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Your Quick Guide to Fixing (and Avoiding) Messy Paper Jams

paper jams

No doubt, paper jams are among the biggest frustrations in an ever-busy office. The fact that they love to rear their ugly heads when you’re pressed for time makes them twice as irritating! However, dealing with them can’t be avoided when you’re working with printers. Even if you own the best models from the most trusted brands around, paper will inevitably get stuck.

When paper jams occur, state-of-the-art printers shout for help and even offer guidance on clearing the blockage. In this case, it’s wise to follow their diagnostic advice. But in case your printer model isn’t equipped with such an advanced feature, sort out the problem with these easy steps:

1) Turn off the equipment

First, before you go searching for where the stuck piece of paper may be, you should turn off your printer. We’re sure you neither want to further harm its electrical/mechanical parts nor would you wish to get zapped.

2) Open every door along the paper path

When it’s difficult to tell where the paper jam may be, try opening the input tray and follow the paper path all the way to the output tray. This will definitely make your search easier.

3) Be on the lookout for stuck scraps of paper

As you’re opening each panel, check for sheets or scraps of paper that are stuck. Once you find them, pull them out firmly, but slowly. Iff possible, pull in the direction where it’s supposed to go under normal circumstances. This is to lessen the strain you put on the printer’s mechanics, which may also lower the damage to the equipment.

4) Reset and check the printer

After you complete steps 1-3, restart your machine and see if its lights or software still indicate a printer jam error. If it still does, repeat the first three steps and then turn on the printer once more. If the machine still doesn’t print, you may have to call professional help and hope that the problem is just an errant scrap rather than a broken internal part.

Tips to avoid future paper jams

Once you’ve figured out the paper jam mystery, it would be wise to continue to perform preventive measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In order to keep your uncomfortable encounters with this printer problem to a minimum, here are some tips to remember:

Properly align sliders/trays

Poorly loaded paper have caused countless paper jams. With that said, make sure that the paper is stacked straight and evenly in the tray. Check to see if the tray’s visual guides are aligned with the paper on all sides to avoid skewing.

Use quality paper every time

Low grade paper can leave dust inside your printer, which may cause jams and mess up print quality. It goes without saying that you should invest in quality paper every time.

Never overload the paper trays

While it may be easier to load up a ton of paper into the tray all at once, this can often lead to jamming. Limit the amount of paper you load into the machine to keep that from happening.

Set your printer correctly

A lot of people have a bad habit of not telling the printer what kind of paper they’re feeding into it . By overlooking this detail, they run a higher risk of suffering paper jams. To be safe, set the printer’s controls to identify the type, name, and thickness of the paper you’re about to use.

While some paper misfeeds are caused by technical faults that only a pro can fix, it wouldn’t hurt if you check to see if the error is simply caused by an honest mistake on your end. Frankly, this small amount effort could end up saving you a lot of time and money.

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