I’m having trouble getting my fax machine to work right, and I was told to “check the line.” What does that mean, exactly?
Checking your fax line is just a series of tests you perform on the phone line that’s plugged into your fax machine to ensure that the problem is coming from the machine itself, rather than the line.
First, make sure that you’ve removed all extensions and splitters. If any of those are bad or failing, the whole system might not work. Then unplug the phone line from the fax machine jack but keep the other end plugged into the wall jack. Now connect the phone line to a phone and listen for a dial tone. If you don’t hear one, the problem is with the line or the jack, not your fax modem. If you do hear a dial tone, there could still be a problem with the line. There may be static, which can cause small interruptions that make faxing impossible when they happen. The phone cable could be coiled in a way that also causes intermittent failure. The only way to test those possibilities is with a professional who can check your phone line and make sure that the wiring is good.
Once you’re sure the phone line is good, plug it back into your fax machine. Make sure that you plug your phone line into the correct jack: It should say “Line In.” Then send a test fax to a friend and call them to see if they got it. Have them send a test in return.