How to keep your laser from getting lazy

Keeping your laser printer humming along nicely year-round isn’t all that hard, but there are a few critical tips to remember in order to cut down on emergency breakdowns. Stewart Young, president and owner, Greenpoint Laser Products Inc., of Scarborough, Ont., provides us with five ways to avoid such troubles:

  • Neat freaks: The best way to ensure smooth laser printing operations is to schedule regular cleanings, either quarterly or bi-annually. Get a proper technician in though; don’t allow anyone inside the machinery who isn’t qualified. “Often consumers can do more damage than good if they start poking around,” says Young “Simply by putting a vacuum cleaner in there if they think they can suck the toner out, they can blow the boards because of the static. They shouldn’t be cleaning them themselves.” Performing the printer maintenance as scheduled by your printer manufacturer will also help prevent problems so you’re not left hanging at the last minute. “Customers that tend to have regular professional maintenance done tend to have way fewer problems and are less often stuck on a Friday wanting to print something when it’s totally impossible to get someone to come out there,” adds Young.
  • Pickup lines: One of the most common faults with laser printers is that they can start picking up multiple pages. If they do, probably all you need are new pickup rollers, and these are fairly easy to exchange. They’re also very inexpensive. Changing them will save you “piles of aggravation down the road,” says Young.
  • The third element: Exchanging worn fusers is another common laser printer maintenance activity. The fuser is the heating element, and it melts the toner onto the paper. However, it’s way back in the printer, it’s very hot, and unfamiliar users should not be touching it.
  • Toned up: Obviously toner cartridges need to be replaced as they run out. Young suggests that dealing with a recycled toner cartridge supplier can be an easy way of securing regular – and possibly less expensive – maintenance and service calls, because often service is free or very inexpensive if you’re already a customer. “Dealing with a reputable company that is there, service-wise, to stand behind the product, means they’re going to be there a lot faster than, say, dealing directly with HP or a dealer. If you go through a dealer who is buying from the manufacturer you’re dealing with two or three hands before you’re even close to getting your problem solved,” he adds.
  • Cheap paper chase:Another practice that can cause a lot of problems is the use of cheap paper. Buying no-name paper and paying $32, instead of paying $37 for a box of better quality paper, might seem like a good way to save money but it isn’t, warns Young. You may get 10 boxes, run 50,000 pages through the printer and save yourself $50 but “you’re going to end up spending $200 on a service bill because of the paper chafing that comes off the cheap paper.” This white powder build-up “gums up everything” and eventually burns out your fuser. It also makes for poor printing, says Young.

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