Replacing a Doorbell

Have you ever walked up to a house, pressed the doorbell and
then waited and waited? You wonder if it rang inside at all.
Have you ever walked up to a house, pressed the doorbell and then waited and waited? You wonder if it rang inside at all.

Should you press the doorbell again? When you do, there’s still nothing. So, you tentatively knock, about to leave when the person finally opens the door.

Not only can inoperable doorbells cause you to miss the Avon lady, but they can also create awkward social situations. There are a couple reasons why a doorbell might not work. The problem could be as easy to solve as replacing the button, but it also could be something deeper in the wiring.

You may be able to clean the contacts on the old switch to get it working. Doityourself.com offers some additional things to check for if the bell still doesn’t work.

In most cases, fixing a doorbell is as easy as replacing the casing and sometimes stripping off the ends of the wire. If you want to install a new doorbell where none previously existed, the Home Improvement web (www.the-home-improvement-web.com) offers a tutorial you may want to check out.

The old doorbell case usually slides off or can be unscrewed. You can find a new button and casing kit at most hardware stores.

Bill Lewis, in his home repair section at www.about.com, says there is no need to disconnect the power before working on a doorbell because most doorbells use 12 volts DC, which are usually not powerful enough to cause shock.

Once you have the switch off, you can remove the old wires using a screwdriver. If the wires have insulation on them, trim them with a wire trimmer. If you touch the wires together hear a chime, then you know the problem is in the switch. You can now connect the strands to the switch and re-attach the doorbell to the wall.

Next week we’ll discuss some options for adding and installing a brand new doorbell.

Do you have a home improvement question or suggestion for something that has worked for you? If so, we’d love to hear it. The home improvement tip runs on Wednesdays. Send your questions and comments to [email protected] or call (408) 847-7216.

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