Users have to face a number of problems while using printers. But the most common problem encountered by users is the printer cartridges drying out. Inkjet cartridges can be expensive. And if you encounter they are drying out frequently, it may force you into buying the consumables way too often leading to wastage of money. Not just money but a dried out ink cartridge may even ruin your prints. To avoid such situation it is important that you find out the causes that make the printer cartridges to dry out. So here is a list of the causes – learn them and prevent your bottom line from falling behind.
1. Infrequent use of printer cartridges
Ink in the ink cartridges is made up of a number of chemicals including humectants that decelerate premature drying. However, if the ink cartridges are used occasionally, the ink can dry up within a couple of months. The infrequent use of printer cartridges is the most common cause.
Take for instance that you have several printers in your office. But one of them is used rarely. Then the ink cartridge sitting your printer will be at risk for drying out. If the printer is not operated for several months the ink in the cartridge may dry up and become clogged.
Hence, to avoid the ink from drying out, make sure you print regularly, at least once a week. Some printer professional recommend that even if the printer cartridge is used once in a month you can prevent it from clogging or drying out. It is important to note that in some inkjet printers even if the head of the cartridge is capped it cannot save the ink from drying out. If you seldom use the printer, make a habit of printing a test page and cleaning the nozzles at regular intervals. This will ensure that your printer and the printer cartridges are performing at its best.
2. Improper Storage
Another main cause behind the drying out of ink cartridges is improper storage. Lack of knowledge regarding how inkjet cartridges must be stored can lead to such problems. There are two crucial points that determine the healthy lifespan of a printer cartridge:
1. Position – When storing the ink cartridges, it is important they are placed upright. As this helps the ink to settle at the bottom of the cartridge, leaving breathable space that allows the ink to pass through the sponge (present at the top) smoothly. In case the printer cartridge is stored on its sides, it is possible that the ink may settle at the top of the cartridge which leads to blurry or streaky prints and dried-out ink.
2. Temperature – Like many other consumer products such as some perishable foods, temperature plays a huge role in maintaining the consumables efficiency and performance. If an ink cartridge is stored at extremely high or low temperatures, the ink will rapidly dry out. Therefore, ensure the printer cartridge is stored at room temperatures. Also, it is important to remember that the cartridges should be stored in a cool and dry place that is well-ventilated and away from direct sunlight. You should avoid keeping them near a hot sunny window or inside a hot car. Furthermore, during the summers and winters if you are using heaters and air conditioning up too high, ensure this doesn’t affect your printer cartridges.
In case you will not be using the ink cartridges installed in the printer for more than a month, it is best that you remove the cartridges out of the machine and store them away. While storing, gently wipe the printhead on each cartridge to clean the ink buildup. Now you can place them in a resealable plastic bag with a damp paper towel and store as per the details discussed above.
3. Refilled Printer Cartridges
Many people tend to use refilled ink cartridges instead of replacing them due to their low cost. But you should know that if the ink cartridges are not filled correctly, it can lead to air entering the cartridge, drying up the ink and clogging the nozzle heads. Refilling a printer cartridge is a meticulous task that often requires a professional person to do it. Therefore, you should ensure that if you are using a refilled cartridge, the ink is refilled by a professional.
4. Unclean Cartridge Heads
If the printheads on the ink cartridge are not properly cleaned it may lead to drying out of the cartridge and clogging of the printheads. This is one of the common causes of unclear prints. Today, some of the inkjet printers are equipped with automatic printhead cleaning facility. In case you have such printer you need not worry about the cleaning of the head. But the users who own a printer that requires manual cleaning, they can soak the affected cartridge in a small bowl of warm water and remove the dried-out ink with the help of a cotton swab or paper towel. After this step is done wipe the cartridge with a soft dry cloth. It is good to wear gloves before performing the cleaning. Also, before you install the printer cartridge in the printer to ensure that it is completely dry.
Many first-time users are unaware of the fact that ink cartridges also come with an expiration date. If the inkjet cartridges are used after the expiration date has passed, that may lead to issues with printing. The expiration date is one the causes of cartridges getting clogged and drying out. So before you purchase the printer cartridges make sure to check the expiry dates.
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As mentioned, refilled cartridges are one of the main causes behind the drying out of ink. Yet, if you replace the refilled cartridges with compatible ink cartridges they can serve you with better efficiency and performance at almost the same price. It is always better to spend few pounds in buying something professionally guaranteed rather than spending pennies on buying something risky.
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