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Copier Enemies - Killer Humidity - blog post graphic

The copiers and printers that most businesses use every day are easy to take for granted. However, they are actually very complicated machines that move at extremely high speeds, feeding very thin sheets of paper through printing assemblies that place millions of microscopic dots on them in a matter of just a few seconds. Printing processes are actually very sensitive and one of the biggest outside factors that can impact their ultimate quality is the humidity in which they print.

Regardless of the type of copier or printer you are using, humidity affects paper. While paper is naturally very dry, air that is too dry can further dry out the paper, making it prone to static electricity, which can cause it to jam. High humidity, on the other hand, dampens the paper, which also causes jams as well as diminished print quality.

Laser printers and copiers have a different set of issues that stem from their fusers, which use heat to melt toner particles onto paper. Paper designed for laser printers is typically dryer than regular paper, since wet paper releases moisture as it passes through the hot fuser. When you have high humidity levels, the dry paper absorbs more moisture, increasing the chance that the water in it will boil unevenly as it goes through the fuser, creating wrinkles. At the same time, the toner will not stick to the paper as well when it is wet.

The first step in understanding if you have a moisture problem is to measure the amount of moisture in the air with a hygrometer. If your air is moister than 60 percent humidity, consider installing a dehumidifier in the area around your printer. You can also keep your paper safe from the environment by storing it off the ground in an area that is at a similar temperature to where you keep your printer. Because many paper wrappers contain moisture blocking coatings, storing your paper in its ream wrapper until you need to print on it can also help a great deal.