Laser Printers - Care & Maintenance Introduction This article has been written to help the existing owners of laser printers to get the best from their machines. It is aimed at users who may not have a lot of technical expertise but who can, with a little help from articles like this, get the best from their equipment. It is written in New Zealand, for NZers, and while the information may be useful in other countries, it is not intended for use outside New Zealand. If you do not yet have a laser printer, or are thinking of buying a new one, please refer to the associated article, "Laser Printers - Choosing the right one for your needs" Your laser printer is designed for easy maintenance and to reliably produce high quality printed pages. By occasionally taking a few minutes to care for your printer you can extend its life, reduce the number of service calls and ensure optimum, trouble free running for many thousands of copies. Site your printer in the right place If you can, place your printer where there is good air flow around it, out of strong light, particularly direct sunlight, and away from other major office equipment. Strong light, especially sunlight, can have two effects. It can increase the operating temperature to the detriment of your printer. Remember that toner is being fused into the paper at a temperature of around 220 degrees Celsius so the inside of your printer is already very hot. Light can "leak" inside the printer affecting the quality of your output. Static electricity from other equipment, such as large photocopiers and certain types of heaters, can cause print quality problems. Keep your printer clean Much damage done to printers comes from an accumulation of dirt and debris. Many electronic failures begin with a dirty printer. Every time you change a toner cartridge clean out the inside of the machine with a lint free cloth to remove toner and paper dust. Don't neglect the outside. Because the laser printing process uses a lot of static electricity dust is attracted to your printer so clean under and around it. Manage your toner All toner cartridges will release some loose toner into the machine (some designs more than others). This is why cleaning is emphasised. Make sure that the print density is set correctly to prevent the machine pulling too much toner into itself. We all like black print but too black can cause a problem. Also it is getting harder to achieve the hard glossy blacks of a few years ago as modern 1200 dpi toner sacrifices black for better gray scale. So you could be increasing the density for very little result other than more toner in your printer. Use good quality paper It's hard to save money on paper!! Cheap paper tends to have a high clay content making it susceptible to swelling (and causing paper jams) in humid weather and in winter. The clay is more abrasive causing greater wear. Find a good quality paper that you are happy with and ignore the specials on paper brands you've never heard of. You will save yourself many paper jams and almost certainly some costly service calls. Have your printer serviced annually If you maintain your printer well then a professional technician should be able to service your machine in 30 to 45 minutes. An annual service and clean will set you up for a trouble free year.