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How to Prevent Paper Jams in Copier

Few things are more frustrating in an office environment than a paper jam in the copier. Sometimes the copier has malfunctioning equipment, such as old rollers that no longer properly grip the paper. Other times, the user of the copier is the culprit of paper jams. Either way, paper stuck in a copier is a normal occurrence.

Most paper jams are easy to fix yourself. Others are more complicated. If you think the issue is mild and you can remove the jam yourself, you need to know what you are doing. The following are some things you should know about copier paper jams, such as how you can prevent and fix them.

Ways You Can Prevent Paper Jams

The best way to avoid a jam in your copier is through prevention. Help keep your copier from jamming with the following suggestions.

Don’t leave food or drink near the copier. Things like coffee with sugar and cream can spill into the copier and gum up the mechanisms inside. Not only can the copier jam, but you can short the wiring as well.

Also, be sure to not use torn paper when you make your copies. The tears can catch in the rollers and prevent movement. Make certain you only use dry paper. When paper is stored, particularly in humid environments, the paper can become damp. Even the slightest bit of dampness causes a paper jam in a copier.

You also need to make sure the copier is clean. Dirty copiers are not efficient, as the rollers will slip. When rollers slip, they cannot firmly grip the paper to roll it through the machine. Any buildup on the platen, or the large piece of glass on top of the machine, will result in spots on your copies. If you scan documents, any spots on your copies will interfere with your copier’s optical character recognition, which helps covert characters into text.

To clean the copier, be sure to clear the air filter. Dust can easily build up in this area. Simply wipe the filter with a dry, soft cloth or feather duster. When you open the copier, wipe the rollers you can see with a damp cloth. Do not remove any parts, however.

Additionally, clean the glass with some glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth. Also, remove the paper from the tray and clean any debris and dust away with a can of air.

Ways to Fix a Paper Jam

If the paper jam is not complicated, you may be able to remove it yourself. The key is to be gentle. Also, be sure the copier is in the off position. Otherwise, you risk hand injury. To be certain the copier is off, you may want to unplug the machine before you begin working on the paper jam.

First, look to see if your copier has a release button. If so, press it to release any jams. Pull gently on the paper in the same direction as the roller. The paper could tear as you pull. If that happens, do not use any instruments, such as tweezers, to assist in removing the paper. Doing so could cause damage. Once you remove the paper you see, look to see if anything else is stuck in the machine.

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