We came across a video this week presented by Elliot Morgan on Mashable entitled “Why Printers Are Awful and Other Mysteries.”
When we saw the title, this was our reaction:
As you’d expect, the title got our danders up. We love printers! So naturally we pressed play. In the clip, an installment of the ‘Mashable Minute’ series that discusses science and tech problems in just 60 seconds, Elliot asks “why does the printer (in the office) never, ever work?” He claims that it’s because “printers are these awful, awful inventions that can’t handle humidity.”
I’m sorry, awful inventions?! (See previous meme for our reaction to this, as well!)
To be fair to Elliot he does make it explicitly aware in the video that he hates printers! And let’s face it, we’ve all experienced travails with our printers at one time or another.
But we did want to touch on his point. It’s true that the humidity in your office, or whichever room it’s located in, can affect your printer.
Yep, really. Even your modern, highly sophisticated printer needs looking after just as much as your older ones. And putting them in rooms that are too dry or muggy can cause them problems.
Humidity is all to do with the amount of water vapour in the air. If there’s lots of it, the humidity is high. That’s when things start to feel sticky. If there’s not enough of it, the humidity is low. This is when it feels really warm and is difficult to cool down.
Just like it makes us feel cranky, different degrees of humidity make things difficult for printers, too.
All that moisture in the air can turn your paper wavy like this:
In laser printers, toner might begin to flake off the page, leaving blank spaces. You might also see pages start sticking together.
In inkjets, where the ink is liquid based, you might start seeing ink going through to other pages or smudges on the page because it can’t dry properly.
With a lack of moisture in the air, paper can actually shrink in the printing process. This will make the text and images on your page look a right mess.
Pages can start sticking together in low humidity as well as high humidity
You might also experience more paper jams as paper tightens in low humdity
Ink on the page may begin to appear faded because it’s not had a chance to set and dry at a decent pace
So what can I do to avoid all this?
No, you don’t have to employ a minion to fan down your printer during the day if it’s in a warm place. It’s all about finding relative humidity.
1. First of all, purchase a hygrometer for the office. They cost as little as £10 and will measure the levels of moisture in the air for you.
2. Use the hygrometer readings to decide whether you should move your printer. Remember, too, that in summer the humidity might be higher and vice versa in the winter, so it’s worth considering whether to move it about at different times of the year.
3. As a general rule of thumb, make your office as well ventilated and heated as possible when you need it to be.
4. Use common sense. It’s really easy to gage when it’s too humid or not.
5. Make sure that you store paper in areas of relative humidity, too. Only open packs when you’re ready to use the paper and keep any spare sheets in something that you can seal up.
So there you go, Elliot Morgan. We hope you hate your printer a little less now you know that it just needs some tender love and care!