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Replace a Doorbell Button

Does your silent doorbell make visitors think no one is home? Fix it fast with a stylish, easy-to-install replacement button.

New doorbell button.

Tools & Materials

Product costs, availability and item numbers may vary online or by market.

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Selecting Your Replacement Doorbell Button

Replacement doorbell button.

Before you shop, consider the following tips:

  • Doorbell buttons have two different profiles as seen from the back. One requires a hole in the siding to accommodate the button (left); the other sits flush with the siding (right). Check your existing doorbell to see which one you have.
  • While you’re choosing a new doorbell button, have a look at the doorbell power transformers near the doorbell display. These turn 120-volt house current into a safer, low-voltage current to power the doorbell. Knowing what they look like will make yours easier to spot when you get home so you can switch off power to it.
  • The mounting holes for your new doorbell may not line up with the existing holes. So, if your doorbell attaches to a brick, stucco, or masonry wall, buy a replacement with identical screw spacing or pick up a masonry drill bit and the smallest wall anchors that will accept the new doorbell button mounting screws.

Remove the Old Doorbell Button

Step 1

When working with electricity always:

  • Turn OFF electricity at the main fuse box (or circuit breaker box) that controls the power to the fixture or the room you're working on.
  • Test the wires to ensure the power is OFF.
  • Place the wall switch in the OFF position.
  • All electrical connections must be in agreement with local codes. Check with local authorities to see if a permit is required.
  • If in doubt, contact a qualified electrician.

 

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.

 

Caution

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for safety, warning and caution information.

Good to Know

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.

Step 2

Remove old doorbell button.

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.

Step 3

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.

Install the New Doorbell Button

Step 1

Installl doorbell button.

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.

Step 2

Install a doorbell button.

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.

Step 3

Install a doorbell button.

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.