The copiers in your office are going to jam. Sometimes it’s the equipment’s fault (rollers getting old and no longer able to grip the paper) and sometimes it’s the user’s fault (I’m sure this torn paper will be fine). Regardless, at some point, paper is going to get stuck in your copier.

It happens.

Most jams are easy to clear. Look for blinking spot on the control panel, open up the right area, and remove the paper. Sometimes, it’s not quite that easy.

Here are a few tips to both keep your copiers from jamming and to clear that paper jam ASAP.

Paper Jam Prevention

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A couple of common-sense steps will help you keep your equipment in good working order.

1. It’s not a buffet table. Keep food and drinks away from your copier. Coffee with cream and sugar fuels people, not machines. You’d think I’m exaggerating about this, but I’m not. Sticky coffee or soda in the guts of your copier is NOT a good thing. Same goes for food – bagels and chips have a nasty habit of leaving crumbs where you don’t want them.

2. Don’t use torn paper.

3. Fan paper before you add it into the paper tray – and put it right side up. Yes, paper has a right direction, look for the arrow on your ream of paper.

4. Try to use paper quickly. Paper will start to absorb moisture over time and is more likely to jam.

5. Before adding a bunch of documents to copy (or scan) to the feeder, remove paper clips, staples, tape torn edges, remove Post-It notes, and anything else that the copier might “eat.”

6. If you notice that the same machine keeps having the same error, call in your service partner to look the machine over.

7. Keep it clean. A dirty copier is an inefficient copier. Dirt can get on the rollers and cause “slippage,” which means the paper can’t grip the paper to pull it through the machine to print, copy, or scan. Dirt on the platen (that’s the large piece of glass) can cause speckles on copies and even interfere with OCR if you scan documents. Here are a few tips:

a. Keep the air filter clean
b. Open the machine and wipe the rollers that you can see with a lightly soaped rag. Then dry. DO NOT attempt to take apart any part of the machine to reach one “just out of reach” – that’s what your service partner is for!
c. Use glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth to clean all of the glass. Do this regularly.
d. Clean the paper trays once per month. Take out all of the paper and clean with a damp, lint free cloth or use a can of air to blow out all the debris that’s collected there.
e. Once a month, remove the paper from the trays and use a can of air to blow out all of the dust, dirt, and debris.

Fixing a Paper Jam

Open the machine where it’s showing you to go. Then, be gentle!

If you need to reach inside of the machine for any reason, turn off the power!

You don’t want to accidentally push the green button with your hand in there!

1. If there’s a “release” button, use it!

2. Gently pull jammed paper in the direction of the roller. Use both hands.

3. If a piece tears off, don’t try to use tweezers or something to pull it out. You could slip and really cause some damage.

4. Once you’ve got the paper out, see if there’s any other foreign object in there. You’d be surprised at what can end up inside a copier – we’ve even seen candy.

Whatever you do, stay out of the machine. If you start to think about unscrewing something – don’t. Call us (or your copier repair partner; actually… just call us!) and we’ll fix the problem for you.

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