999inks guide to: how your ink cartridges can help with printer maintenance? If you’re anything like us, you want to make sure the money you invest in home or office equipment lasts. That means keeping on top of maintenance. You probably know how to keep your cooking knives sharp and your computer up to date, but do you know how to keep your printer in good working order?
One of the easiest, and perhaps most surprising, ways to maintain your printer is with the ink cartridges you use. From the way you install them to how often you use them, ink cartridges have a significant impact on the performance and lifetime of your printer. This is how.
The most important part of printer maintenance is knowing what you’re doing.
Replacing ink cartridges is the most common form of printer maintenance there is. So when we talk about ink cartridges and printer maintenance, this is the most natural place to start. Installing cartridges incorrectly can lead to a host of problems. Most likely, the chip won’t be in contact with the printer and it simply won’t work, but if ink cartridge installation goes really wrong, it can tear up internal parts of the printer.
Because it is so critical, it is important not to become too complacent about the process, no matter how many times you do it. Always read through the user manual to be sure you know what you’re doing. Once you’ve got the cartridge holder in place, turn off the printer to keep things from moving suddenly. Make sure you never touch any parts of the printer that move, and don’t touch the chip on the cartridge itself (fingerprints can disrupt the connection).
Don’t open the packaging before you’re ready to install the cartridge, or else you risk the ink drying out. We’ll explain more about why that’s every bad below. Be sure you remove the protective clips or print head tape, if there is any, before you try installing the cartridge.
Finally, don’t force things too much. You’ll probably need a steady hand, but you shouldn’t need to use all your strength to get something into place. If it’s that hard, you’re probably doing something wrong.
Ink cartridges need to be used to keep everything in good nick.
Ink cartridges contain liquid ink. Printers are designed to use liquid ink. But what happens to liquids that stay in contact with air? They dry up. And that’s what can happen inside a printer. The ink cartridges are in contact with a minute amount of air, and that’s enough to allow the ink to dry up.
The drier ink gets, the thicker it gets. The thicker it gets, the more likely it is to clog or even damage the print heads.
But if you use your printer at least once a week, that keeps everything moving just enough to keep the ink from drying up too much.
Replacing the ink cartridges before they run out can save your printer.
We know the temptation to run your ink cartridges is strong, and for good reason. But replacing cartridges is far easier and far cheaper than replacing print heads. The idea behind this is the same as our second point. Essentially, dried out ink can cause mischief with your print heads. The longer ink is in a printer, exposed to air, the thicker it becomes. So if you replace the ink cartridge right when the low ink warning appears, you ensure your printer is using the freshest ink possible. That means print heads stay clear and print quality remains as high as possible.
The way you store your cartridges impacts the ink.
We’ve made it pretty clear, then, that the ink affects your printer’s performance. But this can be influenced from the moment you get those cartridges in your possession. Make sure your ink is ready to be used by storing it upright, in its air-tight packaging and out of direct sunlight.
Let us explain why. When cartridges are shipped to you, they get bounced around and this can cause air bubbles to form. Storing your cartridges upright – as they would be positioned in your printer – gives the ink time to settle down and the air bubbles time to travel up to the top of the cartridge where it can’t disrupt ink flow. Keeping the ink in its air-tight packaging means it doesn’t dry out. And by keeping the ink out of direct sunlight, you prevent any fading or colour loss.
And bonus: storing ink this way keeps it in good condition for up to two years.
The physical cases can make a difference.
One of the biggest things people think about when choosing which ink cartridge to buy is price. We all do it. And often, printer owners opt for compatible or refillable cartridges over OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) cartridges. There are companies which offer guarantees about the quality of their compatible cartridges, and they even regularly test their products to ensure they meet or exceed industry standards. But there are other companies which don’t do this. Their cartridges may be even cheaper, but you’ll soon discover why.
At best, they may leak ink all over your paper, printer and whatever the printer is sitting on. At worst, their cartridge design could get in the way of the delicate moving parts nearby, causing severe damage to your machine.
If the printer cartridges you get are well designed and appropriate for your printer, then you shouldn’t have any problems like this. And if you do, the most reputable companies have good returns policies, which include things like replacing the cartridges to replacing your printer, if necessary.
There are many things that can affect your printer’s lifetime and its print quality, but little has the same impact as ink cartridges. But if you know what you’re doing, choose replacement cartridges wisely and do everything you can to keep the cartridges from drying out, you should have a printer that keeps printing high-quality images and text for years to come.
Last modified: March 6, 2017