Office printers and copiers are essential to any business. Whether preparing a big pitch or an important business meeting - we depend on them to churn out essential documents.
Because of how much we rely on them, it can be frustrating when these machines break down. It can be tempting to act impulsively in an attempt to fix the problem, or to take out your anger. Though, it is important to know what you are doing before trying to repair a faulty copier or printer to avoid additional damage and costly repairs. Here we have put together a list of tips that you can apply to safely handle your printer and copier difficulties.
Check whether the copier is plugged in
Though it may sound obvious, the most important step in solving printer problems is to make sure that it is plugged in.
It is completely possible that the cable got knocked loose or someone accidentally unplugged the printer. Making sure that your printer is properly connected to a power source first, avoids unnecessary worry or calls to a repair-person who is not needed.
Don’t attempt to fix a problem that you are not trained for
Though current copiers and printers are generally safe, it's never a good idea to poke around in a machine that you are not familiar with. If some part of the machine is still electrified, you could mistakenly shock yourself while trying to make the repair.
Even if you have unplugged the machine from the wall, electrical current can remain inside of the machine, posing a hazard to those who are unfamiliar with how to handle it. Even if you think the machine’s issue will be easy to fix, if you are not sure what you are doing, it’s best to leave it to the professionals to sort out.
Don’t unplug the machine right away
Though your instincts may tell you that the best thing to do with a malfunctioning machine is to pull it's plug straight out of the wall - don't. Instead, always try to shut the machine down normally by using the power button.
A sudden shutdown can be damaging to your copier's hard drive, just as with a computer hard drive. By shutting the machine down properly, you give it a chance to prepare its hardware. This way you will be able to shut down without any problems. Once the power is off, you can then go ahead and unplug the machine from the wall.
Start with taking good care of your machines
The most important measure that you can take in order to prevent potential issues with your copiers and printers is to take good care of the machines to begin with. Ensure that there is no food or drinks allowed in the areas where printers and copiers are located, and make sure that employees do not consume food or drink near the machines.
Animal hair can also damage your copiers and printers. If your office has any pets, make sure that they are not able to get near any copiers or printers and be sure to dust the machines frequently, as animal hair can travel in the air.
It is important to stay up-to-date with the basic maintenance of your copiers and printers so that they can be depended on when needed. This maintenance takes only minutes, but can save hours or days of inconvenience in the future.
It is always a good idea to run some printer tests after your printer or copier has been inactive for a long period of time. At the start of the week, for example, is a good time to run tests - especially before printing a lot of material.
Taking the proper steps with paper maintenance is also a great help. Make sure that there are no paper jams before you start printing. If the machine is not used frequently, make sure to change old or wrinkled stacks of paper in the machine in order to prevent jams before they start.
It is also a good idea to calibrate your printers and copiers after having been in hibernation mode. It's important that you do not try to press the power button or otherwise try to rush this process, since doing so can disrupt the calibration.
Plan Routine Maintenance Ahead
If you want to prevent frustrating copier and printer problems, plan regular service and maintenance checks to ensure everything is in good working order and prevent problems before they occur.
Most manufacturers will recommend service checks regardless of whether you have purchased a printer or copier or are just leasing it. Frequency can vary based on model, though it’s important to stick to the maintenance schedule recommended for your machines.
Keep it clean
Keeping your copier and printer clean is a quick and easy way to prevent problems caused by dust and dirt. To clean your machines correctly, lightly wipe dust off of the exterior making sure that the feeder tray and print tray are clean and clear of debris.
If your printer or copier comes with its own cloth make sure to use it in order to avoid damage - particularly on the delicate glass scanner plate.
Paper jams dos and don’ts
Paper jams are a classic cause of frustration in the office. Generally when you need to rely on your printer the most, a paper gets stuck resulting in a jam.
Using your paper quickly is the best way to avoid paper jams. Over time, paper absorbs moisture from the air allowing it to stick to itself and clump up. This clumpy paper easily gets stuck in a printer or copier causing it to jam.
Though it may seem efficient at first, loading a printer or copier with too much paper at once is a very common way to cause jams. By not overloading your printers and copiers you will be able to avoid the majority of jams.
If you do end up with a paper jam, it’s important not to attempt to remove it with tweezers or your hands. Doing so may cause the paper to tear while stuck inside the printer or copier, leaving you with an even more difficult situation. Take the time to remove the paper in the proper way for your printer.
Caring for your printer and copier properly will allow it to work much more efficiently and last much longer. Taking a couple of minutes every day to properly maintain your machines will enable you to follow these best practices, and ensure that your copiers and printers are all properly maintained.