Fax Feeding In Multiple Sheets At Once

My company’s main fax machine has started sucking in more then one sheet of paper at a time. It’s really annoying. Do you know what could be going on? I’m trying to avoid paying for a service call, because we’ve had the fax for a couple of years and the service contract just expired.

Your fax machine is not extra hungry. There’s probably something wrong with the automatic document feeder (ADF). When the ADF stops doing its job right and takes in more than one sheet at one time, it’s called “multi-feeding,” “multi-page pulling” or “double feeding.”

It’s possible that there’s something stuck inside the machine (such as a paper clip or Post-It note or maybe a wayward cockroach) that’s causing the misfeed. Or, you could be trying to load in a type of paper the fax just can’t handle, such as cardstock. But if the machine is a couple of years old, and has endured moderate to heavy use, it’s more likely that the separation pad—a piece on many fax models that separates one sheet of paper from another—is wearing out. If you feel comfortable getting all up in your fax machine’s grill, open the cover over the ADF and locate the small rubber pad. Grooves in the pad are signs of wear. You can either (a) experiment with flipping the pad over to see if you can get some more use out of it, or, (b) order a replacement pad from the manufacturer. A replacement pad for a commercial-quality laser fax machine runs from $5 to $45, depending on the machine make and model. You might also need a separation pad holder.

I can’t guarantee replacing or adjusting the separation pad will fix your problem, but I’m willing to bet the machine won’t be multi-feeding much longer.

With all this being said, unless you or someone in your company is especially handy and comfortable messing with expensive office equipment, this might be a good time to invest in a service call and have an expert give your fax machine a cleaning and overall tune-up. If the separation pad is worn out, it’s quite possible the ADF feed rollers and other parts need some attention as well.

Do you have a question about faxing? Send me your fax question.