Copiers are far from perfect machines. From time to time, you’ll encounter issues with your printer. Most of these potential problems are easily solved or covered by a full-service guarantee. However, one all-too-common issue can’t wait for technicians to arrive: the paper jam.
Paper jams in the office printer delay everyone, waste perfectly good paper, often smear ink everywhere, and cause all sorts of nuisances. Fortunately, this issue is not only relatively simple to fix, but also quite easy to avoid in the first place. Let’s take a look at how you can prevent or fix a paper jam.
How to Fix a Paper Jam
If you’re dealing with a paper jam right now, chances are you aren’t interested in preventive measures. You need an immediate solution, after all! Let’s look at how to fix a paper jam first.
Look for a button labeled “paper release” or “paper jam”. Consult the manual if you can’t find one. Many office printers have the built-in capability to clear paper jams on their own. If this doesn’t work or you can’t find the button, reboot the printer. Sometimes the restart cycle clears any paper jams. (This also ensures that the printer won’t continue giving you an error message if there’s no longer a paper jam.)
If the printer is still jammed, look at the readout for any details in the error message. Follow any instructions on the screen or in the manual as you open up the printer. (Note: ALWAYS turn the printer off before opening it up!) Remove any excess paper from the tray and look for any paper wadded up in the machine. Once you find the jam, unplug the printer completely and let it cool down so you don’t burn yourself. Carefully remove the paper jam, doing your best not to tear it. Finally, clean the printer’s interior as best you can before closing it all back up. When you reboot the printer, the error message should be gone.
Preventing Another Paper Jam in Your Printer
Fixing a paper jam is a long and complex process. Before you have to put yourself through all that work again, consider what preventive measures you can take. Keep the printer clean and all its parts up-to-date and installed correctly. Schedule regular maintenance visits or inspections. And of course, be careful how you load the printer! Improperly loaded input trays cause an alarming amount of paper jams. Keep the natural bend of all your printer paper lined up and never overload the tray.
Pro Tip: Adding too much printer paper to the tray increases your chances of dealing with a paper jam. Always stay below the recommended maximum amount.
Pay Attention to Your Printer Paper
The quality and condition, or lack thereof, of your printer paper can also contribute to the problem. Thin or cheap paper gets caught in the mechanism and tears far more easily than heavier-weight paper. Of course, paper that’s too thick can also wedge itself in the machine. Finally, consider how moist your paper is. Printer paper that has absorbed too much moisture will crumple easily inside the printer and contribute to jams. To prevent this, wrap your printer paper to store it and store it away from potential sources of moisture.
Keep Your Office Moving
Even the most advanced printers need a little help when a paper jam occurs. Don’t let it slow down your busy office! Learn how to quickly remove the problem if the printer jams and keep it from happening again. Your coworkers will thank you.
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