My Fax Won't Receive

by Patrick PhelpsUpdated September 26, 2017
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When a fax machine does not receive incoming faxes, a business can miss out on critical documents that it relies on to function. Though fax machines are complicated machines, the process of troubleshooting can be followed by most. It is always advisable to have a certified fax machine technician work on the problem, but if one is not available or is too expensive, there are a number of steps you can try to troubleshoot your fax machine.

Test the phone line. Unplug the fax machine from the phone line and plug a telephone into the wall jack. If there is no dial tone, the issue is with the phone line and not the fax machine.

Check the paper supply. Open the paper drawer and make sure that there is paper for the fax machine to print to. Replenish if empty.

Check for and clear any paper jams. Open the fax machine's covers and look to see if any paper is jammed. When jammed, a fax machine may still receive faxes, but will not be able to print them until the jam is cleared.

Check the toner or ink levels. Remove either the toner cartridge or ink container to check for levels. If empty, replace and test the fax machine.

Clean the inside of the fax machine. Open the cover of the fax machine, and, using a can of compressed air, blow out any paper dust, dirt or spilled toner. Dirt and spilled toner can prevent the fax machine from being able to print out received faxes. Wipe up any residual dirt with a slightly damp cloth.

Clean print heads. Many fax machines have a service or maintenance mode that will allow you to run a print head-cleaning process. Print heads that are jammed will not be able to put toner or ink onto paper and will result in blank pages coming out of the machine.

Items you will need

  • Damp cloth

  • Compressed air


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About the Author

Patrick Phelps began writing professionally in 1996 and has completed writing projects for many businesses, including the University of Southern California, Richard Emmott Marketing in the U.K. and Rydax Systems. Phelps holds a Bachelors of Arts in English and business management from LeMoyne College and is continuing his education in business management at State University of New York, Saratoga Springs.

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