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Did you know that there are two expiration dates on Epson Aqueous inks?

Epson says that their inks are produced with very tight process control standards. They are formulated by a team of more than 200 color specialists! These inks are rated to be colorfast for more than 200 years. So why do you need to worry about the expiration dates?

The reality is that expired inks can make a printer unstable. The amount of variation is noticeable in many cases.   

Brand new printers with fresh ink tend to print very consistently, with variation only noticeable on about 5% of the colors. Expired inks can increase that variation between 10% and 20%. 

When I say expired inks, I’m also talking about a second expiration date. After you install Epson inks and break the seal, Epson recommends that you replace that ink in six months. Yes, six months! Even if the expiration on the packaging says you have one more year, once the seal is broken, you really only have six months. 

My field troubleshooting has shown that expired inks are the cause of many noticeable increases in printer variability. I test this by measuring a printer’s output two or three times and then comparing the measurements to each other. If the comparisons show high variations between prints I know it’s one of two things: nozzle clogs or expired ink. Nozzle clogs are very common and are usually the culprit for color variations. They are also very easy to test by printing a nozzle check pattern. If all the nozzles are printing and they look good, the issue is probably expired ink.

Replacing the ink with new ink and flushing out the expired ink usually returns the printer to a stable printing condition. Again, I run out two to three prints and measure them to confirm the printer is stable again.

Knowing this, the best way to avoid this issue is to buy smaller ink cartridges and keeps track of when you change them. If you are not using up the ink in 6 months, keep a close eye on the color to make sure you are not getting unwanted variations.

If you suspect this is happening on your printer, Alder is happy to help.