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Tips to Keep Your Office Copier in Good Working Order

Learning how to maintain and keep an office copier working properly will make your workday easier.

Make your bed, floss your teeth, and … clean your copier?

Are you the kind of person who makes your bed every morning? How about flossing? Do you even buy it anymore since it was deemed pointless last summer? While we may not remember (or like) to do these things, deep in our hearts we all know we should.

Just like taking care of you copier. We’d all like to unload on it sometimes (remember that iconic scene in Office Space?) While slamming those doors and drawers might make you feel a little better when it jams, don’t forget that the way you use and care for your copier can greatly affect its overall performance in the long run.

The better you treat it, the better it will treat you. Learn and use these tips to keep the copier repairman away.

Copiers (and most electronics) Need (a little) Time to Warm Up If the copier hasn't been used in several days, such as over a weekend, it's important to run a few test prints before using the copier intensively. Make sure to replace old paper with a new stack and check for any jams before the day gets started. Most copiers, when left idle for a period of time, will go into sleep mode and initiate a calibration mode once started up again. Be patient. The machine is doing this for a reason and pressing the copy button a million times won’t speed up this important process.

Crappy Paper Will Destroy Your Copier

Many people leave copiers filled to the brim. Always check the paper capacity, typically indicated with a fill level line somewhere on the inside of the paper tray. Fill just below this line, never over.

It’s also good to fan the stack from one corner to help put a little air between the pages. This helps paper feed with ease.

Different weights of paper may change the number of sheets you can load as well (thicker paper=less sheets). Last, keep the paper itself in a dry, organized place.

Crinkled paper can jam the copier, and humidity can cause paper to ripple and curl resulting in low quality prints.

YOU Can Destroy Your Copier

Yes, you. Handle the machine with care. While your first instinct might be to tear open the drawers and dive in to look for the source of your paper jam, always follow the recommended screen prompts for clearing a jam.

Open “the guts” carefully as a paper jam is just that - a backup of paper - that could result in a page or pages being partially engaged between two sections. If you open the components too quickly parts of your paper may tear and be impossible to retrieve without the tools and expertise of a service technician.

Leave the Lines to the Fashion Designers

Ever had a line appear on your page that does not want to go away? Place a service call. Lines on your pages can be a sign of a dirty roller inside the machine that requires a trained professional to access and remove.

Lines are often caused when a page jams before it has time to finish its fusing process in the machine and loose toner is left in the place of the jam. If you are on a deadline, running a few blank copies on clean, fresh paper can sometimes help lessen these marks by picking them up as they pass through the machine.

Another source of black lines on the copier is dirt or a spot on the glass. Using a soft cloth and alcohol-free glass cleaner, clean the platen glass (that's the big sheet of glass where you place your paper to copy).

Also, clean the “slit glass.” Look in your copier manual for the location on your device. Dirt or residue here can also cause black lines on copies and scans.

Not All Supplies Are Created Equal

Toners vary in their viscosity. If you don't use the right toner for your copier machine, you can cause serious damage that will require a costly repair. The copier's owner’s manual will list the types of toner the machine is compatible with.

If you find a bottle that looks like it still has toner inside, don’t attempt to top off another bottle you may have. Toner bottles are designed to release their contents only when placed in a machine for a reason, toner can make a huge mess. Check with your service provider to ensure you are ordering the right supplies and make sure everyone in your office is using the right kind.

A Clean Copier is a Happy Copier

One of the easiest things you can do to keep the copier working properly is to clean it on a regular basis. This includes a light wiping of the machine’s exterior, and a regular wiping of the bypass and exit trays.

Always wipe away from the entry areas of the machine so dirt and debris does not fall into the paper path. Many copiers come with a cleaning cloth to wipe the glass platen as well. Always check the glass before you make copies or scans, as dirt can show up on your documents.

Whenever clearing jams, be sure you retrieve all parts of the page that has jammed, even the tiniest scrap of paper left inside the paper path can cause great damage on the next run.

Choose a Copier Suited for Your Needs

In some cases, copiers break down because the machine is not well-suited for the demands the office staff members will place on it. If you have a copier that regularly breaks down, overuse could be the reason.

Don't fall for the false economy of a “cheap” copier that will cost you more in lost productivity in the long run.

But don't overbuy either, some machines are simply designed to be used almost non-stop throughout the day and to function better in high-use environments. Under-using those copiers can also lead to more maintenance than “should” be required.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Another idea to reduce downtime related to a broken copier is to schedule regular maintenance. Whether you are leasing your copier or you have purchased it, most manufacturers recommend regular maintenance service.

The frequency that these services are recommended may vary, and some leases may include periodic maintenance service. However, even when it is included in a lease, you may still need to contact the service provider to set up service. Research the maintenance recommendation for your equipment, and set automated reminders so that you remember to request the service you need.

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