Fax or facsimile machines are usually found in homes with home offices. Fax equipment, fax printers, and fax supplies, are inexpensive and most machines are used as regular phones. Fax machines are easy to maintain, with relatively cheap repair and service needed. With the introduction of fax software, Internet faxing has become convenient, but reviews show that most users still prefer the regular fax machines.
There are two types of fax machines differentiated as plain paper or thermal. Thermal fax machines have a thermal fax printer whose heating components print rows of dots on a roll of heat-sensitive thermal paper. Plain paper fax machines on the other hand have laser or ink-jet printers that print out the documents sent to or from another fax.
Both machine types contain very few serviceable parts. To prevent problems and extend the use of your machine, conduct routine maintenance checks. Always use quality fax supplies. Regularly clean the interior of your machine with canned air and denatured alcohol. Keep your fax machine away from heat sources to avoid the paper, chemicals, or toner from drying out.
If your fax unit suddenly does not send or receive documents:
- First check and tighten the connection from your phone line and other line connections going to your fax.
- Check your phone line using a regular telephone to get a dial tone.
- Test if the electric cords and the power outlet are functioning.
- Make sure the telephone line is plugged into the right fax port.
- Test if your telephone wall jack works.
If your fax can send but does not receive, or receives documents but cannot send out, check the phone line connections and the lamp to see if it has burnt out and needs replacement.
If you see blank spots or marks on your incoming documents, open the fax cover and gently clean the glass with a lint-free cloth dampened with denatured alcohol.
If you are using a plain paper fax and marks are left on your original documents, open the fax cover and remove the spilled toner. Clean dirty corona wires and check if the drum is damaged and needs to be replaced. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when replacing any fax equipment parts.
If you cannot print from a thermal fax, clean the thermal head with a lint-free cloth with denatured alcohol. Check that the coated side of the thermal paper is properly placed in the machine.
To regularly service your thermal fax:
- Unplug your fax printer from the incoming telephone line and power source.
- Carefully open the cover and wipe the platen using a dampened cloth with denatured alcohol.
- Let the platen thoroughly dry.
- Use canned air and a brush to remove accumulated dust and dirt from the paper trough.
- Carefully wipe with a lint-free cloth, the mirrors and the exposure lens.
- Replace the exposure lens and bulb with identical models when needed.
If your fax machine still does not properly function, decide if it is worth having the unit repaired or replaced with a new model. Review the cost of the service charge, replacement parts and fax supplies. If the existing model is cheap it is better to get new fax equipment. Have it repaired if the cost of the replacement value is higher than the service charge and it does not need new parts. The parts that usually wear out are the separation pad found in the automatic document feeder and the paper feed rollers. Also explore Internet faxing making use of fax software.