would the modern office be without a printer? With so many in the
market now there is always more than one model to choose from to
handle your printing needs. Most of us look for the most compatible
and affordable model, take them home or to the office and hook them
up to a desktop or network to serve several computers. While
printers are user friendly machines, they are still machines with
moving parts operating with liquids. Some models even produce a
considerable amount of heat when printing. What most people tend to
overlook is safety for the printer itself, for the people it serves,
and for the environment. Let us take a look at some printer safety
tips that will help keep your office or home a "printer safe" place
Securing the Printer
Let's say you just bought a new printer for your home or
office - the first thing you'll be thinking about is where to put
it. The easy thing to do is to place it right beside your computer
if you're the only user, or on a stand or shelf where the printer if
it is to be connected to a network. If you are planning on placing
the printer on the same workspace as your computer or laptop, you
should ensure that all wiring is neatly tucked away. The last thing
you would want is someone tripping over a USB cable or power cable,
dragging the printer to the floor along with everything else. The
same can be said for the laptop or desktop PC on your table - keep
all cables secure.
The desktop is where most personal printers find themselves in
homes and offices around the world. But you may think twice about
getting personal with that printer when you learn that some studies
have shown that laser printers emit particulate matter into the air
while printing. The particulate matter comes from the toner of the
printer which is the ink that sticks to the paper. Since particulate
matter that was never meant for inhalation isn't good for you, you
may want to relocate that laser printer near an open window or
better yet leave the room while you're printing. Even if you don't
own a laser printer, relocating your printer to a separate location
will free up your workspace and you'll be less distracted from your
job while the printer is doing its' job.
Be sure your surface is suitable for your printer.
Both to handle
its weight, and vibration, without causing mishap.
Purchasing a dedicated printer stand is a good idea if you
regularly print a lot of pages. Your desk will no longer have the
vibrations normally associated with desktop printers and you will
also be able to store your printer paper in a more convenient
location - with the printer. Most printer stands are portable
allowing you to move the printer to any location in your home or
office and some models have space for a fax machine - another
machine that should be moved off your table!
Printer toner or ink, as it is commonly called, comes in a
variety of colors and uses. Most are for paper while some are for
plastic such as acetate sheets or specialty paper. Regardless of the
application, ink should be disposed of properly and never ingested.
Ink should never be poured down a sink or handled with bare hands.
Ink may contain substances which can irritate the eyes and skin. It
should be washed off immediately when you or a pet comes into
contact with it. Empty ink cartridges can be returned to the
manufacturer for recycling or reuse and you can also dispose of
cartridges in the "green" recyclable garbage.
As with all electronic equipment, a printer consumes
electricity. The amount depends on how often you or your office
prints documents, but with all modern printers the power consumption
isn't that much. Even so, it's a good idea to enable the sleep
function on your computer if it isn't already enabled. This function
allows the printer to switch-off after a few minutes of inactivity.
Some printers allow you to configure how long the printer will wait
before it will go into sleep mode. To wake up the printer, simply
send it a print job and it starts up automatically.
Take care with your printer's electrical power
More inexpensive printers use much lower cost components, including
connectors, that can become damaged.
You can keep a printer plugged in all day and inkjet printer
manufacturers recommend that you use the sleep function of the
printer instead of unplugging it when not in use. The reason for
this is because inkjet cartridges have a capping mechanism that
covers the cartridge head preventing it from drying up. Unplugging
the printer turns-off this mechanism which may lead to cartridges
prematurely drying up before the ink is fully consumed. As with any
electrical equipment, always plug the printer into a properly
grounded and fused outlet to protect both you and your printer.
At anytime during the life of your printer, you'll have to
perform some sort of maintenance to keep it running smoothly. If you
need to replace the printer ink or toner, it's a good idea to allow
some printers a few minutes of inactivity before opening the cover
of the ink cartridge. A printer that has just printed a load of
documents may generate some heat, so some inactivity will allow
things to cool off. When replacing the cartridge remember to seat it
properly and don't replace any cartridges that aren't completely
empty yet. Most printers need to remain powered when replacing the
ink cartridge so never place any metal objects inside the printer
while replacing ink and keep any liquids away.
Inject printers are especially fragile now.
Always exercise care
when changing cartridges are unjamming your printer.
Cleaning the printer is usually a more regular activity than
replacing ink. There are care and cleaning tips in your printers'
manual, outlining how to properly clean a printer. Most manuals
instruct owners to use a clean soft cloth when wiping the exterior.
The cloth can be dampened with water but never soaking wet. Other
liquids such as alcohol should be avoided as these can discolor the
body of the printer. There are some cleaning products specifically
for use on printers, but these should be used with care. Contact the
manufacturer of your printer if you're not sure about using a
particular cleaning product on your printer.
Norbert John C. Emata
Staff Technology Writer