How to Troubleshoot Sending Problems on a Fax

By Louise Balle

You'll know you're experiencing a fax sending problem if your machine displays an error or prints an error page each time you attempt to send a fax. Oftentimes when you have sending issues with a fax machine, it's a simple problem that you can resolve with a few basic troubleshooting steps. If basic troubleshooting doesn't work, your next step is to get familiar with your fax machine's warranty terms.

Check the number you are attempting to reach again to assure that you are dialing in the correct digits. You may have to dial "1," plus the area code, then the entire seven-digit number for the fax to go through correctly. Some phone lines require you to type in a special code before the number to dial out---if so, make sure you are typing in that code correctly.

Dial the number manually if you've been using a speed dialing device or pressing "redial" to see if that resolves the issue.

Attempt to send the fax to another fax number. If it goes through, then you know the problem is lies with the fax recipient you're trying to reach---call him to ask if he's having an issue with his fax machine or line. If the fax doesn't go through even at the second number, continue the troubleshooting process.

Listen closely for a dial tone after you press "Send" on the fax machine. If you do not hear one, you have a problem with your phone service (disconnected) or the phone cord is not connected securely into the fax machine. If the cord is connected but you're still not getting a dial tone, you may have to replace the phone cord itself. Make sure that the phone cord is a two-conductor cable, meaning that it has two copper conductors on the head. If it has four conductors, you have the wrong type of cable, and that could be your issue. A quick way to check your phone cable and the line is to connect it to a regular phone and see if you hear the dial tone.

Ask someone to send a fax to your machine. If it doesn't come through, there's probably a mechanical problem with the fax machine---you may have to take it to the manufacturer or a repair shop for servicing. If the fax does come through, you know it's probably not an equipment issue, but rather a problem with your sending function.

Disconnect the power cord from the back of the fax machine and from the wall as a last attempt to fix the issue. Plug it back in after about five minutes. Allow the fax machine time to reset and reinitialize before attempting to send the fax again. If it still doesn't work, the fax machine probably needs servicing.