Apart from a laptop, a printer is another important device that should be found in a business center, company, and home office. The home printer is different from the business printer in the sense that the home printer is made to fulfill personal purposes while the business printer is designed for commercial purposes.
While it is fairly easy to maintain a laptop, it takes a lot of effort to maintain a printer. The responsibility of maintaining, repairing, and taking care of the printer shouldn’t be left on the shoulders of the printer service provider but to the user as well.
This comprehensive guide was made to provide you with some tips on how to maintain your printer and keep it in a good shape.
How To Take Care of Your Printer
Ensuring regular and constant maintenance of your printer will not only help keep it in the best condition over time but will help you save costs on repairs. Whether you have a laser or inkjet printer, you will find the best tips on how to maintain your all-in-one printer for optimum performance.
1. Clean The Printer Regularly
The most important way to maintain a printer is to keep it clean. Cleaning the printer regularly can help to keep the device in a good condition for a long time. It is advisable to clean the print head at least once a month. Cleaning the printer requires carefulness and caution to avoid damaging the physical and internal components.
You can clean the print head by removing the cartridge and then wiping the head with an alcohol-based cleanser. Most importantly, ensure that you do not use compressed air because it can allow dirt into places beyond your reach.
It is likely for the dust to fall on the surface of the printer as you use it for work; this is because the printer is susceptible and venerable to dirt. The dust gains entry to your printer, it will stick to the printer head and this can damage the quality of your prints and even spoil the printer head.
The accumulation of debris, dust, toner, and specks of dirt inside your printer can cause jams and it can cause streaks of ink to appear on the prints. The simplest way to reduce the printer cleaning process is for you to use a printer cover or a soft cloth to cover the printer after use. This will greatly help to protect the printer from dust and dirt.
2. Clean Your Printer Head
Another way to maintain a home printer is to perform a clean head. The reason for doing this is to get excellent quality on all prints, hence, the printer will automatically clean the printer head when necessary.
At times, you may see a document coming out of the printer with print quality issues such as blank text, faded prints, or lines across the images or text that are missing ink, even though the cartridges are full. If your printer does this, it means that the printer heads are clogged and hence, must be cleaned.
There are many printer models, each printer has its own method of operation. Ensure you read the manufacturer manual that comes with your printer or check the website of the company to know how to clean the printer head of your device.
Be careful not to clean the printer heads more often than necessary because the cleaning process requires some of your ink. Therefore, we advise that you do the head cleaning every 2 weeks or once a month, whichever you prefer.
Remove the cartridge and clean the head using warm water. Do not use alcohol or wet tissues to clean your printer head. After cleaning, give some time to allow the printer head to dry completely before fixing it back.
3. Clean The Insides
Apart from the print head, you should also clean the insides of the printer frequently. When debris and grime build-up, they form layers and this can stop your printer from operating efficiently. You can use lint-free cloths that are slightly moist to wipe off the dirt.
Clean the printer gently, do not apply too much force even if you come across stubborn dirt. Use moistened Q-tips and soft bristles to remove the grime and dirt from the printer.
Another way to clean the insides is by using compressed air to blow out grime and dust that have accumulated inside the printer over time. Avoid using a vacuum for this method unless it is a pressure-controlled vacuum that gently sucks the dust away.
4. Check Under The Hood
You don’t have to give all your attention to the toner cartridge. You should also lift the hood and check inside for jammed, spoilt, and broken components. Many modern printers come with built-in diagnostics that notify the user whenever there are wear and tear.
Taking heed to these indicators and taking the necessary action at the right time can prevent further damage. It is practically wise to replace a smart part of your printer rather than to wait for the entire machine to break down.
5. Get a Maintenance Kit
It wouldn’t burn your pocket to spend some money on getting a maintenance kit for your printer. It is a good idea to invest in a maintenance kit and spare parts for your printer. In fact, no printer is perfect, the best printer can develop faults if not properly maintained.
Sometimes, there will be occasional glitches, errors, jams, and smudges. However, doing some maintenance can reduce the number of problems and even enhance your printing experience.
Another way of extending the lifespan of your printer is to purchase a maintenance kit from the manufacturer. This can be done before or when the original parts show some signs of deterioration.
You can select some maintenance kits and products from your printer’s manufacturer such as cleaning supplies or changeable printer parts like rollers, which when damaged or dirty can cause jams and problems for your printer. You can also get a printer fan and other components that are vulnerable and prone to accumulating residual ink and dust.
Do not be complacent, nor should you compromise on quality when purchasing spare parts for your printer. Replace the worn out and damaged parts with original parts that match your printer’s model
6. Use It Regularly
It is a proven fact that printers that are regularly are more durable than those seldomly used. It is essential for you to use your printer frequently.
Printers that are rarely used tend to break faster due to dry ink. In other words, your cartridge can dry up if you don’t use your printer regularly. This problem can be more severe if rust and ink dries and sticks on the printer head for a long time, it will become difficult to clean.
Printers that are regularly used will have a better machine as long as the printer is not excessively used. So, even if you don’t use your printer often, it is recommended that you use it at least once a week.
7. Turn Off The Printer After Use
It’s best to turn off your printer if you don’t plan to use it for a long time. A printer is like any other machine, they generate a lot of heat while they’re in use, so, it deserves some time to rest.
Try not to put the printer on standby mode because it can still produce a lot of heat which can dry up the ink cartridges and printer heads. This can clog the header and also damage the printer. A printer that is continuously on and not being used can wear and tear to other components. Therefore, it is best to turn off the printer when not in use.
Do not unplug the adapter cable connected to the power switch. It is necessary that you know how to turn off the printer. You can turn off your printer by pressing the ON/OFF button until all the lights are off. Press/hold the ON/OFF button for 2-3 seconds and wait for the lights on the printer to turn off.
After then can you unplug the power cord from the printer and the USB cable that connects the printer to the computer.
8. Replace Your Cartridges Before They Dry Up
Don’t wait for your cartridges to dry completely before you consider changing them. The printer software notifies you when the cartridge level falls below the normal level. Follow the hint and replace your cartridges before the inks run out. A dry cartridge causes undesirable wear and tear on your printer head.
However, you need to be extra careful when replacing your cartridges. Make sure that you know the method of replacing the cartridges before making an attempt to change them. If you are yet to master the art of replacing cartridges, go through the manual, and study the instructions.
When replacing the cartridge, be careful not to touch the button of the cartridge so that you don’t damage the print quality. Lastly, ensure that you get top-notch and high-quality cartridges that are not fragile.
9. Use The Recommended Ink
The expensive rates of refill cartridges might force you into buying cheap and low-quality cartridges. However, you should never compromise on the quality of your toner or ink cartridges. Investing in branded, good-quality cartridges is worth your money as it helps to keep the working condition of your printer.
Inkjets of inferior quality will result in poor printing and low-quality cartridges will have a strong effect on the printer hardware. Eventually, you may end up having faded and blotchy printouts using these low-cost cartridges. Always buy the branded cartridges recommended by the manufacturer or company.
If you think you are saving money and cutting costs by using cheap cartridges, it’s high time you know that cheap and inexpensive cartridges do more harm than good to your printer and this can eventually make you spend more money in the long run. Therefore, you should never hesitate to purchase the best-in-quality cartridges for your printer.
10. Download The Latest Drivers
One of the most underrated maintenance practices most printer owners fail to adhere to is updating the drivers of their printers to the latest version. Installing the latest and newly-released drivers from your printer’s manufacturers can help to keep your printer in great shape.
Most printers alert you when a new driver is available for download at the manufacturer’s website. When you see notifications like this, do not ignore them. Many hardware problems and printer malfunctions have been linked to outdated drivers. Even if your printer doesn’t notify you of a driver update, be smart to check the website of the printer’s manufacturer regularly for updates.
11. Control the Cartridge Performance
Although this is rare, some people actually use the method of controlling their cartridge performance to maintain their printer. First, you need to make four circles in red, green, black, and yellow. It is made by inserting shapes in the Microsoft Word software program.
The next thing to do is to print the image with the highest resolution. Ensure to do this once in 1-2 months to keep and maintain the cartridge performance in excellent working condition. You can also use this method to examine the status of the cartridge, you will know whether it prints colors well or not.
12. Say No To Overprinting
Overprinting is a mistake most users make when using their printers. The printer head has a working time limit, using the printer beyond this time frame could cause severe problems.
Many users tend to make the printer print in large quantities in quite a short time. If you use your printer in this manner, the working condition of your printer will reduce significantly and this will also reduce the printer’s efficiency and performance.
If you use the printer for printing a large number of documents, the solution is for you to pause and allow the printer to rest for a while. For instance, if you want to print about 500 sheets, do the printing in stages. First, allow the printer to print 20 and then let it rest for a few minutes, and then continue in that sequence.
13. Resolve Mechanical Errors
Just like other electronic products, the printer can develop errors but the printer will last longer if you take proper care of it. An incorrectly resolved paper jam could likely cause printing issues in the long run. Rather than you being disappointed when a problem comes, look for ways to fix the issue.
You can use the manual that came with the printer to resolve any possible technical issues or get an engineer to fix the machine. In case of a paper jam, the best way to deal with such a problem is to pull out the jammed paper from the printer using both hands. Doing this can prevent leaving the ripped paper behind or damaging the internal components of your printer.
Additionally, you can avoid paper jams by loading neat paper into the printer. Ensure that the paper you load into the printer isn’t dog-eared, torn, or rough, and ensure that the tray isn’t overfilled.
14. Use Your Manual
The printer manual will come in handy especially when you encounter technical errors and glitches while using your printer. Ensure that you keep the manual safe in a place that is accessible whenever the need arises. Possibly, one of the maintenance lights turns on and you have no idea why the light is on. You can quickly refer to the printer manual to know why the light is on.
If you can’t find your manual, you can check the manufacturer’s website and also contact them online. Most manufacturers have a knowledge base of common problems encountered by users along with the possible solutions on their websites.
15. Stay Safe
Just before you open the printer for maintenance, check to see if the printer is on or connected to the power switch. Turn off the power and make sure that your hands don’t touch the inner parts of the printer. This can help to prevent unnecessary damage to the printer and also help you avoid danger.
Remember that it is good practice to spend on a maintenance kit for your home, business, or office printer. While changing the worn-out parts, get original parts that match that of your printer’s model. Also, make sure that you don’t leave the printer untouched for days as this will make the ink dry up and clog the printer header.
Electronic devices and machines are constantly being upgraded to new models, with the new models having improved features and better functions than their predecessors. Even with the improved functionalities, the newer & latest printers cause trouble for their users. You don’t longer have to be frustrated when you encounter printing errors and malfunctions.
We do hope that this article has helped you in taking care of your printer and keeping the printer running smoothly?
Arthur Calvert is a staff writer for TechBeastz, covering reviews, guides, and how-tos for electronics and tech devices that people need info on. He is a gadget geek, he enjoys writing about tech tools and gadgets including printers, smartphones, laptops, and electronics. When he's not at work, he spends time with his beautiful wife, Barbara, and their two kids.