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Increase Your Printer’s Lifespan

Friday, August 24th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Printing Help

Increase Your Printer’s Lifespan

Did you know that color printers have a lifespan that’s perfectly acceptable for both personal and professional use at the price they come, even while laser printers generally last a bit longer? Basically, you end up replacing inkjet printers every three to four years, but laser printers generally last a few years longer. Some users have reported a handful of personal grade laser printers that have been churning out pages for a full decade. Wow! But no matter what kind of printer you use, here are a few tips that will help you maintain your printer in tip top shape for as long as possible!

Tip 1: Go Easy on a Paper Jam

In case of a paper jam, never force the paper out. This can not only damage the printer, but also leave bits of torn paper inside, which could cause harm later on. To get the paper out smoothly, most printers have a hatch attached at the back that can be easily removed. Once this hatch is removed, you will gain access to the paper wheels and you should be able to see the jammed paper to get it out.

Tip 2: Avoid Shutting Down the Printer in an Improper Manner

Turn off your printer when not in use. This can prevent drying of ink and it also helps to keep the printer functioning at an optimum level. Remember to use the printer’s power button and then remove the plug if need be. Don’t turn the power off if you are in the middle of something.

Tip 3: Avoid Cheap Toner/Ink Cartridges

Often times, we are tempted to use either compatible, refilled or remanufactured ink/toner cartridges, which is something we all should avoid. That is like buying a compatible spare part for a car instead of buying the original parts. It may somewhat perform the same function as the original, but it would not last as long and it could affect the performance of the vehicle itself. In addition, we need to look at how such companies manufacture their products. In the case of remanufacturing cartridges, what actually happens is this: the manufacturer would first purchase empty toner cartridges from end users. They would then strip the toner cartridge to its bare minimum and they would then reassemble them after a little bit of cleaning. The area of specific concern here is the toner drum. There is a set lifespan for this item and no amount of cleaning would extend it.

Avoid using cheap toner cartridges and use ones like the one in the screenshot above.

And finally, the lifespan of a printer depends on the sturdiness of the machine, how much you use it and how well you maintain it. Printers will eventually fail, but some will last nearly forever. Take good care of your printer and it will take care of you, for a much longer time. And one more thing: to ensure your printer has a long lifespan, you should not base your purchase solely on its speed or its price. The monthly duty cycle indicates the maximum number of pages the printer is designed to produce. Buying a printer that has a duty cycle that is two to three times your expected print volume will help ensure its longevity as well.

Sidebar: Lifespan of Cartridges

The lifespan of an ink cartridge varies, depending on how often and how much you print. Light users might replace their ink two or three times a year, while heavier users may go through cartridges every few months (cartridges left sitting for a year or more may dry out as well). If you want a more concrete answer on how many pages you’ll get out of a cartridge, consult the manufacturer for the rating on a specific model printer and cartridge. A typical answer will be something along the lines of 350 pages at a five percent coverage. That means a cartridge can print 350 pages with an average of a five percent surface area inked on each page.

The lifespan of a toner cartridge varies greatly, depending on the type of laser printer you have. Cheaper toner cartridges cost under $100 and output 2,500 to 5,000 pages. More expensive toner cartridges are meant for printers that do a lot of printing (a very common reason to have a laser printer in the first place) and will yield tens of thousands of pages. Some of the most expensive, heavy duty cartridges will even yield hundreds of thousands of pages. It just depends on what you buy!

Happy printing!

~ Zahid H. Javali

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