We always alert our customers to Epson print head problems during the Winter when heating systems deplete the moisture in the air and turn Epson printers into ungrateful beasts of burden! UGH! Without moist air, the print head surface dries quickly and the result is missing nozzles and banding.
But, the Summer – even though it can be a time of greater humidity outside – is often a time of dry studios inside because of reliance on air conditioning.
Air conditioners remove moisture from the air. Therefore, Summer can be one of the most frustrating times to use Epson printers.
Epson recommends an environment of between 40% and 60% relative humidity. We notice whether we are using Epson inks or ConeColor inks – that once humidity falls below the 30% range or lower, we need to perform more head cleanings.
I wrote last year that I like the big Honeywell humidifiers. I purchased two of the large Honeywell QuietCare 11-Gallon Console Humidifiers to take care of the main studio. We find that in order to keep the humidity at 40% we must replace the water twice in a 24 hour period (this varies from day to day only to some degree). We are putting more than 40 gallons of water in the air each day in a closed studio of of only 1200 square feet (10 foot ceilings).
We monitor the relative humidity with a digital gauge called the Caliber III Thermometer Hygrometer. There are many similar devices and you can buy them in cigar shops or gardening centers. They have a basic function of temperature and humidity.
A humidifier and a digital hygrometer are two of the best “tips” we can give you for surviving this Summer as a digital printmaker using Epson and Roland printers (both use similar head technologies).