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When a Cold Winter’s Day Impacts Your Laser Printer

When temperatures drop and the air is dry, you get static electricity, which is the nemesis of technology and equipment. While it may be fun to shuffle across the carpet and shock your friend on the ear, this same static electric shock can wreak havoc on your laser printers and digital copiers – affecting printer runnability and print quality.

How do you know if there is a problem?

Static electricity is a common problem on cold winter days when the humidity is low. If your laser printer is producing streaky outputs, you may have a static issue. In order to make the toner stick to the paper, laser printers charge the paper with particles. If the paper has too much static electricity, the particle transfer can be disrupted, which can result in streaking and even paper jamming.

Consider these options to ensure optimal performance:

  1. To prevent problems (paper delivery, sheet alignment, toner adhesion) relating to static electricity, the most important factor is relative humidity. Keep the relative humidity of the printing environment above 50 percent humidity. To do this, install a humidifier or talk to your HVAC technician.
  2. To help clear your paper of static electricity, you can hold a stack of paper firmly in one hand and fan it out a few times with the thumb and index finger of your other hand. Do this a few times and then immediately place the stack of paper into the printer. If it’s a large commercial printer or you’re doing a big job, you can also use a paper jogger to automate this process.Skip ahead to the 2-minute mark in the video below to see what correct paper fanning looks like:
  1. When new shipments of products (pressure seal forms, carbonless laser paper, synthetic papers) arrive for use in your laser printer or copier, allow the product to acclimate to your print room environment. This will also help alleviate any additional static conditions.
  2. Where and how you store your paper also matters. You should store your paper products in an area with moderate humidity for best results. This will help keep the paper static free.
  3. Make sure your equipment is grounded. This helps your equipment to better handle a static charge and overcome related issues.

If you need more advice and info on how Relyco can help, call us at 800.777.7359 or contact us.

*This blog post was originally published in March 2011 and it was updated on May 29, 2019.

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