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Door Bell Problems

A doorbell is a low voltage device that is powered by a transformer that converts high voltage into 10 or 12 volts to activate the bell. There are many reasons why a doorbell may stop working. It could be a problem with the transformer, a fault with the simple circuitry inside the doorbell or something else. A step-by-step process of elimination will help discover the nature of the problem. However, if you are not at ease working with an electrical fault, it’s sensible to call an electrician to fix it.

Listed below are a few questions answered by the electricians on problems related to doorbells.

My doorbell at home isn’t working. Should I buy a new one or check the transformer that controls it?

In most cases, the button that operates the doorbell is where the problem lies. Take the button off and bring the wires in contact with each other to check if the chime still works. If it seems to work fine, inspect the transformer. Use a metal object to brush across the terminals and look for a spark. If you don’t find a spark, it is possible that there is no power coming in or that the transformer has gone bad. Use a two wire voltage tester to check for power. If all the above seems to be working fine, it could be a problem with the chime. Examine the plungers and, if they aren’t moving freely, use lighter fluid to clean and lubricate them.

When someone rings my neighbor’s doorbell, my front doorbell rings as well. Can you tell me why this could be happening?

It’s quite possible that both of you bought doorbells with remote wireless units that have the same transmission frequency. To fix this, one of you need to either buy a new doorbell or change the existing frequency to a new one.

The doorbell at the back of the house rings while the bell at the front lights up without ringing. How can I fix this?

Case details: I replaced the chime unit and the transformer to stop a humming sound but it didn’t help. Then I located a damaged wire at the button that leads to the back door and repaired it. Now the button lights up but there’s a problem with the chime.

This could mean that either the wires that connect to the chime are faulty or that the chime is “pulling current”. When power flows to the chime, a small coil inside creates a magnetic field that automatically lifts the striker and makes the chime ring. Watch this movement by asking someone to press the doorbell button. If there is an absence of movement, there could be a problem with the line from the button to the chime. You could run a new wire or follow the wire in the attic to detect the fault. Alternatively, you could buy a door chime that uses a RF signal and not wires.

My original doorbell wire needs to be extended since it’s too short to connect to the new one. How can I do this?

You can splice a wire onto this to extend it since it’s a low voltage device. This can either be done with a butt splice, a wire nut or even a scotch lock connector. A home improvement center or your local electricity supply house should stock all of these.

In cases where a wired doorbell does not stop ringing, it may be possible that the wires to the button have shorted or the button is stuck. To fix this, start by switching off the power and remove the button. Disconnect one of the wires inside and check if the ringing stops once the power is turned on. If it seems ok, then it’s possible that the button is faulty and needs to be replaced. If the ringing persists, switch off the power again and check for frayed insulation or a sign of bare wires coming in contact with each other. Cover this with electrician’s tape if this is the case. Finally, if none of this seems to be the cause of the problem, it’s possible that the wires need to be replaced. Take the help of an expert if you are not sure of fixing the problem yourself.

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