How to Prepare Your Printer Fleet and Supplies for Cold Weather


Feel that? The chill is settling in, which can only mean that winter is finally here. The year is winding down, the holidays are coming, and the office must adapt to the cold.

Even those who like the cold weather know that their equipment might not. Especially for electronics like printers and copiers, or consumables like ink and toner, temperature control is critical.

This takes the famous concept of the office “thermostat wars” from a matter of personal preference to a matter of strategic business decision making.

Luckily, old man winter isn’t shuffling through the halls at full force (or full frigid) just yet – there’s still time to prepare the print fleet and supplies for the season.

Be Mindful of Room Temperature for Ink and Toner Storage

Everyone has their own preferred temperature for the workplace. For the person whose body feels like a natural heater, lower is better. For those who wear a hoodie in summer, cranking up the heat is the way to happiness.

OSHA recommends a temperature setting of 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit. But this isn’t just to keep everyone in the workplace content or somewhere close to it. It’s also important for storing consumables like ink and toner.

Excessive cold temperatures can impact the consistency of ink and toner, making them useless to your print fleet and resulting in wasted money. Cold temperatures can also cause freezing and expansion, which can damage loaded cartridges and the device they’re in.

It’s best to check with the supplier about specific recommendations. Then make sure to store supplies at a location that’s relatively open, so they aren’t deprived of the proper temperature to keep them in a usable state.

Don’t Let Static Hurt You or Your Printer Fleet

While the standard static electric shock won’t hurt a person badly, the same can’t be said for electric equipment.

Even the most robust printer fleet can become damaged by a static shock. This small oversight can sometimes compromise an entire device.

While smart device management can sometimes alert people to problems with their print fleet especially if a unit goes down, there are a few ways to avoid this problem altogether.

  • When in Doubt, Discharge: It may hurt, but touching something metal such as a table or chair can discharge any static electricity a person has built up while shuffling across the office carpet on a winter day. Better a minor annoyance than a hardware malfunction, right?
  • Use Anti-Static Mats: Or avoid both the annoyance and print fleet damage by using anti-static mats. Place them in areas underneath and around printers, copiers, and other They should be anywhere a person would be standing when they touched an at-risk device.
  • Keep Moderate Humidity Levels: Most people are weary about high humidity levels because of the impact this moisture can have on electronics. However, low humidity can make static shocks more likely. Moderate humidity (roughly 40-60%) functions like a barrier, as water molecules coat surfaces to reduce friction.

With a few simple precautions, it’s possible to avoid the mildly painful and majorly disruptive problem that is static electricity. Just as a backup, it’s wise to have a good servicing option for office hardware just in case.

Laser Printers May Need to “Warm Up” a Little Longer

Anything with moving parts will appreciate a little extra time to warm up before getting to work.

It’s the same reason why a person lets their car’s engine run for a few minutes when the temperature drops, or why a person is slow to get going when they get out of bed on a cold morning.

Laser printers should always be allowed to warm up to room temperature before they’re switched on. If the office keeps a lower heat setting at night than during work hours, give the equipment time to feel the heat before it’s time to get to work.

Stay Warm (and Productive) During Cold Weather

Cold weather can’t stop a productive business from being productive. It may require them to make some adjustments, but it’s the business equivalent of bundling up and salting the stairs.

By investing in the right equipment and taking the proper steps, any company can keep their output as high as the office’s thermostat all through the winter season.

We at Virginia Business Systems help you during cold weather, warm weather, and anything in between. With a product catalog that includes HP copiers and printers, plus document and network management services, we help you get and maintain the equipment and supplies you need to succeed. Reach out today to learn more.

December 14th 2020