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How to Avoid Paper Jams in Your Copier

Office Printer Fairbanks AK

Crunch. If you’re standing at the copier, that’s the sound of frustration. It’s also a sound that may be telling you something may be wrong with the machine. While paper jams may feel normal, they should actually be a rare occurrence. Here are some ways to avoid the dreaded crunch and keep your copier running smoothly.


The best way to avoid copier paper jams is to prevent them. Prevention isn’t complicated. Make the following things habits in your office:

  • Keep food and drinks away. Food and drinks and copiers do not mix. It’s not worth the risk; make it a company policy to keep food away from the copy machine.

  • Use the right paper. Your copy machine’s owner’s manual specifies the weight of paper the machine was built to handle. Use that paper. Lighter or heavier paper will jam in the machine. Saving money on paper isn’t worth it if you’re always having to repair the copier.

  • Check the paper. The paper needs to be dry and intact. Torn paper will jam, as will paper that’s damp from humidity (or spilled coffee). Store your paper in a dry location.

  • Load the paper carefully. Mindlessly slamming in a giant handful of paper and shutting the tray is the first step to a paper jam. Load the paper carefully. Feather the edges to make sure all the paper separates. Never overload the tray and always shut it carefully, making sure the guides are in place.

  • Keep the machine clean. When the copiers rollers get dirty, they slip and cause jams. Clean the air filters, dust regularly, and periodically wipe the visible portion of the rollers clean with a damp lint-free cloth. Blowing away paper dust with canned air from paper trays and other areas is also a good idea. Regularly cleaning will prevent dust from entering the machine and causing jams.

  • Honor the duty cycle. Your copier was designed to handle a certain volume of copies in a given month. This is the duty cycle. If you are constantly exceeding that volume, you will likely experience more frequent jams as time goes on due to wear and tear on the machine’s components.

The Cure

Despite your best efforts, even the best office printers and copiers in Fairbanks, AK, may still experience paper jams. When that happens, resist the temptation to yank the paper roughly from the machine and try the following instead.


  • Turn off the copier. Clearing a paper jam isn’t worth electrocution or other injury.

  • Press the release button. Many copiers have a release button. Press it to release the jam and then gently pull the paper in the same direction the roller rolls. Then, check to make sure nothing else is stuck.

  • Follow the instructions. Your copier has detailed instructions about how to clear a jam. Read them and follow them precisely in the order they are given.


  • Force the paper. Forcing the paper may cause the paper to tear, which makes clearing the jam more difficult. It could also damage rollers or other components.

  • Use tweezers or other tools. These items can scratch parts of your copier and affect quality going forward.

  • Take it apart. Unless you are trained in copier repair, don’t take your machine apart. Call Arctic Office for service and we’ll get your copier running smoothly again.

Small Office Printer Fairbanks AK

Is it Time for a New Copier?

If your diligent prevention efforts have still left you with a machine that’s constantly jamming, it’s time for a new copier. There’s no need to slow down your workflow or leave your employees stomping in frustration. Call Arctic Office to buy a copier in Fairbanks, AK. We carry all the latest models from leading manufacturers such as Canon, Sharp, Lexmark, and more. Stop fighting paper jams today. For superior products, exceptional service, and competitive prices, contact Arctic Office for all your copier needs.

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