Cold Weather Printing

I was talking to our friends over at Red River Paper about cold weather challenges for photographers and they reminded me that this time of year they get a lot of questions about paper curling and creating printer feed and print quality issues. They wrote about this issue and have allowed me to share it with you on our blog. 

Paper Curling? The Problem

The temperatures are dropping around the country as winter hits with full force. To maintain a comfortable environment, we turn up those thermostats and increase the output of warm, dry air into our homes and offices.

Though many people have humidifiers for relief from the dryness, most do not. This can result in a number of inkjet printer problems.

The Reason

All papers retain a small amount (3-5%) of moisture to prevent them from being brittle. Most paper is manufactured in a moisture environment of 45-55%. If the air surrounding the paper falls to a level of 25-35% from our office and home heating, it will attempt to regain balance by losing some of its moisture content. Many Red River inkjet papers are only coated for printing on one side or have different coatings on front and back. When the paper loses or gains water, one side of the paper can flex more than the other resulting in curl and static problems.

The result is curled sheets of inkjet paper that will not feed consistently in your printer. Papers that are printable on one side experience the greatest change in curl as the humidity changes.

Some Solutions

By using a small room humidifier where you print, a lot of feeding problems in the winter can be avoided. An improvement of only 10% from 28% to 38% can make a big difference.

Static (which causes sheets of paper to stick together) can be reduced by rubbing fabric softener sheets on the paper before feeding. Although this may sound strange, printing press operators have been doing this trick for years.

You can learn more about printing in the Red River Paper website. And while you're there, check out their selection of outstanding inkjet papers. They are awesome.