Q 1: Some people are reluctant to refill ink cartridges for their computer printers, is there any kind of problem with doing this?
Nine years ago when I first wrote a column about refilling computer printer cartridges, it was like finding a secret underground society which was doing it. At that time, we were brainwashed into thinking if didn’t buy brand new cartridges, we would ruin our machines.
We’ve gotten smarter and more eco-friendly at the same time. Stores selling re-furbished cartridges (for both ink and laser printers) have popped up all over city. You can bring in your old one and get refilled, buy one that’s been re-filled, or buy the inks and learn how to refill them yourselves.
Q 2: What should we know about getting cartridges refilled?
If you replace your ink cartridge with a spare one, don’t just stick it in a drawer until you have a moment to get it replenished, as inks dry out. If you are waiting a day or two to buy another one, put the cartridge along with a moist paper towel into a sealed plastic bag and put it in the fridge (in the bag).
Q 3: When the printer warning light indicates that you are about to run out of ink, how long can you keep using your cartridge?
The low level warning is set at a different level for every printer. Sometimes there is still between 3%-5% of ink left (or more!); There is a little bit of wiggle room. The real test is to look at the print coming out. When it starts to deteriorate, you know you must, at that point, stop using the cartridge.
Don’t keep going until the well runs dry. Many cartridges have their print head right on the cartridge. The ink acts as coolant for that head. If the ink runs out you can damage the head by burning out some of little ink nozzles. If this happens, it is no longer refillable and you must buy a new one.
Q 4: In relation to the replacement of cartridges, what should we think about before purchasing an computer printer?
Not all printer cartridges can be refilled by after-market dealers. Ink companies spend lots time figuring out chemical recipes for each printer. Some printers are not worth the money to develop a particular ink, so after-market cartridges may not be available.
No matter how good a printer deal looks in a flyer, before you buy, find out if that machine’s cartridge is refillable, otherwise you are stuck buying at full price from manufacturer.
Check to find out the page yield of a cartridge. Do the math to see which one is a smarter buy.
Q 5: Where can we go to buy them?
- Cartouche Encore, 4808 Pierrefonds Blvd. Phone: 514-626-3455. Hours: Mon-Wed 9-6, Thurs & Fri 9-7, Sat 10-5. This shop is run by a friendly husband and wife team. They sell new cartridges and refill old ink and laser ones. The company uses quality OCP inks from Germany, which come in about 170 different viscosities, in order to be able to match the needs of different printers. They test print them and replace broken cartridge components after performing a stress test.
- I-matek, 539 Lepine Ave. Dorval. This was the first store I found in the city re-filling cartridges. You can save 80% on the cost of ink jet printer cartridges (Epson, Lexmark, Canon, HP, Brother) by learning how to fill them yourselves. Refilling costs less than $10. They will teach you how to do it and sell you kit. They can refill your ink or laser cartridges. www.i-matek.ca
- Micro-Jet Technologies, 5484 Sherbrooke St. W. You can bring yours in or buy new already re-cycled laser & ink-jet cartridges (Brother, HP, Lexmark, Canon, Epson) or you can buy kits to do it yourself. They can special order any cartridge yo may need.