Don't you just hate it when your computer is having problems? It could be running super slow or you might see an error message that won't go away.
That can be frustrating, especially if you're working on a deadline. Fortunately, many times you can restart your computer, and the problem disappears. Or you may just know how to fix it because you've been using computers for so many years.
But what happens when your printer isn't working? We're not talking about paper jams, or when you're running low on ink. We're talking about a hard-to-fix problem.
When this occurs, you might see its lights flash or turn from green to amber. Or, you could see a message on its screen, such as "ink system failure."
Maybe the printer just isn't working right. For example, pages are printing out really slowly. Running out to buy a new printer every time you're having problems can get expensive.
The better solution is to prevent these problems from happening to begin with. All you need is to know a few preventive maintenance procedures. Here are some techniques that will help extend the life of your printer.
Extending the life of your printer
1. Store the printer in a good spot
The easiest way to make your printer last longer is to keep it in the right location. Climate can be a big factor when it comes to printer problems.
Dry air and excessive heat can cause the print head to clog on inkjets, and degrade toner with laser printers. Make sure to keep them away from heat sources like a furnace or radiator.
Another location you don't want your printer near is a high traffic area. Bumping into a printer and knocking it to the ground is enough to make it stop working. It's best to position it in a corner of the room, where it's less likely to make contact with a person walking by.
2. Know your equipment
Getting to know the proper way to care for your device will help to keep it in tip-top shape. Make sure to follow these steps:
- Read the manual - When dealing with a printer, you need to consult its operating manual. If it is under warranty this is very important. If you don't follow the recommended procedures you could nullify the warranty.
- Use the printer regularly - One thing that will help keep your machine running smoothly is to use it on a regular basis. This is especially true with inkjet printers. If you know you're not going to use it for a while, print out a test page once a week. This will help keep the print heads from clogging.
- Power it down correctly - Many printers today have self-cleaning features. Unplugging your printer when it's not in use will interfere with the automatic features. Make sure to use the on/off button to power it down.
- Keep it clean - Dust can block print heads and cause streaks on your documents. Wipe away any dust that accumulates to prevent this issue. If you keep the printer in an especially dusty area, use a plastic cover to protect it.
- Don't overfill the paper tray - Paper jams can lead to more serious problems. The best way to prevent this is by not putting too much paper in the tray. Also, make sure the paper isn't sticking together or torn.
3. Update your software
Manufacturers will update drivers from time-to-time. This is done mainly to fix reoccurring problems or add features to the printer.
You need to make sure that your software is current so you don't miss out on any of these updates. Some devices will update its software automatically, but many don't.
To make sure that your software is up to date, follow these steps:
- Confirm the printer model - You should be able to find the model number on the printer itself. If not, you can find it on the computer it's connected to. Go to Control Panel >> Hardware and Sound >> Devices and Printers. Then click on Customize your printer and a window will open showing the model number.
- Go to the manufacturer's website - Here you should find a Support and Drivers section. Select the download drivers and software button. Then type the name and model number of your printer in the search bar. Select the operating system and version that you're using to get the current driver. Click download under the Driver heading.
This tips are sure to help get the most out of your printer and keep a few extra dollars in your pocket.