Regular cleaning and maintenance will go a long way toward extending the life of your printer. In general, your printer will not require much maintenance, but you should make it a practice to clean the outside whenever you replace the ink cartridge. Simply wipe it with a damp cloth, but be careful that no moisture gets inside the printer and be sure to disconnect the power before starting. If necessary, use a soft brush or a computer vacuum cleaner to remove lint and dust from the sheet feeder and paper path.
Placing a cover over the printer when it is not in use is a good idea in order to keep dust and foreign particles away from the print heads. Some ink residue may build up inside the housing. This is common and may be removed with a damp cloth. Never use alcohol, solvents or other cleaners as they may damage the printer. Also, do not use any lubricant on the metal rod that the print cartridge moves on. It is normal for the cradle to make noise when it is in motion.
On and Off
This may seem like a basic thing, turning a printer on and off… How can that be a
problem? It isn’t unless you turn it on and off from a power strip. Never do that. When you turn a printer off, it parks the heads in a very specific place. Shutting the printer down from a power strip may by pass the normal shut down procedure and the heads may not be parked properly. This can lead to the head drying out and becoming clogged.
If you use your printer on a daily basis, just leave it on. This is not a waste of energy as the printer uses minimal power in stand-by mode. You should turn the printer off if it is not going to be used for a few days. However, your printer
does work best when used regularly so it is recommended that you turn the printer on and make a small number of prints at least every seven to ten days.
Print Head Cleaning
Clogged print heads is one of the most common problems with ink jet printers. Typically, you’ll see streaks of colors or missing lines where ink did not penetrate the page. Cleaning the inkjet cartridges themselves may also improve the performance of your printer by correcting missing lines or dots and eliminating streaks on the paper. On Epson printers you can clean the print head in two ways:
1. On the printer - There is a cleaning button on the front of the printer (check your manual for the exact placement). Hold it down for three seconds and the unit will start the cleaning cycle.
2. Software - There is a head-cleaning utility built into the software that came with your Epson printer. For PCs, you may access it through the printer driver. Right-click on the printer icon in the Windows taskbar (or get to it through the Start menu, Settings, and Printers) and select Head Cleaning. For Macs, open the file menu and choose Page Setup or Print. Click the Utility and Head-Cleaning buttons and follow the on-screen instructions.
Whichever technique you choose, the printer will make some noise while it works. This is normal. The green power light will also flash while it is working. Be sure not to turn the printer off while it is cleaning the heads.
Once completed, you should use the head-cleaning utility to check the nozzles. Click on Print nozzle check pattern, then Print. If the resulting printed page is streaky, try cleaning again. If you do this a few times and it is still streaky, try turning the printer off and letting it sit overnight. This allows the dried ink to soften. Try cleaning it again the following day. You may also want to replace the ink cartridge. Be careful not to leave the cartridges lying out for more than 30 minutes, or the heads will dry up and the cartridges will be unusable.
Aligning the Print Head
You will only need to align the head if your prints show vertical lines that don’t connect. To align the print heads do the following:
Open the Printer Utilities, select print Print Head Adjustment, and follow the instructions on-screen.
For more information about cleaning your printer or aligning the print head, refer to your printer's user manual.
Original Source: Care 4 Your Printer Part 1
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