.
Many modern printers, whether laser or inkjet, have self-cleaning functions. For that reason turn the printer off with its on/off button rather than by switching off the unit at the plug socket, in order not to interfere with its automatic features.
2 Location, location, location
Heat and dry air can cause problems for printers, potentially contributing to print head clogging with inkjets and toner degradation with lasers. Locate your printer away from radiators and other heat sources to be on the safe side.
3. Be paper smart
Paper jams are common, and if a page gets stuck in the system the best policy (after referring to the manual) is to very gently pull it free using both hands. Try to make sure the paper doesn’t tear.
But prevention is better than cure, so don’t overfill the paper tray and make sure paper being fed into the printer is not torn or stuck together. Keep you reams of paper in a dry place and out of direct sunlight.
Regular paper jams without an obvious cause might signal a problem with a sensor inside the machine. In that case get a qualified technician to take a look.
4. Be printer proud
A dusty printer can lead to poor printing. Cleaning your printer will make it sparkle and will also stop dust and debris accumulating and blocking print heads. Use a small vacuum to suck away dust, or wipe over external surfaces with a duster.
If your printer is in a dusty or dirty environment – a workshop, for instance – consider investing in a cheap plastic cover.
5. Keep your printer up to date
Print problems can be caused by out-of-date software. Occasionally a manufacturer will update printer drivers to add extra features or to remedy a problem. Check with your manufacturer to make sure your driver is up to date.
Many devices automatically update driver software.