How to Avoid Paper Jams

Is your printer jamming? If so, it might not be the printer… it could be your paper! While this article doesn’t tell you how to un-jam your printer, it does tell you how you may avoid paper jams in the future.

When paper is stored unprotected, it absorbs moisture from the air. Then it doesn’t feed in the printer as well, causing jams, mis-feeds, and other errors when printing. Helen Keily, chief chemist at a past US producer of paper, says that most paper jams are caused when paper is curled or buckled due to high moisture content.

The solution is two-fold.

Protect the paper. According to Xerox, you should keep your paper reams sealed in the original packaging until you are ready to use them. Re-seal opened reams with tape to keep the moisture out. It may even be necessary to replace unused paper in a printer that has been there for a long time, where it easily absorbs the moisture in the air.

Manage the humidity. Whenever possible, store paper in a climate-controlled space, since air conditioning removes moisture from the air, and in the winter, heating serves to lower the relative humidity level of indoor air. Avoid locating printers in unheated or non-air-conditioned rooms.

Meet the author

Dan grew up in New York State, and graduated from Queensbury High School in 1980. He received his bachelor's in computer science at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas in 1984. He was a computer programmer at several insurance companies, and worked at Pioneer Hi-Bred for ten years. In July of 2002 after 18 years of programming, Dan founded Iowa PC Services, Inc. as a one-man computer repair business. He is an active member at the Grandview Church of Christ in Des Moines, and enjoys woodworking, walking, and grandchildren. Dan and his lovely wife, Donna, have two grown children and four grandchildren.