Having backup toner cartridges is essential for offices that print high volumes on a regular basis. For users that do not print as much, ordering new cartridges when toner starts to run low may be sufficient. Since toner cartridges have a shelf life of around 2 years, it is important to manage your orders so that they don’t expire before you are able to use them. Buying in bulk can save money, but small offices could end up throwing away unused cartridges if they order too many.
When extra backup cartridges are needed, storing them properly will help prolong their shelf life and ensure that they are in good condition when they are needed. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
Keep Cartridges in the Package
Keep toner cartridges in their original packaging until needed to protect them from acquiring any dust or other debris that could be lingering in the office. If the cartridge is exposed to the elements, it could get clogged or damaged enough to diminish the quality of prints. Some users might consider unwrapping packages ahead of time to make them quicker and easier to install, but this is not a good idea.
Keep Cartridges Out of the Sun
Excessive sun exposure can damage and potentially ruin a toner cartridge. It could melt the plastic or contaminate the toner. Store cartridges away from windows, where they will encounter direct sunlight, and keep them in the package for added protection. An open cartridge is particularly sensitive to light, as the drum can be damaged by prolonged exposure. Install the cartridge shortly after opening it to avoid this issue.
Keep Cartridges Dry
Toner cartridges exposed to water will likely be damaged, so keep them away from water coolers and other sources of liquids. Cartridges that are still in their packaging can be stored in humidity up to about 85%, but avoid keeping them in locations with higher humidity.
Keep Cartridges at Room Temperature or Below
Cartridges can be stored in temperatures of up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit and down to around 35 degrees. For best results, however, they should be stored at room temperature of 68 to 78 degrees. Some believe that the toner powder is likely to melt at higher room temperatures, due to the way the toner is melted by the fuser in the printer. The fuser temperature is generally more than 200 degrees, though, so it is unlikely that an office will reach this temperature without a few complaints from the workers!
The best strategy for maintaining your toner cartridges is to order replacements at such a rate that they will be used before they expire. By following the guidelines above, however, you should ensure that your cartridges will have a shelf life of at least 2 years, and be in great shape when you need them. Now that you have a grasp on how to store your cartridges properly, see our tips on Preventative Paper Care to make sure you are storing your paper supply correctly as well.