Security experts recommend setting a regular schedule for shredding your personal documents to keep them out of the hands of identity thieves. However, many of us wait until our “to be shredded” pile grows. And then we're forced to shred for hours. But this glut of shredding can sometimes overtax shredders, which aren’t always designed for high-frequency document destruction and tend to heat up. Smart shredders need to set a strategy of either doing their shredding over a long period of time or finding ways to cool the device down.
1. Check your shredder
user manual to find out your shredder’s duty cycle, which is the recommended time for continuous shredding and also the recommended time to cool down your shredder’s motor so you can begin scanning again. If you can't find the manual, visit the manufacturer's website and look for safety recommendations. Manufacturer supul says cycle time varies between makes and models, but a common range for many brands is between 15 and 30 minutes.
2. Schedule your shredding under this duty cycle amount. Occasional shredding in shorter bursts of time will keep the machine from overheating, compared to continuous operation which will cause the shredder to heat faster.
3. Turn your shredder off and unplug it after every use. This will keep it from accidentally re-engaging or continuing to heat up after a shredding session.
4. Wait even longer than the minimum recommend duty cycle if your machine heats up to the point where it stops working. Aurora, another shredder manufacturer, suggests waiting 30 minutes to an hour between overheated shredding cycles to allow it to fully reset. The longer the wait, the cooler your motor will be the next time, which guarantees a longer cycle the next round. Likewise, the shorter the cool-down time, the shorter the next shredding cycle will be, since the motor may not have sufficiently cooled.
5. Remove any obstructions which could slow the motor further when the power is off. Obstructions in the shredder's passageway, such as lodged paper or plastic, will put additional stress on an already stressed-out motor.
Some shredders have a Thermal Overload Protection feature, which makes a machine stop at a certain point to prevent it from overheating. If your shredder doesn't have this feature, make sure that you don't shred documents for long periods of time. Otherwise, the motor may burn out, permanently disabling the shredder.
Electrocution or fire danger is possible if an overheated scanner remains turned on and plugged in. Shreddersource, a shredding resource, also discourages cleaning scanners with canned air, especially if the device is warm. Possible gasses in the air could ignite with heat from the machine.