4 Printing Secrets About Ink and Printers

The many nuances of your printer do not have to stay a secret to you. If printing is an essential part of your business, whether at home or in the office, it pays to know the intricacies of your printer ink and machine. These four secrets can save you money by improving your understanding of the printing process.  

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  1. Maintenance Is Key

The longer your printer is in working order, the more money you save on new printing and cartridge refills. To keep your printer in pristine condition, you need to perform regular maintenance. An indication your printer needs maintenance is when print jobs come out with errors like errant lines or smudges. You can perform maintenance after this happens or perform preventative maintenance two times a year.

Check the Owner’s Manual

Every printer has unique features, so check your owner’s manual before performing maintenance. The owner’s manual explains the maintenance codes that your printer displays. It also explains the warranty, so you know if replacement is an option.

Printer Software Diagnostics and Cleaning

Use your printer’s software to check and clean components of your printer. A nozzle check is a standard test that prints outlined pages. If the lines are solid and consistent, the nozzles are fine. If the lines are broken or smudged, then the nozzles are not functioning correctly. Most printers can clean and align their print heads through software demands. If software-directed maintenance fails to solve a problem, additional manual maintenance is necessary.

Manual Maintenance 

Unplug your printer before doing any maintenance. The inside and outside of your printer should be cleaned multiple times a year to keep it running smoothly. Lint-free damp towels are fine for wiping expelled toner and paper remnants off the printer. Soft brushes and cotton swabs are ideal for removing tough dirt. 

Work slowly and be gentle because printer parts can be delicate. Do not use a vacuum or compressed air for this reason. You can clean the paper feeder roller with some isopropyl alcohol and maintain the device’s printhead using common office cleaning supplies. 

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Maintenance Kits

A maintenance kit replaces and cleans parts that are most likely to wear out with extended printer use. These parts include various rollers, like a paper pick-up roller, transfer roller and the fuser assembly. Besides the maintenance kit, you need latex gloves, a flathead screwdriver and some patience.

A consistent maintenance schedule and a willingness to do some handiwork can save you and your business significant printer ink costs and extend the life of your printer.

  1. There Are Ink Saving Myths to Avoid

While saving ink saves money, not all ink-saving methods should be heeded. With printers continuously evolving with innovations, some ink-saving practices become outdated. If enacted, these practices can end up costing you money instead of saving money on ink.

Myth: Unplug Your Printer

The energy-saving benefits of unplugging a printer when it is not in use are offset by the risk of ink leakage in the machine. When you turn a printer off, it goes through a shut-down process that includes parking and capping the print heads while excess ink slowly returns into the cartridge.

If you unplug the printer before this process is finished, the receding ink can leak into the printer, causing a mess and potentially clogging the print heads.

Myth: Don’t Use Your Printer to Save Ink

You might think abstaining from printing is the best way to extend the life of a printer and the toner or ink cartridges, but this is not the case. Printers work best with consistent use because the flowing ink lubricates the machine, just like oil does for a car. 

Use your printer once a week or consult the owner’s manual, which tells you how to care for a printer you are not using consistently. 

  1. Firmware Updates Come at a Cost

Printers are smart technology with firmware that is frequently updated. Many of these updates are optional, as when your phone gives you the option to update with a new patch. While many of these updates are harmless bug fixes, some of them result in irreversible changes that cost you money. 

Updates Can Render Non-Brand Cartridges Unusable

Recently, large printer and ink brands have taken to updating printer firmware to recognize and restrict the use of remanufactured and compatible ink cartridges. This forces consumers into purchasing new branded printer ink and toner. For instance, if you use a Canon printer with remanufactured Canon ink cartridges, an update may force you to buy new Canon cartridges, which cost more. 

If you have an older printer, the updates will not automatically download, so you can simply choose the do not update option when an optional update notification appears. If you are unsure if an update will invalidate your remanufactured cartridges, decline the update and then do research to determine if you should go back and download the update. 

Modern printers do not usually allow people to deny firmware updates as they are downloaded automatically. You must go to the printer settings on a connected computer or in the printer itself. Then navigate to update settings and set automatic update to no. Check regularly to confirm automatic updates are not downloaded and to see if you want to run any recent updates.

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  1. Page Yield Is an Overestimation  

Your printer ink cartridges come with a page yield statistic that tells you how many pages the cartridge can print. Page yield is not always advertised on cartridge packaging, but manufacturer websites should have it posted. You may be surprised to learn how high a cartridge’s page yield is advertised to be. 

Most advertised page yields are based on 5% page density, which refers to 5% of a paper with ink coverage. That equates to single-spaced lines of text covering about a third of a paper. Other factors, like printer model and humidity, are involved in determining the actual page yield of a cartridge. 

Considering this, it is important to monitor your page yield statistics if you want to use page yield to estimate how much printer ink or toner you need.

For Printing, Knowledge Is Savings 

If you want to get the most out of your printer and ink setups, it is essential to know all the ins and outs of your machines. By learning these four secrets and implementing them into your printing habits, you can save considerable money on ink cartridges and replacement printers. 

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