If you own a printer then you’re going to experience a paper jam sooner or later. On average a printer will have a paper jam once every thousand printed pages.
Printer technicians remove a dozen paper jams every week. I’ve been fixing printers over 25 years and have removed at least 20,000 paper jams. Many of those on Epson printers.
Epson printers don’t jam more or less than any other printer I’ve worked on. Removing jams on them isn’t much different than any other inkjet printer.
If you have an Epson printer and are having issues with paper jams this article can help.
Why Printers Jam
In my experience Epson printer jam causes can be broken down into four categories. There are exceptions but as a rule usually paper jams are caused by these four issues:
- Dirty or worn paper feed rollers
- Paper issues
- Broken part/obstruction
- Operator error
Dirty Paper Feed Rollers
Paper feed rollers are made from rubber which will collect dust. Whether its paper dust or dust from the environment it will accumulate on the paper feed rollers. Which causes them to loose their grip and slip.
Epson home printers have open type paper which collect more dust than cassette or drawers. But any paper feed roller needs cleaned periodically to keep it’s grip.
To show how dust effects a paper feed roller I just cleaned half of this roller. The left side is what a clean roller is supposed to look like. While the right is still soiled.
It’s harder to tell with grey paper feed rollers. But that much paper dust will cause occasional paper jams in any printer.
In my experience Epson inkjet printers have easily accessible feed rollers. Which makes them easy to clean.
For example, rubbing alcohol dries out the roller and makes it feel smooth. Other cleaners leave a residue or take the bite out of the roller.
Don’t ever use glue. It may seem to work but attracts dust faster. Ultimately it will cause more paper jams.
Worn Paper Feed Rollers
The paper feed rollers in Epson printers last between 20,000 and 100,000 pages. When feed rollers near the end of their life paper jams become more frequent.
Similar to tires on a car, paper feed rollers have tread to give them grip. When this tread wears down the rollers become slick. Too much slippage causes paper jams.
These are examples of typical paper feed rollers found in a printer. The image on the left is a new paper feed roller. Which has plenty of tread and feels tacky.
The image on the right is a worn paper feed roller I took out of a printer. It has lost most of it’s tread and feels slick.
If the paper feed rollers in your Epson printer look like the image on the right they need replaced. If you can find replacement parts online, Epson printers typically have accessible paper feed rollers.
Issues with paper is another cause of paper jams in Epson printers. Most paper issues are invisible to the naked eye. Humidity and static have to be really bad to actually see.
Most issues with paper are from a speck of glue from the packaging or tiny frayed edges from a dull blade used to cut the paper at the factory. The paper clings together due to those issues which results in paper jams.
This is why you should always fan the paper before loading. Especially in Epson Workforce series since they use a take up roller only feed system. Epson Ecotanks and other series use the traditional pick-up, feed, and separation roller/pad system.
Fanning the paper separates all the pages and takes out any static electricity buildup. I’ve worked in many print shops that have noticeably fewer paper jams just from consistently fanning the paper before loading.
Paper curl is another cause of paper jams. It is one issue with paper you can actually see. When you lay a stack of paper on a flat surface you should not see any curl.
If you see any corners curling up it can cause paper jams. Two sided printing is particularly prone to paper jams when there’s too much paper curl.
Unlike humidity, paper curl can be taken out of the paper. Place a heavy object on the stack and store it overnight.
Items such as paper clips, staples, pencils, or push pins are commonly found near printers. I’ve also found those items inside printers..
If your Epson printer keeps jamming be sure to look for foreign objects in the paper path. A flashlight is an essential tool I use to look for obstructions.
There are many plastic parts inside an Epson printer. It’s easy for small pieces to break off and block the paper from feeding.
Any misaligned doors or paper guides also interfere with paper feed. Make sure all latches are properly seated.
Tiny bits of paper are also known to catch on paper sensors. If there’s anything blocking it from moving freely the printer will show a false paper jam.
Mistakes happen. But some mistakes cause paper jams. For example, if 4 x 6 paper is loaded but the printer is set for 8½ x 11 paper. The printer will jam every page until this paper mismatch is corrected.
Paper guides set too tight or loose are another cause of paper jams. Side guides in the paper tray need adjusted to match the paper size loaded.
When loading paper a common mistake is when the corner of the paper gets folded under. It’s hard to tell this happened since it’s usually a few sheets of paper on the bottom of the stack. I’ve seen this cause paper jams or crooked feeding.
Another error which can cause a paper jam is with the page setup in an app. MS Word has a page setup found in the page layout menu. Other apps have similar settings.
App settings take priority over the printer or print driver settings. Page properties should be set to auto. But if the page setup is set to tray 1 with Letter (R) while Letter is loaded it can cause paper jams.
How to Clear Paper Jams
Epson printers usually have access doors in the front and rear. Lids can be lifted and access doors removed. Here are instructions for removing a paper jam from an Epson printer:
- Remove power. This is for two reasons: it removes power to any motors and it resets the memory. There is little risk of damage or shock. However, removing power ensures things move freely. It also resets the memory so the printer won’t get stuck in a jam state.
- Take out all paper from the exit and supply trays. It will just get in the way when clearing a paper jam. Also, feed rollers may need to return to a home position after a jam. This can prefeed a sheet of paper which leads to another paper jam.
- After the paper is out you can lift the lid and open any access doors. Assess the situation before removing any paper. I’ve found there’s usually a few ways to pull paper jams out. One way may offer less resistance than another.
- Use your fingers to pull out the jammed paper. Don’t use any metal tools to fish out the paper jam. If you need any tools a wood popsicle is best. A flashlight is a handy tool too.
- Once the paper jam is out hold on to all the pieces. Make sure a whole sheet of paper came out. Any small bits left inside will cause more paper jams.
- After all the paper is out, put back any access doors and close it all up. Now it’s ready to plug in the power cord.
- Turn on your printer and wait until it’s booted up before loading paper. Don’t forget to fan the paper before loading!
- Now you can print again.
Steps to Prevent Paper Jams
After the paper jam is cleared you should take some precautions to prevent it from happening again. Not that printer jams can be completely eliminated. But there are easy actions you can take to prevent paper jams:
- Choose the correct paper for your printer. Every Epson printer has specs or paper. Using the right types and weights for your printer will prevent paper jams. The better the paper the fewer jams too.
- Properly store your paper. An uneven surface causes paper curl. Too humid of an environment will ruin paper. Don’t store it in a garage or basement unless it’s in a sealed container. In a climate controlled office paper can be left out for several weeks.
- Cleaning paper feed rollers periodically will prevent paper jams.
- Get a cover for your printer. Whenever it’s not in use cover it. This will keep dust from accumulating in your printer. It also prevents foreign objects from falling in and causing paper jams.
Unplug the power cord to the printer and reboot it. If the paper jam persists then there is still a blocked paper sensor inside your printer. Get a flashlight and check every paper sensor for a small chunk of paper. There are usually 2 sensors, 3 if equipped with duplex.
If you have a stuck jam, use a wood stick or flexible plastic to reach the paper jam. Don’t use a nail file or letter opener since they will damage your printer.
Unplug the power cord and reboot your printer. When a printer boots it will perform a self test. This test can unstick a jam. Or at least move the it enough to reach it.
In my experience common causes of paper jams stem from the feed rollers or paper issues. The feed rollers are dirty or worn. Clean or replace them.
Paper issues range from settings to the paper itself. Check the paper for too much curl, static, or humidity. Make sure the paper is loaded and the size set properly. Always fan all four edges before loading paper.
The Copier Guy, aka Dave. I’ve worked on scanners, printers, copiers, and faxes since 1994. When I’m not fixing them I’m writing about them. Although, I’m probably better at fixing them. I’ve worked with every major brand. As well as several types of processes. If it uses paper I’ve probably worked on one.