Some printer problems are unavoidable. Others are fairly preventable. Let's help you save time, money, and energy by simply changing a few printer habits as well as your understanding of perceived problems.
1. A paper jam isn’t always a paper jam.
There’s nothing more aggravating than getting a paper jam error when all you want to do is print something. While it may feel like your printer is getting paper jams more and more, on some models of printers, any number of things can set off the printer jam sensor.
First, check to see if there is indeed a paper jam somewhere in the system. If there’s not, make sure that paper drawers, shelves, ream alignment, and other printer sections are all in their proper places. What you thought was a time-consuming paper jam may just be a simple paper drawer out of alignments.
2. Don’t move printers with cartridges still in them.
You wouldn't move a china cabinet with the dishes still in it and you shouldn't move a printer while it's packed with consumables (cartridges, paper, etc.) Whether you’re moving a printer across town or across the office, it’s a good idea to remove all printer cartridges — whether ink or toner. Ink and toner can be sensitive to temperature—adding one more variable to the moving process. Cartridges can also become jammed or dislodged in the moving process. Your best bet is simply removing them before a move.
3. Toner running low? Shake things up a bit.
Sometimes, when you receive a low toner warning on your printer, this may just mean that the toner is displaced inside of the cartridge. Try taking out the toner cartridge and giving it a shake with the hopper over a trash can. Sometimes that will dislodge stubborn toner and give the cartridge some additional life.
4. Adjusting print settings can conserve ink or toner.
For most of us, diving into the printer settings is kind of like jumping into the backend of a website — you may only know enough to be dangerous. Even though this may remain the case, knowing a little about the settings can help you conserve ink or toner. For example, if you’re not printing high-resolution graphics very often, lowering the DPI resolution settings can help your cartridges last longer.
5. Make your company think twice before printing.
This tip is much more psychological than printer related. If you feel like your company is printing too much, putting it at the forefront of your team’s mind is a great way to save money in printing. If you really want to get people thinking, put “Before you print this email, think about if there is a more tree-friendly way to keep or share it.” in your email signature line and at the end of articles and memos. Other ways to save on printing costs is to have a company-wide “should I print this?” checklist.
6. Make duplex printing (printing on both sides of the paper) a mandatory policy.
If you’re tired of constantly having to refill the paper tray, consider making duplex printing — printing on both sides of the paper — mandatory across your company. People will soon forget what life was like back when they only printed on one side of the paper for multipage documents.
7. Low on black? Other colors may work in a pinch.
On many models of printer, the black ink color an entirely separate compartment than other colors of ink or toner. When you’re running low or are completely out of black ink, a dark brown or blue may suffice until you can top off your black ink once again.
Extending the life of your printer devices can be the difference between no understanding of your technologies and even the most basic understanding of your investment. Taking the time now can save you vast amounts of time, money, and hassle later.