How To Extend The Life Of Your Printer

Given the number of moving parts and potential sources of paper jams, it's surprising that so many printers manage to last for so long. Not to mention that printer maintenance typically receives a negligible amount of time from support professionals. It's unfortunate since printers are expensive to replace if they need to be replaced before their time has come, and repair costs can build up rapidly. Although printer maintenance isn't exactly exciting, doing so can greatly extend the life of any printer. These guidelines can be applied to any printer model that you service. Remember that before attempting any significant printer maintenance, it is always a good idea to study the printer's owner's manual.

First and foremost, make sure the printer's inside is spotless.
As obvious as it may sound, keeping the inside of your printer clean is one of the best preventative maintenance jobs you can perform. It's simple if you inspect the printer often for paper dust and other particles. Use a can of compressed air to blast out the dust and dirt in the printer once a month at the very least, and more often if your users print frequently.

Refrain from using worn, damaged, or creased paper.
Problems with paper jams are often the result of damaged paper. A paper jam increases the likelihood that another component of the printer will fail. Always use fresh, unblemished paper that has not been previously used to avoid jams and other issues.

Thirdly, invest in some good paper.
To cut costs, many businesses settle for medium- or low-quality printer paper. However, it's important to note that this particular paper can also lead to paper clogs. To get the best results from your printer, you should use at least 24 lb paper, even though a good quality 20 lb brand will do for most printing jobs. Most printer manufacturers offer minimum paper requirements to help you figure out what kinds of paper will work with your printer. The vendor will not honor the guarantee if you use paper that doesn't conform to these guidelines. Find out what kind of paper the printer supports by consulting the manual or going online to the manufacturer's site.

Never fold paper into a fan before loading it.
Fanning a ream of paper before loading it in the print tray is a common mistake that can help prevent the occurrence of paper jams. Not only is this not true, but it can also lead to paper jams because of the static charge that builds up between the sheets of paper. Unless your printer is in a particularly humid environment, you shouldn't have any problems loading paper into the paper tray without the pages sticking together. (Refer to the advice below.) Modern printers neatly stack sheets of paper in the input tray.

Keeping paper in a dry place is tip number five.
Sticky paper can create paper jams and feed mistakes when humidity levels are high. Paper-feed mechanisms of low-end printers and DeskJet printers are not as precisely tuned to separate sheets in the paper tray, hence paper jams are more common. Keep your paper in a dry, cold place and your printer in a dry, low-humidity place to avoid jams caused by pages adhering together and feeding at the same time.

Use superior labeling (tip #6)
Make sure to always use premium label stock in any label printer. Using low-quality labels can permanently damage the platen and fuser of a printer, making this a priority even above using good paper. Low-quality labels sometimes detach from their backing paper and stick to whatever they come into touch with when being fed into a fuser or wrapped around a roller. This causes havoc with printer components because removing the labels can be a massive hassle or the component will break and need replacing. Fuser repairs can be rather pricey, running into the hundreds of dollars. On the other side, high-quality labels won't peel off as readily, so you may use them without worrying about harming your printer.

Whenever possible, print labels in a straight line.
Reduce the number of turns in the paper path as much as feasible while printing on label stock. To avoid bending labels when feeding them into the printer, you can utilize the manual feed tray. Use the alternative paper departure path if your printer has one; this will prevent the labels from having to go around another roller. The risk of a label coming loose from its backing paper and clinging to something inside the printer can be mitigated by decreasing the number of rollers the stock must pass through.

The Rollers should be changed out when they become worn.
In addition to dirty paper, worn feed rollers are another common culprit in paper jams. At the end of their useful lives, the rollers develop a glazed and/or slippery surface that causes the paper to slip off. It may also cause the paper to feed wrongly while in the paper path or prevent it from being picked up in the paper tray. The rollers in a laser printer typically last as long as the maintenance kit does. There shouldn't be too many issues with feed rollers if you replace them every time you swap out the maintenance kit. However, unlike using printer stands, DeskJet and other printer types rarely need maintenance, so you won't have to regularly swap out the feed rollers. Usually, if a roller has stopped reliably picking up paper, the manufacturer will sell a kit that can be used to rough up the surface. The feed roller's smooth surface can be roughened up with the use of these kits, which feature an extremely stiff Scotch-brite pad and a corresponding program. If your printer doesn't come with an installation kit, it's a simple matter of downloading and running a short file. When doing so, make careful to uniformly roughen the roller's surface.

When not in use, always keep the manual feed tray covered.
Remember to always close the manual feed tray when not in use, especially if you use your printer for printing labels or legal-sized papers. A user could easily damage the projecting tray by turning in their seat too quickly or slipping. Folding the tray back up over and again may be a minor annoyance, but having it folded up out of the way is significantly safer.

Tenth, be cautious when reinstalling components.
Use caution when putting together or fixing a printer because of its brittle plastic construction. Working with covers and cases is particularly hazardous due to the fragility of the plastic tabs used to secure them. If you have to use a lot of force to put the pieces of the printer back together, you should probably slow down and examine the assembly process more closely. In all likelihood, you're trying to assemble the pieces at the wrong angle, or they don't quite fit together as you'd expect.

Buying a repair guide is tip number 11.
A service manual is available for purchase from the maker of your printer if you like to learn more about servicing it. Extensive troubleshooting advice, subassembly schematics, and other repair details can be found in these instructions. The printer service manual is an invaluable resource when it comes time to perform repairs. You might even be able to find detailed, problem-specific instructions to follow if you're undertaking some kind of repair work.