- Ideas & How-Tos
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Does your silent doorbell make visitors think no one is home? Fix it fast with a stylish, easy-to-install replacement button.
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Before you shop, consider the following tips:
When working with electricity always:
In the basement or crawl space directly beneath your front door, look for a thin wire (thinner than electrical wire, anyway). Follow it to the doorbell transformer, which may be attached to an electrical junction box or even directly to the breaker box. Shut off power to that electrical box, and check for current at the transformer using a voltage meter.
Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for safety, warning and caution information.
Light fixtures with pull-chain switches usually mount on electrical boxes. These boxes always have electricity running through their wires and are attached to joists in the open, making them perfect power sources for doorbell transformers.
Remove the screws from the existing doorbell. If the doorbell was caulked sometime in the past, use a utility knife to cut through the caulk before removing the button.
To keep water, dirt, and bugs out of your doorbell button, mount it flat against the siding with no gaps. If necessary, scrape off rough spots, caulk, or other obstructions that keep the back of the doorbell from resting flat against the house.
Attach a clip or locking pliers to the wire if there’s the chance it will accidentally fall behind the siding. Loosen the two screws holding the doorbell wires to the button on the back, disconnect the wires, and discard the old button.
Don’t worry if you forget which wire was on the top or bottom of the doorbell button. The order isn’t important for installing the new switch.
If your doorbell includes a mounting plate, hold it vertically against the siding while you mark the mounting screw locations with a scratch awl. If your siding allows, use the awl to make pilot holes about 1/4-in. deep. Otherwise, drill pilot holes with a 1/16-in. bit and screw the plate to the siding.
Use needle-nose pliers to bend a J-loop in the ends of the bare wires. Slip one wire loop around a loosened screw on the back of the new doorbell button and tighten the screw to hold the wire in place. Do the same for the second wire and check that both are solidly attached.
Screw the doorbell button to the siding or attach it to the mounting plate, making sure the wires are completely concealed. Switch on the power to the transformer and check the doorbell button to make sure it operates correctly.
If your doorbell doesn’t work or light up (for illuminated models), use a voltage meter to check the power output from the transformer. Most produce 10 or 16 volts. Shut off power to the transformer and replace the transformer following the manufacturer’s instructions.