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How to Extend the Life of Your Cartridges

2010-01-01

Store it Wisely: If you store your cartridges properly, they'll stay good for up to two years. Find a dry place that is not too hot or cold - room temperature is best. Cartridges should be kept in an upright position. Finally, resist the urge to open the package to have a peek at your new cartridge. Most times, these packages are vacuum sealed. When you open them, you let air in, and that will reduce the shelf life of your cartridge from a year or two to a maximum of six months.

Try Draft Mode: Most printers are automatically set to print all images at the highest resolution possible. And certainly, there are times when you want nothing less than the best quality possible, like when you're printing off some photos of the kids for Mom or preparing a proposal for your boss. Sometimes, however, print quality doesn't matter all that much. In these cases, see if your printer will let you print in draft mode. The resolution will be a bit lower, but that print job won't use nearly as much ink.

Use it Frequently: This seems counterintuitive, but using your printer on a regular basis is essential to ensure a long cartridge life. Ink must travel through nozzles in the cartridge for printing to occur. If you don't use your printer often enough, the ink in these nozzles can dry out and make printing impossible. Even if you don't absolutely need to, print out a page or two at least every couple of weeks to avoid clogged cartridge nozzles.

Use the Off Button, Not a Power Bar: While your printer is turned off, open up the cover and take a look. Chances are that the cartridges are located off to the side. Now turn it on. After the cartridges move, look at where they just were. Chances are also good that the cartridges were capped or sealed while the printer was off. Why is this important? Most cartridges contain sponges. If cartridges are exposed to air, the sponges can dry out, which often makes cartridges unusable. When cartridges are capped or sealed, the sponges are not exposed to nearly as much air, which prevents them from drying out and consequently prolongs the life of the cartridge. If you use the printer's power button, the cartridges will automatically be capped or sealed. If you use a power bar, however, this might not occur. Using the printer's "On/Off" button is a simple and perhaps not widely known strategy to prolong the life of that black and white or color cartridge.

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