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Humidity and Printers


What is humidity?


Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air and can be described in different ways, including “relative humidity” –the term used most often in weather information intended for the public.  Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air compared with the amount of vapor needed to make the air saturated at the air’s current temperature.


How humidity affects laser printing


Humidity levels contribute to the overall print quality and performance in laser printers.  These levels vary from printer model to printer model and, depending upon the moisture content in the media and in the air they will directly affect print quality and performance.


This phenomenon is not specific to Xerox printers, but is a limitation of all laser printers.


The most frequent problems can be caused by low ambient humidity conditions (cold, dry weather) or high ambient humidity conditions (hot, wet weather).


Print quality defects common to low levels of humidity:


·         Light or faded, washed-out prints

·         Light areas of banding

·         Ghosted image or reoccurring text on the same page


Print quality defects common to elevated levels of humidity:


·         Over-saturation of color content

·         Areas of offsetting where the toner peels off the page

·         Media sticking together causing multi-picking


What to do about humidity


Office printer manufactures often recommend that you operate your equipment in an environment with humidity levels between 20% and 80%--preferably somewhere in the middle range.  But this will depend upon your individual circumstances, office environment, and your printer’s manufactured operation specification.


Sometimes testing the humidity in your office can help too.  This can be done with a humidity gauge (available at many hardware or electronics stores).  This can be helpful in determining the cause for your continued print quality problems.