Fax machines are paper jam magnets. If you need to fax on a regular basis, you’ll agree with us that it’s very common to deal with a fax machine that keeps jamming! This problem is extremely frustrating, especially when you are in a hurry and have to receive a fax ASAP.
The first thing you should do is read your fax machine’s user manual. Head straight to the troubleshooting section and keep at hand all the information you need to fix the problem. Since paper jams are a common issue, manuals include a section detailing the best way to remove the paper.
If you don’t have the manual at hand, here are a few steps you can take to fix it:
Step 1: Relax!
Before you do anything, I would advise you to take a deep breath and relax. I know it sounds corny, but it is much easier to take care of frustrating stuff from a place of calm. Once you have taken a few relaxing breaths it’s time to move on.
Step 2: Check the Machine to See What’s Happened
The second step is determining the magnitude of the problem.
You can fix a common paper jam without having to turn the machine off; this is best course of action in the majority of cases. Paper may be stuck, but fax machines come with a small internal memory that stores the last fax you have received. This will help you avoid having to begin the transmission all over again.
If you have a more serious situation in your hands, or if you smell that your fax machine is overheating, it may be an electrical problem, so it’s best to simply turn off or unplug the machine and request the aid of a technician. You may have a faulty machine in your office.
Paper Jams on the Document Feed Area
These type of paper jams occur when trying to send a fax. This area is usually located on top of the machine, so the document is scanned while it’s traveling down the machine.
If the paper jam is located on the paper feeding area:
Carefully open the top cover following the machine’s manual instructions.
Take out the stuck document. The best way to do this is by following it’s path; this will avoid forcing the machine on the other direction. You don’t want to pull the document with excessive force or you may risk breaking small parts inside your fax machine. You could also end up with tiny pieces of paper inside the machine, which can cause further problems in the future!
Paper Jams on the Document Printing Area
These are the most common types of paper jams, and they are slightly more complicated to fix than the ones that occur on the feeding area. In modern fax machines the printing area is opened through another section.
If the document has jammed while printing a fax:
Again, carefully open the machine. The way you do this may vary depending on the model of your fax machine; there are office fax machines that can be opened through the top or the sides to help you take out the paper easily.
Now, take out the toner and locate the exact place where jamming has occurred.
Take out the document softly, trying not to use excessive force.
- Make sure there are no tiny pieces of paper in your fax machine before using it again. Take out the paper sheet and see that there are no missing pieces. Even the smallest paper can cause problems.
- It’s always a good idea to take out the paper following the dispensing direction. Fax machines, with all of its small components, are meant to move the paper one-way. You will avoid making your life harder by ripping the paper or pulling the machine.
- Run a test page. Once you have removed all pieces of paper from your fax machine, try printing the fax once again or run a test page to make sure your fax machine is working correctly again. Don’t wait until you are receiving a transmission!
- Pull the paper slowly. Even if it takes a few more seconds, you should take out jammed paper slowly. Taking out ripped paper will take much more. No yanking.
- If after following all the steps, your fax machines keeps jamming, the issue may be the paper you are using. It only costs a small amount of extra money to buy high-quality fax paper. There also may be other tiny things stuck in the machine such as paper clips, staples or pen caps.
How to Avoid Paper Jams
Now that you know how to solve your problem, we want to teach you how you can avoid it:
- Check your paper. Avoid paper that it’s either ripped, has been used to print a document before, or is crumbled somewhere. New, quality paper can reduce fax machine problems dramatically.
- Check your office’s humidity levels. Excessive humidity can make papers stick together, especially if they are low-quality.
- Keep your fax machine in good shape. Like any other machine, it will need maintenance once in while to work smoothly, this includes cleaning it with a canister of compressed air and taking out any tiny piece of paper that has been left there from a previous jam. Refer to your manual for maintenance instructions.
- Replace your fax machine. If you have an old fax machine, and it keeps jamming, it may be suffering from the passage of time. You should consider replacing it for a newer model, or use the option below.
Say Good Bye to Paper Jams Forever With Online Fax
The best way to say good-bye once and for all to paper jams is by switching to digital online fax. This technology will allow you to work with digital files that you can read on your computer without having to print them.
This is the ultimate solution to paper jams. Instead of receiving fax through a fax machine you are going to do it through your email. Incoming documents are converted into PDFs and forwarded to your email address in just seconds, and the best of all is that a 100% automatic process.
Getting started with online fax is easy and will save you a lot of headaches from paper jams. For more information you can check out our tutorials.