paper shredder not working

Is your paper shredder not working? Paper shredders have become so important in the modern workspace that when they stop working, they can put a big dent in productivity. You see, shredders increase efficiency, organization, and waste paper management. That’s why it’s so important that you accurately troubleshoot a faulty shredder, and fix it before it costs you in productivity and efficiency.

The biggest problem faced by most of us with shredders is paper jamming. That’s what you want to know about, and that’s what I will focus on in this article. I will tell you why and how paper jams happen, how to fix them, and how to prevent them from happening.

Is It Plugged In?

unplugged paper shredder not working

I know this may seem crazy but I can count several times where this was the case. I either accidentally kicked the shredder cord loose or I took it out to use the outlet for something else and didn’t plug the shredder back in.

Also did the breaker get tripped? Sometimes this can happen and you need to reset the breaker. I have seen where the outlet is a GFC outlet and it has a little red button that needs to be pushed back in.

Is It Overheated?

If you have been running your paper shredder pretty hard, it can overheat and as a protective measure, it will shut down for a bit to cool off to protect the motor and internal electronics.

The simple solution for this it to stop for awhile and let the paper shredder cool down.

Are the Sensors Clean?

Often paper shredding causes dust and that paper dust will coat the front of the sensors. Since most shredders will not operate when the sensors are tripped, you may need to clean the sensors. Check your manual to see where the sensors are on your paper shredder and how to properly clean them.

Is It Jammed?

Jammed paper shredder not working

I know you are in a hurry, that you are a super busy individual, but your paper shredder can take only so much before it starts putting up a fight. I am of course talking about the tendency of most people to overfeed their shredders with paper.

Every shredder has a set threshold, the maximum capacity it can handle without jamming. For instance, if your shredder is supposed to shred not more than 50 papers, that’s how much you should feed into the machine and no more.

Doing otherwise will cause paper jams. And if the paper jam is serious, or if the machine jams too frequently, it might result in motor damage.

Feeding paper too fast into the shredder will also cause it to jam. Just because the paper has completely disappeared into the machine does not mean that it has completely been shredded. Introducing a fresh batch while the previous one is still being worked on is liable to cause a paper jam.

But What Should You do Once Your Shredder Jams?

Step one is you unplug the machine. Doing so will ensure the jam does not worsen. It also allows you to take a step back and examine the situation, find the best solution. As the machine begins to jam, you will hear a sort of whirring noise, and the movement of the paper through the shredder will slow down or stop.

Next, empty your shredder’s wastebasket. Perhaps it’s just too full, leaving no room for the shredded pieces of paper to fall into. After you have emptied the basket, retry shredding to see if that was the problem.

If that does not work, try reversing the shredding process. Your machine has a “reverse” option. But ensure you switch to the “reverse” option when the shredder is still plugged off. If you turn on the shredder while in “reverse” mode, the machine will back up, loosening the jammed paper. You can then give the paper a tug to pull it out.

After that, revert your machine to its usual operating mode. Can the paper shredder jam when it is in “reverse” mode? Yes. And if that happens to you, unplug it once again, and switch back to the “auto” mode. With a jam that bad, you can slowly extract the paper by switching back and forth between the “auto” and “reverse” modes. This will take quite a while, though.

What Do You Do to Prevent Future Paper Jams?

1. Always clear your shredders wastepaper basket once it’s full. Sometimes the paper will jam simply because there is nowhere for it to go.

2. Reduce the capacity of paper you feed into the shredder. Machines may be inert, dead, and artificial, but in a strange, inexplicable way, they are organisms in themselves, and as such must be treated with some care. Abuse them, and they will stop functioning properly. Feeding excessive quantities of paper into the shredder will cause frequent jams and eventual damage to the motor.

3. Maybe your problem isn’t over-feeding paper into the shredder. Maybe you are fast-feeding it. That’s where you keep feeding fresh sheets of paper to the machine before it has finished working on the sheets already in the process of being shredded. Waiting a few extra seconds won’t harm you – in fact, it will save you the time you would lose if the machine jams.

Are The Blades Dull?

Can Paper Shredders Be Sharpened

Something else other than paper jams that might cause your paper shredder to cease working is dull blades. Dull blades will not get the job done correctly. They are also known to cause paper jams. If that’s the case with your shredder, sharpen the blades and oil them often.

Conclusion On Your Paper Shredder Not Working

If your paper shredder is not working properly, chances are it has a paper jam, the blades are too dull or maybe it isn’t plugged in.

Don’t forget to empty the waste basket, and never overfeed or fast-feed paper into your shredder.

And do oil and sharpen the blades, please, for best performance.

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  1. […] If it is still jammed or not working make sure to check out our article on things to check on when your shredder is not working. […]

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