Printer maintenance: 10 tips to extend your printer’s life

Updated: 2021-09-10

Most printers have been designed to last. After all, they are pieces of machinery that need a regular maintenance and occasional repairs, which costs a lot of money. Printers are designed to last, and often they do. It is more than a wonder since there are so many parts in them and so many chances for paper jams. 

How to extend a printer’s life

We all want to save money. But when it comes to saving money on printer repairs , you need to be sure you are taking the right steps to do so. There are some things that you can do which can save you a lot of money, but you don’t want to take steps that will cause you to spend more money in the long run.

For example, if you are having problems with your printer, you may want to attempt to fix the problem on your own. However, you always want to make sure that you are consulting the owner’s manual of the printer before undertaking any major printer maintenance procedure. If you are not sure how to do this, you may be putting your printer at risk for further damage.

One of the most important things to remember about printer maintenance is that it requires the right tools and training. If you follow these steps then you will be able to keep your printer alive and in good shape for as long as possible:

Clean the old printer often

Cleaning the printer is essential to keeping it running properly. Dirt, dust and other particles can accumulate inside the printer over time, and can cause problems with the printer working correctly, or even cause problems with the printer itself.

Whenever you open up your printer, you should be looking for dust or other debris. It would be great if you could utilize compressed air at least once a month – or more frequent if your users print a lot – to remove all the dust and debris from the printer. But do not spray the compressed air in the direction of the printer’s printer head. You can damage the printer head, and in turn, your printer won’t function properly. Print head cleaning is a separate task. Use the compressed air to blow away the debris and dust from the other parts of the printer.

Use paper towels and isopropyl alcohol to clean the plastic parts. 

If your printer isn’t very old, you’ll want to clean it less often. The best way to know when to clean your printer is to watch your print quality. If you’re noticing the quality degrading over time, it might be time to give it a good cleaning.

To save money while decreasing the risk of damaging your printer, you can buy a protective duct cover for it. These can be as simple as a antistatic case or as extravagant as afancy plastic container. They are intended to be placed over the printer when it is not in use so that it will not be touched or damaged. The cover will protect the paper as well as the printer itself from dust, dirt, and moisture.

Use high-quality printer paper

Most people overlook the importance of the paper they use when printing a document. While the paper type might not seem like a big deal, there are actually some major differences between the various types of paper.

Even the most experienced printer technicians are likely to forget about this aspect of the printer maintenance, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t given it much thought.

The truth is that the paper you use actually affects how clear your prints turn out, and it can make a world of difference in how long you have to run your printer to get a job done.

20lb paper is sufficient for most printing jobs, but for stunning prints you need to use at least 24lb paper. (The paper weight is given in pounds, hence the name.)

A heavier weight paper has more resistance than a lighter weight paper, which means the ink is more likely to stay put. This translates into a more precise and accurate output and less paper jams that can damage your inkjet.

The best way to find the right paper for your needs is to check the manufacturer’s specifications for the printer model you use. 

This doesn’t mean that you should only buy printer paper made by the same company that makes your printer, and it doesn’t mean that you can only use paper that the manufacturer specifies. There are plenty of other options, and if you know what to look for, you should be able to find paper that is right for your needs and that fits your budget.

Each manufacturer has its own list of paper that is compatible with its printers, and they typically include a variety of different types of paper.

Store the printer paper properly

It is important to store your printer paper in a cool, dry, and dark location in your home. While it is common to store printer paper in a closet, this can potentially cause the sheets to curl and become harder to use. If you want to avoid these issues, it is best to purchase a storage unit, like a box, to place your printer paper inside. If you do not have a box to purchase, make sure you place your printer paper in a flat position in your closet to prevent it from curling.

The rule of thumb is that the colder the storage temperature, the longer the life expectancy of the paper. There are some limits, of course. For long term storage, the ideal temperature is between 59 – 77 degrees Fahrenheit (15 – 25 degrees of Celsius). However, if you use very cold paper in a printer ther is the risk of damaging the ink and even the printer.

Do not use twisted, torn, or damaged paper

Paper that is torn, has holes, is damaged, or is otherwise twisted is more likely to jam, and more difficult to feed through the printer. It also tends to produce less-sharp photos.

That’s because flat, smooth paper has a higher surface area than wrinkled, twisted paper, meaning ink can spread more evenly and produce clearer, more detailed prints.

Also, ink tends to run more smoothly across flat, smooth surfaces, and tends to bead up on anything else. All that extra ink can clog the printer’s feed and ends up blurring the print.

When not in use, keep the manual feed tray closed

In order to keep your printer in the best possible shape, you should treat it well when it is not in use. The simplest way to accomplish this is to keep the manual feed tray closed when you are not using it.

This prevents the printer from collecting dust or debris, which can damage the printer and cause it to generate errors and malfunction. If you print infrequently, leave the manual feed tray open to keep it from getting stuck for long periods of time.

When the paper tray is opened to remove paper, it is important to make sure that it is closed after the paper is removed; otherwise, dust may fall into the printer.

When labeling, follow the straightest paper path possible

This is a twofold problem. First, when a printer has a second paper tray, the path from the primary tray to the secondary tray is often too meandering for the paper to accommodate the turns. Second, it is generally best to keep the printer paper as straight as possible, as any bends or kinks can cause print head alignment issues. The best way to accomplish this is to follow the “straightest paper path possible,” with any hairpin turns being made in as straight a manner as possible.

When you use the automatic feed process, the printer grabs the top sheet of paper from the paper tray and then feeds that paper through the printer. When you use the manual feed process, you can feed the paper through the printer one sheet at a time.

You can maximize the life of the printer by avoiding as many bends in the paper path as you can. This can be especially important when printing onto label stock—label stock can be very thin and can bend easily.

Always use high-quality labels

Use high-quality printer labels to prolong printer life by preventing jams and improving readability.

In the last several years there has been a shift in the type of labels that are being used with printers. Shoppers have been moving away from traditional label printers and towards inkjet printers that can print on a variety of surfaces.

The problem with this for the average consumer is that the type of labels that are compatible with the inkjet printers are not as durable as their traditional counterparts. 

The use of labels is great for organizing and decorating stuff. They add a personal touch to supplies and items you give to friends and family. However, on the cheap labels, the adhesive on the back of a label is usually very sticky, without a firm grasp, you may find that your labels peel off. This can cause damage to the printer, causing it to jam.

Be careful when assembling or repairing the printer

Take care when assembling a printer, as the plastic parts – especially the frame – are very fragile, and can easily break. If you are using a screwdriver, make sure the screwdriver fits the screw perfectly, so as not to damage anything. If you are using your hands, make sure you don’t pinch and break anything.

Even the most careful printer user can easily damage a printer by failing to properly assemble it. When you open the box for your new printer, your first step is to read the instructions.

The manufacturer’s directions are there to help you avoid damaging your printer and to ensure it lasts. However, it’s easy to miss the warning signs of a printer that’s about to break.

As a general rule, it is best to avoid tightening any plastic screws until all parts are firmly in place.

Install new rollers in place of old and worn ones

A worn feed roller is another cause of paper jams. Feed rollers are one of the most common parts to be replaced, as they are often made of plastic and can get worn from repeated use.

Over time, the feed roller grips the paper less reliably, so the rollwr replacement is necessary to avoid jams. A worn feed roller is more likely to tear the paper, which can prevent it from feeding smoothly, and may cause paper to warp, making it difficult to load.

If you want to replace the roller, you will just need a replacement roll and some basic tools. The printer manufacturer usually offers its customers a printer maintenance kit for specific models. The kit contains both the print feed rollers as well as a cleaning kit. 

Make sure you have a service manual

Printer manufacturers are constantly coming out with new, better models that can do things those of five years ago never could. However, the more advanced and complex a printer is, the more buttons, features and functions there are to learn. Sometimes, despite the fact that you’ve read the instruction manual cover to cover, you just can’t figure out how to do something.

Chances are, one of your friends or family members has encountered the same problem you have, or that information can be found on the Internet. There are also printer user manuals, which have tons of information on what each button and function does. For example, check out what happens when you google “Canon pixma ts5020 user manual”.

If an owner’s manual is not sufficient to answer any questions, you can buy a service manual from the printer manufacturer to learn more about its mechanics.

Depending on the problem you have and the type of fix you are trying to do, you may even be able to find step-by-step instructions that will show you how to complete the repair.