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Simple Cost Effective Ink Jet Maintenance Tips

2010-06-07

Modern desktop ink jet printers, as complicated as they are, are for the most part self-maintaining, requiring little in the way of care to keep functioning correctly. But nothing with as advanced technology at its core can be called maintenance-free, and with a little bit of attention and time, a desktop printer can run smoothly and economically for its entire lifetime.

Ink jet printers work by spraying minute amounts of ink through tiny nozzles as the printer head travels over the paper's surface while the paper is being fed through the machine. Some machines use heat to vaporize the ink, some use pressure to push it through the nozzle. In either case, because the nozzles are so tiny and can be so easily clogged, the machines are programmed to run cleaning operations when they're turned on and before any printing job. So the very first maintenance routine you can run is to make sure you print something periodically. If the machine lies dormant for a month or more, chances are you'll have to run extra cleaning routines, which use up ink faster, or one or more of the ink cartridges might be rendered useless. That can be expensive. So print at least one page a week, to keep things flowing smoothly.

Making sure the machine's innards stay clean is another simple, easy, and cheap way to keep it happy and chugging along without problems. Keep it covered when not in use, don't use it in a dusty environment, and now and again open the cover and either vacuum out any interior dust, or use compressed air to blow it out. Wipe down the paper feed rollers occasionally, as well.

Manufacturer's ink cartridges are notoriously expensive, and quite often printer owners can save on printing costs by using aftermarket suppliers of affordable cartridges, or turning the manufacturer's cartridges into affordable cartridges by availing themselves of printer ink refills and re-using them. This can be a very effective way to economize, but several preventive maintenance steps are useful here, as well.

First, when using printer ink refills, it's a good idea to refill a cartridge before the ink runs out entirely, you run the risk of a clogged nozzle, perhaps making the cartridge useless, or at least negatively affecting the printing quality. Follow the refill instructions very carefully to avoid spills on yourself or into the machine, and don't exceed the recommended number of refills for the printer and cartridge you are using.

As dependable as home computer printing has become over the last decade, there still remains the need to pay attention to some basic, simple, and moneysaving preventive maintenance actions that can keep the experience dependable and stress free for years to come.

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