Question – What if I don’t use my ink jet printer for long periods, how does that affect the print quality?
The simple answer – Not using your inkjet printer for long periods WILL cause your ink to dry out and render a cartridge useless. Most people are trying to save money any way they can. One item in a house hold that can get very expensive is ink for a printer. So many people figure to save on the cost of ink we’ll only print what we absolutely have to. This may very well mean not printing for one week to 3 months in some households. Here’s the problem with that.
Ink is liquid! What does a liquid do when exposed to air; it evaporates, no way around it. When you buy an ink jet cartridge, have you noticed that it’s usually packaged in a plastic box, then the cartridge itself is in a sealed bag and then the cartridges has a clip on it that you have to remove before printing. The manufactures are not doing all of that just so that you get great looking packaging, they do it to keep the ink from drying out. Even with all of the protective packaging you will notice many of the manufactures will have an expiration date on the box, this tells you that the ink in the cartridge is in all likely hood past its prime.
So once you remove the cartridge from its protective packaging guess what, it’s totally exposed to air! At the bottom of the cartridge there are anywhere from 500 to 1200 microscopic nozzles or holes that allows the ink to flow from the cartridge onto the paper. The ink that is in these nozzles is the first thing to dry out. If you leave your printer idle for 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes even less than that depending on the dryness in your house there is a good chance you have dried ink in those nozzles. What that means to you is when you go to print and some of these nozzles are clogged with dry ink, you get that print that has those unwanted lines through all of your text.
Of course the first thing a customer will do is blame the ink jet cartridge, especially if it’s a remanufactured product. But it’s like the old saying goes, use it or lose it. So what’s a consumer to do? The best action you can take is to print something at least once a week. It does not have to be a long 20 page document, just one page will do the trick but make sure it has black and color so that all of the nozzles in all of the print heads are used. A good idea is to have a photo or similar file front & center on your desktop where you will see it each time you’re on your PC to remind you to print something. By doing this it will help to minimize ink drying in the print head.
Some people will say that’s wasting the ink. I guess you could look at it that way but if you don’t do it and let that printer sit to long you may not get to use any of the ink that you paid for. So the choice really comes down to you, use a little each week and have the printer work when you really need it, or never print in an effort to save the ink and when you really need to print it doesn’t work. In that case, you’ll have to go down to the store and buy new cartridges anyway.
The only alternative to this problem is to go with a laser printer, the toner these machines use is a powder so it can’t dry out, it’s already dry. You can let these printers sit around for months & months and it will still print when you need it to. You can buy a monochrome laser for pretty cheap now but the color laser is still kind of pricey. The real problem with the color lasers is when you go to load the machine again; many times the toners will cost more than the machine. Make sure to research before you buy.
Here at Ink & Toner Solutions we offer a free printer guide that you fill out so when you go to buy your next printer, you have all of the facts you need to make the right decision. If you are local you can pick up your free guide in our downtown Northampton, MA store or you can download it here.