How to Extend the Life of Your Printer

by Pete on December 9, 2009

Finally found a printer that takes relatively inexpensive ink? HP---PrinterThen chances are you’d like to hang on to it. Many printers need to be replaced every two years or so, but your printer could potentially last much longer. Here are a few tips for making sure your printer lasts as long as you need it to.

Be careful when extracting paper jams. Paper jams can be frustrating. But you should definitely avoid taking your frustration out on your printer by yanking and pulling too hard. If you rip the paper inside the printer, you’ll probably leave small pieces of paper in the machinery. This can lessen your printer’s life over time. There’s also a chance you could jerk something important inside the printer, causing a bigger break. These kinds of problems can reduce your printer’s lifespan much more quickly. Instead, carefully remove the hatch that gives you access to the paper wheels and extract the paper gently, turning the wheels when possible to extract the paper instead of trying to do it by force.

Shut down your printer when you’re not using it. If you leave your printer on all the time, you could cause the printer ink to dry out—which can cause internal problems in the printer over time.  Use the printer’s power button to power it down, and then unplug it if you need to. This will also save you money on your energy bill—and it’s better for the environment.

Keep your machine clean. Every so often—at least once a month or so—wipe down the inside and the outside of your printer with a lint-free cloth. This will keep your prints looking cleaner and prevent lines, as well as keeping your printer working smoothly. Sometimes paper jams are caused by nothing more than dirt between the moving parts of a printer, causing inappropriate friction.

Handle your printer with care. A printer is a fragile machine. We see printers every day, and many people are used to treating them rather roughly—jerking paper out of the rollers during a paper jam, slamming hatches closed and knocking the printer around without a lot of thought to its lifespan.  Printers have many small, delicate moving parts that can easily be damaged, so treat the machine with care when you handle it and use it—and it’s much more likely to last longer than it would ordinarily.

Make sure the printer is properly installed. Static electricity can damage your printer—another good reason to keep it free of dust, which can generate static electricity inside the printer. Sometimes paper can also carry an electric charge—especially if you fan or shuffle the paper before loading it into the tray. In addition, if your printer is building up a store of static electricity, it can be damaged if it touches anything grounded. It’s crucial to be sure that your printer’s wiring is properly installed. Have an expert look at your printer and be sure it’s installed properly before you bring it home.

Use the user’s manual. It’s common to forget about the user’s manual pretty much as soon as you install the printer. But then you’re stuck muddling through those frustrating error messages on your own—often by trying to yank the offending piece of paper out of the machine. The user’s manual can show you a kinder, gentler way to open the printer and fix whatever’s wrong. So keep your user’s manual around, and refer to it whenever you see an error message. Doing things carefully as described in it will definitely extend the life of your printer.

If you’ve found a printer you like, don’t hasten it to its end. Instead, treat it carefully and keep the user’s manual around to refer to when you see an error message. Make sure the printer is clean, especially on the inside, and free of dust—this will cut down on friction, heat and static electricity, all of which can damage your printer’s fragile components. Most of all, treat your printer gently—don’t tug on paper or try to wrench open a panel—as this can damage the internal components. Follow this advice, and your printer should have a long and happy life.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 joan paper December 28, 2009 at 11:26 pm

I would add to the list:

– every six months or so clean the rollers with a damp cloth to remove oil and dirt

See, e.g.: paper jam due to dirty rollers

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