How to Properly Store Copy Paper

Paper and humidity:

We know, it sounds kind of crazy. You may have heard that the issue with your paper jamming could be attributed to improperly stored copy paper. It sure sounds like an easy excuse for a copier repair tech to throw out there as an excuse for why a copy machine keeps jamming.

What if you could actually see the reality of this problem? Sometimes you just have to see it to believe it. Paper, just like wood counterparts, have characteristics that can be altered by temperature and humidity, and when combined with extreme heat may, copy machine paper may revolt against the copier!

Tell Tale Signs:

One tell tale sign that paper is too humid is curling of paper when it is ejected from the copier. If when making copies, you find that the paper is coming out and starting to curl it means the paper was (or recently was) stored in a humid environment. When a piece of paper contains moisture and is exposed to extreme heat (such as when a piece of paper goes through the fuser element of a copy machine), the moisture is quickly evaporated from the paper, leaving the paper to condense and in turn shrivel (or curl).

If that’s not believable enough, take a look at the vents around the exit path of the copy paper. Do you see condensation on or around the vent? Condensation around the exit area is a proof-positive sign that your paper has been improperly stored.

Paper jams are the most tell-tale sign. With today’s high-speed technologies paper can travel through a copier machine very fast and usually without issue. Often times if a machine is jamming often, the first thing we look at is the paper. If the paper has the attributed of humidity described above, we try passing through a new ream of paper. Often times a new ream will pass through the copier jam-free and hassle-free.

Correcting the Problem:

Reality dictates that we don’t have climate and humidity controlled storage units built around storing copy paper in a small office, but we do have a few suggestions that should greatly reduce the issue of paper absorbing moisture.

Tip 1:

Keep paper stored in a cool and dry place. This may sound obvious, but its easy to take the surplus of copy paper that was on sale, and store it in a damp humid basement for an extended period. Try to keep the copy paper stored in climate controlled closets or offices that have a relatively stable humidity level.

Tip 2:

While that big-box store may have a great deal on copy paper, resist the urge to buy a surplus of paper to save money. Paper isn’t strongly affected by humidity overnight, but when stored for months on end any organization will be hard pressed to keep the paper in a ‘healthy’ environment.

Tip 3:

Plan paper purchases based on immediate need. This follows in-line with tip #2, but if you know you don’t have any big copy jobs in the near future, keep the paper supply slim. The reduced time from factory, to store, to delivery truck, to office will greatly reduce the likelihood of print quality issues.

Tip 4:

Many small businesses are tight on space and don’t have copious amounts of free space. Perhaps that space in the basement is the only reasonable place to store even a modest amount of paper. In these instances we strongly urge clients to purchase a dehumidifier. It’s not only good for paper, but is a good idea in general for any damp or moist environment. Your copier and you’ll paper will thank you generously for your consideration.