Install a Doorbell
Alan Bryant - Oakhurst, CA

Hardwarian Alan Bryant

True Value Home Center

Oakhurst, CA

Install a Doorbell

Level: Beginner

Installing a doorbell is a home improvement project that requires little investment and less than an hour of your time. You have a few options when it comes to doorbells. Wireless units are the easiest to install but hard-wired doorbells are also common. If you opt for a hard-wired doorbell, it will take a little more work, but both projects are relatively simple and a great undertaking for any do-it-yourselfer.

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  • Install a Wireless Doorbell

    Installing a wireless doorbell is very simple and can be done in a matter of minutes. The transmitter and receiver run on batteries, so you don't have to worry about wiring. If installing a wireless unit on a home with no doorbell, skip to Step 3. Start with Step 1 if replacing a nonworking unit.

    • Step 1: Turn Off Power

      Make sure to turn off the circuit breaker that supplies power to the old doorbell. Even though most doorbells are wired with a low-voltage transformer, there is still the danger of electric shock.

      Backtrack the doorbell wires until you find the transformer, usually mounted on an existing electrical box. Disconnect the low-voltage wires by removing them from the screw terminals. Open the box cover and locate the wires that connect the transformer to the existing house wiring. The transformer wires could be either two black wires or a black and white wire.

      After confirming that power is off, disconnect the transformer wires and replace any wire connectors that were removed during the process. Replace the box cover. Turn the circuit breaker back on to make sure the transformer is no longer supplying power. Secure disconnected wires to the wall or ceiling to prevent them from getting in the way.

      If at any time you are unsure of the procedures listed above, please seek help from a qualified electrician.

      Helpful Tip

      Using a voltage tester is a simple way to confirm that the power is off.

    • Step 2: Remove the Old Doorbell Button

      Next you'll have to go outdoors to remove the old doorbell button. Again, it's important to make sure the circuit breaker is off. Remove the screws and pull the button away from the door jamb to expose the low-voltage wiring. Detach the wires from the button by loosening the screws and removing the wires. Push the old wires back into the door jamb and seal the hole with a suitable caulking material. Paint the repaired hole with a matching paint of your choice.

    • Step 3: Install New Transmitter Button and Indoor Receiver

      Place batteries in the new transmitter (doorbell button) and attach the transmitter next to your door. You can attach the button using screws or adhesive. Some door chimes have coded transmitting and receiving units; so check the manufacturer's instructions to see if you need to set a code on either or both units of your doorbell.

      In the instructions, also look for the maximum distance between the transmitter and receiver. With this distance in mind, place the receiver (chime) in location that is convenient and within the maximum distance from the transmitter. If the receiver plugs in, place the receiver near a convenient outlet. If it's battery operated, place batteries in the unit and attach the receiver to a convenient wall inside your home. Test to make sure the doorbell works.

      Helpful Tip

      Depending on the allocated distance on your new doorbell's packaging, you can have several receivers in different areas of your home. Some doorbells also allow for a front and back door installation.

    Install a Wired Doorbell

    A hard-wired doorbell runs off your household current. The bell is wired to the chime through the walls. Wired doorbells are more common than wireless models and can be found in older as well as newer homes.

    • Step 1: Turn Off Power
      electrical tester

      Following Step 1 from Installing a Wireless Doorbell, use a circuit tester to make sure the power is off, but don't remove any wires at this time.

    • Step 2: Remove the Old Switch

      Follow directions from Step 2 above for a wireless doorbell.

    • Step 3: Install the New Switch

      Tape the wires to the wall so they don't accidentally slide back into the hole. Disconnect the wires from the old switch before connecting the wires to the screw terminals on the new switch. It doesn't matter which wires go to which terminal. Remove the tape from the new wires, putting them back onto the wall so the new switch sits flush against the wall where the old switch was. Install the switch using screws provided.

    • Step 4: Install the New Chime
      new doorbell

      Locate the old chime unit in your house and remove it by taking out the mounting screws. Pull the unit away from the wall and secure the wires with tape. Remove the wires one at a time and tape each to the wall, labeling the screw location from which it was removed. Discard the old unit and remove the cover from the new chime unit. Thread the wires through the base of the unit and install the base against the wall with the mounting screws. Connect the wires to the appropriate terminals using the labels as a guide. Attach the cover to the chime unit and restore power to the circuit.

      Congratulations! You have successfully installed a doorbell.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

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