Background shading, incorrect colours and other print quality issues can be related to the weather and the environment in which your printer operates and your paper is stored. Humidity is more than the enemy of your hairstyle and static cling, it can adversely affect your print quality too.

Humidity can increase background shading on prints, cause curling of the output, and possibly cause paper jams, just to name a few issues that can be impacted by the humidity. With colour printers, environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, and variations in paper types all affect a printer’s ability to produce accurate colour consistently.

Generally, a humidity level lower than 20% Relative Humidity (RH) or higher than 80% RH will affect print quality and can increase the amount of background shading on prints. Make sure the printer operating environment is within specifications to ensure optimal print quality.

Another consideration is the paper.

Paper is very sensitive to moisture and the humidity levels within which it is stored. When paper is manufactured, most manufacturers produce paper to strict quality standards including a well-regulated level of humidity between 25-50%. The paper is then carefully sealed into packaging that contains a special lining for maintaining the humidity level of the paper for as long as it is properly stored. It is then loaded into cases and onto wooden pallets with an even surface for shipping to the customer. Paper shipped in this condition is perfect for Xerographic applications, but the freshness of the paper is dependent upon its storage conditions when stored, waiting to be used.

Since paper is made of wood fibres, it exhibits similar behaviours to other paper products such as paper towels. Paper that is improperly handled or stored can be subject to excess moisture from the atmosphere, which can cause the paper to increase in size, warp, curl, stick together or cause issues with toner adhering to the paper.

How does your environment measure up?

Print quality issues affected by humidity can be common during months of extreme temperatures, either hot or cold. Air conditioners and heaters can dry the air, significantly reducing the RH level in the printer’s environment.

Make sure to consider the environment your printer will be operating in and your paper will be stored in to make sure the conditions are conducive to the best quality prints. The MPS Team can provide info and support regarding multifunction printers that have specific parameters for environmental specifications. Who knew that humidity could have such an effect on printing?

Via, Weather and Print Quality by Cheryl Otstott, 2019.