Every wonder why it seems copiers tend to jam and mess up more on Mondays than on any other day of the week? And on mornings more than afternoons and evenings?
Other than that Mondays and mornings can be and are inherently evil, there’s actually a scientific explanation for it.
So what's the real reason? It’s about humidity and temperature.
You see, chances are that when you leave the office for the weekend or even for the night, your the thermostat is set to relax on its temperature control, allowing the office to get warmer in the warmer seasons and cooler in the colder parts of the year. This saves on energy and related costs.
Sure, but what does this have to do with the copier acting up on Mondays?
Well, not much about the actual copier, really. It has more to do with the paper ... and humidity and heat.
You see, paper is very sensitive to humidity and absorbs moisture from the air around it. The more humid the air is, the “wetter” the paper becomes. As the edges of the paper are most sensitive and most exposed to the aire, they tend to attract more water vapor and warp as they expand. This slightly reshapes and resizes the paper, making it more difficult to flow through your copier’s feed and roller systems— hence the jamming.
In this wetter state, the slightly expanded and wavy paper drags a little more through the copier’s components, resulting in those annoying Monday morning jams.
This happens more frequently during the warmer months as the air is naturally warmer and wetter. When you get back in the office on Monday, the paper is probably still wetter and somewhat misshapen as most likely the office AC didn’t run as much over the weekend.
Conversely, if the paper is too dry, that results in its own set of problems.
You see, toner-based copiers use an electrical charge to attract or repel toner in order to print and moisture levels affect that charge. If a paper is too dry, as you might see in the winter time, the paper may build up too much static which can cause pages to stick together causing multiple sheets to run through the copier at a time, causing jams.
And on the other side, too much humidity in the air reduces copy quality as well as it changes the static charge used by the copier to transfer toner to the paper.
It is for these reasons that when we have clients experiencing copier problems due to fluctuating moisture levels, we recommend our clients to try to keep temperatures consistent as much as possible and to use humidifiers or dehumidifiers to control humidity — keeping levels between 35-55 percent around the copiers and in paper storage areas.
Just as humidity is important, so is temperature.
That's why it's temperature, much like Goldilock's soup, needs to be "just right" to keep your copier (and you) happy.
What is that perfect temperature? We say paper should be stored between 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit as this helps the paper to maintain the proper moisture levels too. For example, if you take paper from a cold, dry area area, say a non-climate-controlled warehouse, into a warmer, more humid environment, such as an office, guaranteed, the paper is going to attract moisture and will expand. If you feed it directly to a copier, you are going to have problems. In such scenario, let your copier paper acclimate for 24 hours or so and the paper will gradually warm and take on the proper form and shape necessary in order to make its use much easier.
Another way to regulate a paper’s temperature and moisture is to maintain its original packaging. The wrapping forms a kind of buffer between a paper and it’s environment, protecting it from drastic temperature and humidity changes. As soon as you remove the packaging, a paper more easily take on the conditions of the air around it.
We recommend you keep your paper in its packaging as long as possible as that will better ensure problem free use.
Just as humidity and heat can change a paper’s shape and cause paper jams, so can improper storage. Bent edges and wrinkled or wavy surfaces will cause paper to jam. That is why we recommend you store your paper flat, not stacked on its edges, and to keep it on flat, not grated, surfaces. This will help your paper maintain its original manufactured shape and to better feed through your copier.
Hopefully, these tips save your and your staff frustration with jamming copiers — and will give you better Mondays.
If you have any questions about any of the above information or any office technology matter, let us know! Just click the red button below, fill out the form and we’ll get right back to you. We are RK Black and we help make technology work FOR you ... especially on Mondays.
About R.K. Black, Inc.
R.K. Black, Inc. is an Oklahoma City-based, family-owned leading provider of office technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in Oklahoma and Kansas. We specialize in everything business technology from copier, fax, printer and scanner technology to document management, onsite paper shredding services, VoIP phone systems and managed IT support to video surveillance solutions.
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