Printer maintenance: 3 simple tasks you can do now to extend the life of your printer


There’s no denying how convenient it is to have a printer at home. It’s well worth the money to not have to go to a stationery store, ask a friend, or print at the office.

But like any other device, printers don’t last forever. They require regular maintenance to keep them working optimally. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to extend the life of your printer.

We’ve put together three easy steps for you to do today if you’ve never done it before or if it’s been a long time. Follow these steps and you should be able to keep your printer running for as long as possible. (Do you own a printer from our sponsor Epson? We’ve got you covered, too.)

Check the mouthpiece

This may sound complicated, but it is incredibly simple. You can perform a nozzle check directly from your computer. Go to your printer software utility and perform a nozzle check. (Tap or click here for more details if you have an Epson model.)

Your printer will produce a test page. If the test page has solid print lines, your nozzle is clean and you have nothing to worry about. If the print lines are broken, your print head needs to be cleaned.

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Instructions for checking on your computer vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so check your manufacturer’s website for specific instructions. Print something at least once a month to keep things running smoothly.

Clean your printheads

If your nozzle check comes back bad, you can clean your printheads to extend the life of your printer. This will also make your finished product look better.

Cleaning your printheads ultimately depends on the results of your nozzle check. That means the timeline for how often you should clean it varies. You can also use your printer software utility to perform automatic printhead cleaning.

The instructions vary from printer to printer, so contact your manufacturer for specific instructions.

Dust all nooks and crannies

Just as dust will cover your countertops, it will also collect in your printer. If you let it build up over months or even years, that dust can build up and cause a lot of problems for your printer.

Regular dusting of the inside of your printer will keep dust, grime and various types of schmutz from building up inside. This means it will run smoother – and last longer. You don’t want to be too rough with the interior, though, so clean it with a soft brush or cloth. Use a cotton swab for those hard-to-reach areas.

Bonus tip: make sure your software and drivers are up to date

Every device we own requires regular updates, no matter how tedious it is to keep up. These updates are important because they keep our machines running smoothly and keep hackers and other unpleasant things out of your life.

The same goes for your printer. Check your manufacturer’s website regularly for software updates for your printer. This prevents intruders from using vulnerabilities in your printer to steal your information.

Specific Epson Tips

If you own an Epson printer, such as the EcoTank, these manufacturer’s instructions are specific to your printer. The EcoTank is Kim’s printer of choice. Instead of wasting money on expensive ink cartridges, fill the EcoTank and print thousands upon thousands of pages. Check out Epson EcoTank printers at a Best Buy, OfficeMax or Office Depot near you, or shop online at Epson.com/EcoTankKim.

Performing a Print Head Nozzle Check

You can check your nozzles in two ways. You can use the product control panel or the computer utility method.

Product control panel

Load a few sheets of plain paper into the product. If necessary, press the home button. Press the left or right arrow to select Setup and press the OK button. Press the OK button to select Maintenance. You will see this screen: Press the OK button to select Nozzle Check. Press the start button. The nozzle check pattern is printed. Check the printed pattern to see if there are any gaps in the lines. If there are no gaps, select No and press the OK button. Press the stop button to exit. If there are gaps or the pattern is faded, select Yes and press the OK button to continue. Follow the on-screen instructions to clean the print head, check the nozzles, and repeat the process if necessary.

computer utility

Load a few sheets of plain paper into the product. Do one of the following: Windows: Open the Windows desktop and right-click the product icon in the Windows taskbar. Mac: Select System Preferences from the Apple menu or the Dock. Select Print & Fax, Print & Scan, or Printers & Scanners, choose your product, and click Options & Consumables. Then select Utility and select Open Printer Utility. Select Nozzle Check. Click Print. Check the printed pattern to see if there are any holes in the lines. If there are no holes, click Finish. If there are gaps or if the pattern is faded, clean the print head.

Perform print head cleaning?

Similar to a nozzle check, there are two ways to clean the print head: from the product control panel or the computer utility.

Make sure there are no errors on the LCD screen. Load a few sheets of plain paper into the product. If necessary, press the home button. Then press the left or right arrow to select Setup and press the OK button. Press the OK button to select Maintenance. Press the arrow buttons to select Clean Printhead and press the OK button. Select the start button to start the cleaning cycle. The power light flashes during the cleaning cycle and remains lit when the cleaning cycle is complete. (Caution: Never turn off the product or open the scanner unit during a cleaning cycle or you may not be able to print.) Select Nozzle Check and press the OK button to perform a nozzle check to confirm that the print head is clean .

If you see no improvement after cleaning the printhead up to three times, turn off the product and wait at least 12 hours.

Then check the print head nozzles. If necessary, try cleaning the print head again. If you still don’t see an improvement, contact Epson.

Product control panel

Load a few sheets of plain paper into the product. Do one of the following: Windows: Open the Windows desktop and right-click the product icon in the Windows taskbar. Mac: Select System Preferences from the Apple menu or the Dock. Select Print & Fax, Print & Scan, or Printers & Scanners, select your product, and then select Options & Consumables. Select Utility and select Open Printer Utility. Select Clean Printhead. Click Start to start the cleaning cycle. The power light flashes during the cleaning cycle and remains lit when the cleaning cycle is complete. (Caution: Never turn off the product or open the scanner unit during a cleaning cycle, otherwise you may not be able to print.) When the cleaning cycle is complete, you can check whether the nozzles are clean; click Print Nozzle Check Pattern and click Print. Check the printed pattern to see if there are gaps in the lines. If there are no gaps, click Finish. If there are gaps or if the pattern is faded, click Clean to clean the print head again.

If you see no improvement after cleaning the printhead up to three times, turn off the product and wait at least 12 hours. Then check the printhead nozzles and try cleaning the printhead again if necessary. If the quality still does not improve, contact Epson.

There is nothing worse than replacing a gadget before its time. Follow these steps and they’ll keep your documents looking sharp!

Having your own personal printer is so convenient

You can print receipts, homework, documents and more online from your home office. The only drawback are those expensive ink cartridges. Fortunately, you can say goodbye to that problem with an Epson EcoTank printer.

These powerful printers come with a ridiculous amount of ink in the box. You get enough ink to print no less than 6,000 pages in color. Check out Epson EcoTank printers at a Best Buy, OfficeMax or Office Depot near you, or shop online at Epson.com/EcoTankKim.

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