As requested, here are the main ways to avoid blocking the heads on you inkjet printer:
1) Print regularly – if you leave a printer unused for a period of time, the ink starts to dry out in the heads so try and print something in colour at least once per week
2) Never take cartridges out of a printer for more than a few minutes. On many models this exposes the heads to air and the ink will start to dry immediately. With Epson printers this can ruin a printer very quickly indeed.
3) Try not to leave a printer with empty cartridges installed (for the same reason as above)
4) Switch the printer off at the power button first before pulling the plug out (the printer goes through a mini head-cleaning procedure before shutting down and this reduces the chances of getting blocked heads)
5) Try to avoid running cartridges completely dry before changing them. This is a little out of your hands as the printer estimates when a cartridge is empty. The idea is that a little bit of ink is left in the cartridge so that no air gets into the ink line but sometimes the printer gets this calculation wrong. The first you should know that a cartridge needs replacing should be the message from the printer and not a deterioration in print quality. If the quality drops first then air is already in the line and this can be a pain to correct! If this happens a lot then try keeping an eye on the cartridge levels and changing them a little earlier.
6) Try not to keep the printer near a heat source (like a radiator) or in front of window in direct sunlight. This will heat the printer up (especially since many models are black) and bake the heads
7) The same for the cartridges – don’t leave them in direct light or near a heat source
In the next ‘Tips and Tricks’ – what to do if you already have blocked heads.
The Ink Squid