Like other office equipment, an office printer can suffer malfunctions. And since plenty of office processes rely on hard copies of documents, a broken printer can disrupt regular workflow. This can lead to delays in completing or even starting various tasks, affecting productivity and potentially causing missed deadlines. However, with a little guidance, most problems that office printers develop are fixable without professional help. This article will look at common issues with office printers and their fixes.
Understanding the Common Office Printer Problems and Their Fixes
Several problems can arise with an office printer, some of which are technical and others deriving from human error. Depending on the nature of the problem, the printer may produce poor-quality documents or fail to work at all. Below are common issues that office printers can develop and how to fix them.
Paper Blockage or Obstruction
As the name suggests, a paper blockage, also called a paper jam, arises when sheets of paper get stuck in the rollers of the office printer. It can happen for various reasons.
One is using paper types that don’t match the printer’s specifications, for example, paper that is too thin or thick papers. The other is the operator failing to align the papers properly when inserting them in the tray, causing the printer to pull the paper through incorrectly. Finally, problems can occur if there is dust or foreign objects in the printer, such as torn pieces of paper, clips, or staple pins.
When any of this happens, some users assume pulling the paper out quickly is the solution. However, this may only worsen the problem as pieces of paper can get stuck in other components. Instead, the best approach is to turn off the printer and open the cover and tray to access the paper path. While disengaging paper from the paper path, pull the papers out carefully to prevent tearing.
Next, inspect the printer and clear any dust or foreign material. Afterwards, reload the paper correctly and try printing again. If this doesn’t fix the issue, you might need to contact a professional.
Streaks on Paper
An office printer that leaves streaks or lines on paper makes a document unpresentable and unreadable. This can happen because of several issues in the machine, including:
- Issue with ink cartridge or toner: When the ink or toner level is low, the printing will be uneven. To resolve this, replace empty or low cartridges with new ones as soon as possible. Also, ensure you’ve aligned the ink cartilage correctly.
- Dirty print head or toner drum: If you use an inkjet printer, it’ll make lines and strikes when the printhead becomes dirty or clogged. Similarly, a laser printer will leave streaks and lines when the toner drum is dirty. Cleaning these components according to manufacturers’ specifications can help fix the issue.
The Printer Failing to Print
Sometimes, you might program a large project for the office printer only to find it completely unresponsive. This problem mostly occurs because of failure to connect the printer to a suitable power source. However, if you’ve powered the printer and the issues persist, it indicates there are other underlying issues.
Usually, the printer gives an error message detailing the exact nature of the printing issue. Also, it might recommend troubleshooting methods. Common reasons for printing errors are:
- Lack of connection: In a networked printer, the lack of connection between the printer and the network can cause printing failures. The troubleshooting tactics for network issues include restarting the router, ensuring you’ve connected the printer to the right network, and reinstalling the printer in the computer network.
- Too many tasks in the queue: When there are multiple jobs sent to the spooler at the same time, the printer memory may malfunction. In this case, you’ll need to clear the unneeded printing jobs from the queue. If the queue fails to clear, reboot the printer.
Each printer has its inherent printing speed. However, the speed can decrease over time because of various reasons. One of them is outdated print drivers.
Usually, print drivers automatically receive updates to keep them operating optimally. If you’ve not updated your printer drivers with the newest ones, incompatibility issues will arise. As a result, the printer won’t be able to communicate efficiently with the network, resulting in slow performance. To resolve this problem, update the drivers and optimize them to meet your office printing needs.
The other issue that makes an office printer slow is too many applications and processes running in the background. These background activities consume system resources needed in printing. While printing, close the unnecessary background processes.
Text or Image Shadowing
Image or text shadowing, also called ghosting, refers to the faint secondary text or images that appear a few inches from the original content in a printed document. It happens when the fuser unit is unable to reach the right temperature to bond the toner to the paper. Also, it can occur because the wrong voltage has been set for your paper type.
The solution to this problem is checking the fuser unit for any visible damage and replacing it if necessary. Also, make sure the printer’s settings match the paper type you’re using because each paper type requires different fuser temperatures.
How to Keep an Office Printer in Shape
Without proper care, an office printer will keep breaking down. The result is increased downtime and an unproductive staff. One way to avoid this is to ensure every staff member is taking the right care when using the printer. Some of the best practices for maintaining an office printer include:
- Loading the paper tray to the required level. Each printer has a fill level marked on the tray. Sticking to this requirement prevents regular paper jams.
- Keep the office printer clean. All parts of the printer, including paper trays, scanner glass, print heads, and fuser units, accumulate dirt. You should clean them regularly to maintain the printing quality. When cleaning, however, it’s crucial to stick to the manufacturer’s specifications to avoid causing damage.
- Use the recommended toner for your office printer. Manufacturers design printers to work with specific types of toners. Using toners that are not suitable for your printer can cause damage.
- Allow the printer to warm up if it’s been idle for a while. This prevents straining the printer when it’s not ready to begin operation.
Keep Your Office Printer Working Optimally
Being able to fix basic office printer issues can save your business lots of time and increase productivity. However, when an office printer breaks down often, it might be a sign it needs to be replaced. If you’re looking for a reliable office printer, Docutrend is here to help you pick one that matches your office needs. Contact us today if you’re in New York, Totowa, Cherry Hill, Edison, or Ft. Washington.