In the first of our Tech Tips series, we take a look at the basics of keeping your printer in tip top condition.
Where Should I Use My Printer?
Before you even start using your printer, you should have a think about where it is going to be located. Most of us sensibly install it somewhere near the computer it will be used with or in a central location if it is to be used wirelessly.
There are, however, other considerations to make if you want to optimise your printer's performance and longevity.
Firstly, ensure your printer is located in a cool, well ventilated room away from direct sunlight, radiators and other heat sources. Printers can overheat so make sure there is plenty of room around the printer, especially near any air vents.
We don't recommend using your printer in a dirty or dusty environment such as a garage. At best, the contaminants are not going to be beneficial to a healthy printer and at worst, excessive dust can be a fire hazard.
How To Clean Your Printer?
Once you're up and running, printers are generally clever enough to perform a head clean cycle automatically to maintain optimum performance. They will also perform a cleaning cycle every time you switch the printer on as they initialise the cartridges ready for use. Unfortunately there is no real way around this, short of leaving your printer on all of the time.
Printers will gather dust naturally so it's good practise to give the outer surfaces a wipe over with a damp or microfibre cloth a few times each month. As well as household dust, you'll often see a build up of paper dust residue inside your printer from time to time which can be cleaned out with compressed air or a small handheld vacuum.
If you get any ink spillage inside your printer, simply use dry, absorbent kitchen towel to careful soak up the excess before using a slightly damp kitchen towel or cloth to clean up the remainder. When dealing with cleaning ink, use rubber gloves to minimise any ink transferral to your skin. Ink is water based though and will come off after a few days if you do happen to get any on your hands.
Use The Built In Maintenance Tools
Many people ignore the maintenance tools that are built into the printer. They are there for a reason and that is to improve performance if something isn't printing as expected.
If print quality starts to degrade or colours don't seem to be displaying properly, it is likely that you either need to replace a low cartridge or use the 'Nozzle Check' and 'Head Clean' function.
Nozzle Check will output a printed sheet of lines, symbols, patterns or blocks of individual colour to help determine which cartridge is in need of attention. Because the Nozzle Check uses pure ink from each cartridge, it is a much more accurate way to see what is at fault, rather than printing a photograph or blocks of 'imperfect' colour made in paint or word software.
You can also use the 'head alignment' tool to correct poor print alignment or the 'roller cleaning' function should you experience poor paper feed. Just look out for them on your printer menu under the Maintenance or Tools section.