Be good to your office copier and your office copier will be good to your business.
Learning how to maintain and keep an office copier in good working order will make your workday easier.
It’s as easy as making your bed, flossing your teeth, and… cleaning your copier?
Are you the kind of person who makes your bed every morning? How about flossing? Do you even buy that practice anymore since it was deemed pointless last summer? SELF: Flossing Might Not Be As Important As You Think.
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 your 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. And maybe you can give your blood pressure a break. Learn and use these tips to keep the copier repairman away.
9 Tips to Keep Your Office Copier in Good Working Order:
1. Office Copiers Need (a little) Care:
If the copier hasn't been used for 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.
2. 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.
Have you heard that it’s also good to fan the stack from one corner to help put a little air between the pages? Well, it’s an urban myth.
Different weights of paper may change the number of sheets you can load as well (thicker paper = less sheets). Keep the paper itself in a dry, clean, and organized place so it’s ready for use.
Crinkled paper can jam the copier, and humidity can cause the paper to ripple and curl, resulting in low-quality prints.
Want to learn more about copier paper? We wrote a whole article about it: Copier Paper: Can It Affect My Repair Bill?
3. Even YOU Can Destroy Your Copier
Yes, you. Handle the machine with care. There’s a right way and a wrong way to fix a copier. While your first instinct might be to tear open the drawers and dive in to look for the source of a paper jam, always follow the recommended screen prompts on the display panel for clearing a jam.
Open “the guts” carefully as a paper jam is just that - a backup of paper - that could result in a single page or multiple pages being partially engaged between two sections of the machine. 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.
And don’t forget to unplug the machine first. It’s not easy to get an electric shock reaching into a copier machine to clear a paper jam, but it’s happened before.
4. 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 copies or prints can be a sign of a dirty roller inside the machine that requires a trained professional to access, remove, and clean.
Lines can also be a result when a page jams before it has time to finish its fusing process in the machine and loose toner residue may be left behind in place of the jam. If you are in a rush and don’t have time for a service call, try running a few blank copies on clean, fresh paper. Sometimes, this can help lessen these marks by picking the loose toner up as they pass through the machine.
Another source of black lines on copier pages 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)--or you can even try Windex. How Do you Clean Copier Glass? With...Windex!
Also, clean the “slit glass.” Look in your copier manual for the location of this piece on your device. Dirt or residue here can also cause black lines on copies and scans.
5. Not All Supplies Are Created Equal
Toners vary in their viscosity and quality. If you don't use the right toner for your copier machine, you can cause serious damage that will require a costly repair and even void your warranty. The copier's owner’s manual will list the types of toner the machine is compatible with. Make sure you don’t stray from their recommendations.
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 product for the right job. Beware of “Toner Pirates”! Unsure who or what they are, check out our post: Don't Be Plundered By Toner Pirates.
6. 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 do 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 looser dirt will inevitably show up on your future 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 during your next copy run.
7. 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 advertisements of a “cheap” copier that will cost you more in lost downtime, repairs, and productivity in the long run.
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.
8. Schedule Regular Maintenance and Service Calls
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.
9. Discuss Your Needs With a Representative
If you are struggling with frequent repair issues with your office equipment, you can request assistance from your repair professional. Your service provider may make recommendations regarding the need for an upgrade or different types of services for maintenance. Following this advice can benefit your office in the future. Don’t be afraid to ask for some direction.
Let’s face it, copiers are the lifeblood of a bustling office. Stop treating them like second-class citizens. From the walk-up copies and scans to the long print runs for a special project, your copier is there for you when you need it. Instead, use it with care, and maintain it. With proper use and maintenance, you will not only prolong its lifespan, but you’ll also keep things running smoothly for everyone in the office.
If your copier has a problem that you can’t fix or identify, it’s best to seek the help of a professional. It’s best to call a service that specializes in copier repair rather than relying on people in your company who aren’t familiar with the inner workings of these machines.
At AIS, many of our clients have been working with us for over ten years. Not only do we provide great pricing, but our service technicians are the best in the business. Year after year they are constantly increasing the number of machines they service and the number of certifications they are trained and tested on, but decreasing the amount of time it takes to get our clients back up and running, the majority of the time on their first call. If you are interested in learning more about how we hold our service department to the highest standards, start a conversation today with one of our business technology consultants and let us show you how office technology can give you peace of mind and help you win more business.
[Updated 3/21/18 from original post 4/24/16]