When you’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on purchasing a new printer/copier, you want it to last a long time.
A lot of times, though, consumers take their printers for granted; many people think of a printer as a basic functional machine that doesn’t require much care or maintenance.
This thought process can actually get you in trouble, though. Believe it or not, printers are complex machines that can be costly to upkeep if you don’t follow sustainable best practices.
What are the best practices for maintaining your printer?
That is the question we will use our almost four decades as a printer/copier company to answer in this blog.
Learning these tips will help you become proactive with your printer so that the machine you spent good money on will last for the amount of time you expected it to.
The 8 Tips to Follow for Your Printer to Last
Here are eight sustainable tips for maintaining your printer so that it will serve your office for the long haul:
1. Give Your Printer Room to Breathe
The first tip you need to follow is to make sure that the machine you have is in a spot where it can adequately function.
This doesn’t just mean being able to fit the printer’s actual dimensions; you also need to make sure it has room to perform all its tasks such as opening paper trays or changing supplies.
If your machine is in a compact space, it can lead to difficulties using or accessing the machine for service repairs. In the worst-case scenario, enclosed spaces can also lead to the machine overheating, creating a potential fire hazard in your office.
If you currently have a printer that isn’t in an appropriate spot, you will need to find a more suitable location within your office to house it. To do that, you will need to move your printer.
Use the tips below to safely move your machine to another location:
Do not tilt or turn upside down as the inside of the printer may become contaminated with toner, which can cause damage to the printer or adversely affect print quality.
Remove all paper from the paper trays. Don’t forget to remove any paper or other media from the bypass tray. If the bypass tray extension is open, close it.
If you are moving the printer over a long distance, remove the drum cartridge and toner cartridge to prevent the toner from spilling.
2. Clean Your Printer Regularly
The next tip is a simple but important one to reiterate: Cleaning should be a regular part of caring for your machine.
Dust and debris can collect on your machine over time, especially ones that are in places such as warehouses, construction zones or oil rig sites. Even temporary construction surrounding the office can lead to dust settling on the printer when doors are opened and closed.
An increase in dust and debris could lead to service issues with your machine, making it important to keep your machine clean.
These include the glass of the machine, the user interface and the exterior of the machine. Use the tip below to safely clean your machine (courtesy of Xerox):
Moisten a clean, soft, lint-free, cotton cloth with a mixture of 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water (also known as rubbing alcohol). Do not use fibrous materials, such as paper towels. The cloth should be moist with no free liquid to ensure dripping does not occur.
Cleaning your machine regularly can also help prevent the spread of germs that can accumulate when different people are all using the same device.
3. Keep Your Paper in a Dry Place
The next tip involves the paper you use for printing. Storing your paper in a wet or humid climate can dampen your paper, which can lead to paper jams.
If you’ve ever experienced a paper jam, you know how frustrating it can be to deal with. To protect against damp paper being the reason for a jam, be sure to store all your paper supplies in a dry place.
Pro Tip: Once a package of paper is open, store the extra paper in an airtight container to prevent moisture from building up.
4. Input Your Paper Correctly
Let’s keep with the trend of paper for our next tip. Another thing you can do to avoid a paper jam within your machine is to input the correct paper in the trays and make sure the green feed guides are snug against the edges of the paper.
If you don’t input the paper correctly, or you insert a type of paper the machine can’t handle, a paper jam will likely occur.
5. Don’t Purchase Cheap Supplies
The fifth tip on this list is a big one: Don’t purchase cheap supplies for your machine.
You likely spent a lot of money on an office machine, and if you decide to go cheap on supplies such as paper, drums or toner, you’re opening yourself up to an increase in service issues down the road.
This is especially pertinent for toner cartridges since you will likely replace the toner for your machine frequently.
One of the most common and detrimental mistakes people make with supplies is buying inexpensive drill and fill toners.
Drill and fill toners have a proven failure rate of 40%. These toners lead to ink spillage that can damage your machine, void your warranty and produce hazardous toxins. Not to mention, it affects the quality of your output.
There are four different types of toner to choose from:
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
Drill and Fill
As long as you do not choose a drill and fill toner and purchase from a reputable source, your toner should be safe to use.
Respect Your Printer
“You don’t just shove paper in [the printer], you don’t bang on the buttons, you don’t sit on the glass. If you want it to work, you have to treat it with respect.” – Printer Repairman, Mad Men.
The printer repairman from the hit show Mad Men made some valid points in this scene: You must treat your printer with respect.
Some of the best ways to “respect your machine” include:
Closing doors and trays gently
Not banging on the machine or interface
No kicking your machine (it’s happened)
Gently unplug the cord, no yanking
Call a service tech if pieces are falling apart; duct tape is not the solution
Do not print over your machine’s recommended monthly print volume
The last bullet point deserves particular attention. Every printer is built to handle a certain capacity, measured in monthly increments, called recommended monthly print volume.
A printer’s recommended monthly print volume is how much it can safely print in a month, which differs from the machine’s monthly duty cycle.
Manufacturers include a duty cycle number that is much higher than the recommended print volume per month to showcase the power of the machine, not to encourage this printing level on an ongoing basis.
While the machine can technically print at its duty cycle in a month, you should always print at around 10% of its duty cycle—which is its recommended print volume.
Consistently printing at a printer’s monthly duty cycle can lead to serious service issues and a complete breakdown of the machine down the road.
7. Keep Your Printer Drums Out of the Sun
The seventh tip on this list involves an important, yet underplayed, part of a printer: The printer drum.
A printer drum plays an important role in the execution of the printing function. Thus, it’s important to keep printer drums away from direct sunlight, as this can render them useless and result in you having to buy new drums for your machine.
8. Invest in a Maintenance Plan
The last tip, investing in a maintenance plan, could be the solution for you if you are dealing with some of the issues discussed in this blog.
Maintenance plans provide services like high-quality toner automatically shipped to you as needed, access to trained service technicians, immediate phone support, and the assurance that you will always have a working machine.
Maintenance plans eliminate the concerns of purchasing cheap supplies, broken parts or getting stuck with a machine that is not operational.
When leasing a machine, a maintenance plan is usually automatically added for around $12 per month plus your monthly usage. If you decide to purchase a machine in cash, you can still add a maintenance plan without having to enter into any type of leasing contract.
Without a maintenance plan, you will have to find and purchase supplies as needed and, if the machine breaks or has a problem, service technicians for your brand of machine can be difficult to find.
Additionally, if you don’t have a maintenance plan, once the machine dies, you are stuck with it.
Maintenance plans won’t be for everybody, especially for offices that don’t regularly use their machine.
But if you have a printer and are experiencing some of the issues discussed here today, you could be a candidate for one.
Need a Printer Maintenance Plan?
Everybody wants to feel like the product that they spent good money on was worth it.
The eight tips discussed in this article should help you achieve your goal of making your printer last as long as possible and make it feel as if it was a worthwhile purchase.
But if you find that you’re experiencing constant service and supply issues, and you’re finding it hard to find support, it may be time to look into a maintenance plan for your machine.
As mentioned in the previous section, maintenance plans are usually around $12 a month and can save you a lot of the hassle when dealing with printer-related issues.
We offer a fully-fledged maintenance plan that includes automatic shipments of toner, access to service technicians and quick phone support that can help you overcome some of the problems you may be having with your device.
If you’re interested in investing in a maintenance plan, reach out to us and one of our business consultants will be with you shortly to discuss the next steps.