How To Unjam A Printer

Printers have become a basic necessity and essential item at every workplace, school, university, and corporate office around the USA.

These machines function to print page after page day in and day out, having an innate ability to make your day more productive when they are working well. How fast and efficiently you print your documents depends on your printer, and the quicker you can get your work done, the quicker you can go home.

But as great philosophers have always said- everything has a weakness. Even the best printers have small flaws, but they are flaws that can completely ruin your day.

One of the most common problems is the paper jam. Though the problem seems like it can be solved with a simple yank, your printer won’t appreciate it.

So, before you destroy the machine, have a quick read and learn how to unjam a printer properly.

Step 1: Shutdown The Printer

1. Before doing anything else, you must turn off the printer on which you were working on. When a paper gets jammed, sometimes the printer’s power button won’t even work, so your best option is to unplug the printer from the socket.

2. Use your computer to cancel anything that is waiting in the print queue.It’s important that the printer has no activity at all left to perform.

3. Remove any cables or anything you see plugging into the printer.

4. Turn the printer around 90 degrees so that you are able to easily access both the back and front of the printer. You may need to get access to the printer’s internal mechanisms, as the jam may not have occurred in the input tray.

Note: If you are using a laser printer, whether monochrome or color, at least give it 30 minutes to fully cool down before proceeding with the steps above. This is because laser printers can get very hot during printing.

Step2: Remove All The Paper

1. Remove all the paper from the printer which you have been using.

2. If there is more than one paper tray, start off with the paper tray on the front and then move to any at the back.

3. Regularly, paper jams are caused when the paper inside the paper tray gets stuck as it moves to the inside of the printer. If any paper has been stuck, gently pull it and take it from the printer.

4. After you have removed the large sheets, inspect the machine carefully. Sometimes paper tears and small bits get stuck inside the printer. See if you have left any small bits of paper inside the printer.

5. Now check all the paper which has been sitting inside the paper tray. Look for signs of damage or any tears.

6. Throw away any sheets of damaged paper, as these should not be used anymore.

7. Re-insert the remaining paper into the paper tray again and align the tray and paper correctly.This will ensure that the paper feeds into the printer properly preventing further jams.

Step 3: Check The Interior Of The Printer

A. Open the door, which gives you access to the paper’s path inside the printer. Usually, such doors are at the rear for most standard printer models. These doors are often called the ‘rear access door’ or the ‘duplexer’.

B. Now you will be doing two things by opening the rear door.

1. Firstly, you can check whether the paper is stuck between the rollers of the printer. If this has occurred, gently pull the paper from the rollers, avoiding damage or tears to the paper. You will notice that we have emphasized the word ‘gently’ and synonyms of it during this article. This is because roughly pulling the paper can damage the rollers in which the paper is possibly stuck.

2. Secondly, you can assess the rollers separately. Dust or rust on the rollers can cause frequent paper jams. Using a moist and soft towel, clean off the dust from your rollers. Make sure to do this once a month to reduce the risk of paper jams.

C. Lastly, check if the rollers are rotating freely without any problems in their movement. If not, then you might have to replace those rollers with new ones. Simply check your printer’s model and buy specific rollers for that from the internet or at the local electronics shop. If you cannot find printer-specific rollers, call customer service immediately.

Turn Everything Back On

A. Close all doors and trays of the printer properly.

B. Connect all the cables and plugs to their initial places.

C. Next, turn on the printer using the power button.

D. Most printers print a test page when you press the resume button on the printer after fixing everything. Check that this comes out ok, and then you are good to go!

Why Might The Printer Be Jamming Regularly?

A common reason for printers jamming on a regular basis is from being overworked.

One way to tell if your printer is being overworked is to check the specifications of the printer. This can be done either using the booklet that came with your printer or by checking the manufacturer’s website and looking for your specific printer model.

The information you are looking for is the ‘monthly duty cycle’ and the ‘recommended duty cycle’. These can be, and often are, two different numbers.

The ‘monthly duty cycle’ is the maximum number of pages you can print in a month before the printer will break down completely.

The ‘recommended duty cycle’ is a lower figure, which will tell you how many pages you can print before the printer will start experiencing problems such as paper jams.

Inkjet printers tend to have quite a low recommended duty cycle, especially if they are entry-level printers. Some can be 500 pages per month or lower. This is because these have been built for infrequent use at home.

Even the higher-end inkjet printers will come with duty cycles that usually don’t go above a four-digit figure.

By way of contrast, laser printers are built to work very hard, with some mid-range models having a 20,000 to a 30,000-page duty cycle. Higher-end models can go 50,000 pages plus per month.

It really is important to check this figure if you want to keep your printer running problem-free for a long time.

Final Word

Hopefully, this article got you out of a jam and back to printing again.

If you are still experiencing problems, then the best course of action is to ring your printer manufacturer’s customer service line.

The customer service of the major brands is very good, especially Brother and Epson. So don’t be afraid to give them a call when needed.

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