How to Fix a Doorbell
Time Required: Under 2 hours
Repairing a doorbell may seem like a difficult task, but it’s usually a simple project that only requires a few replacement parts. Most of the electrical components run on a low-voltage circuit, so there’s no need to hire an electrician if the unit needs to be rewired. Read below for doorbell troubleshooting instructions and a step-by-step guide on how to fix a doorbell.
Safety: When working with exposed wires, wear electrician's gloves. Turn off the power at the circuit breaker when indicated in the steps below.
- The first course of action to fix doorbell issues is to evaluate the button. It can wear out over time, and it’s the easiest part to replace.
- Use a screwdriver to remove the screws on the outside of the doorbell button.
- Remove the doorbell button and unscrew the connected wires.
- Gently touch the wires together and see if they prompt the doorbell to ring. If the doorbell rings, the button is the issue and needs to be replaced.
- Install the new doorbell button following the manufacturer’s instructions, making sure it’s wired the same way as the old button.
- If the doorbell does not ring after touching the wires together, move on to the next step.
- To check the chime unit, remove the cover and use a voltage meter to see if a current is flowing through the wires.
- If the current is flowing, the chime unit is likely failing and needs to be replaced. If a current does not appear on the meter, move on to the next step.
- To replace the doorbell chime, start by turning off the power on the main circuit breaker panel. Use a screwdriver to disconnect the wires from the terminals. Remove the screws holding the chime unit together and carefully pull it away from the wall.
- Slip the wires out of the housing and thread the wires through the base of the new chime unit and fasten it to the wall with mounting screws. Connect the wires to the screw terminals on the new chime unit, and make sure to match the labeled wires to the corresponding screw terminals.
- Attach the cover plate and turn on the power at the main circuit breaker panel box.
- The doorbell transformer is generally mounted on electrical junction box or wall studs in a hidden area, or near the main breaker box. Use the voltage meter to test the transformer and read the voltage output levels. If it’s producing less than 16 volts it needs to be replaced.
- Turn off the power and disconnect the wires from the transformer. The wires should be connected with screw terminals or wire connectors. Keep these for use on the new transformer.
- Gently pull out the wires and remove the connectors or electrician’s tape from the two splices that connect to the transformer. On the other side of the transformer will be two screw terminals that connect the transformer to the door button and the door chime. Use masking tape to label each wire so you will know the proper place to reattach them.
- After labeling the wires, use a screwdriver to disconnect them from the terminals. Then unscrew the mounting hardware to remove the transformer.
- Install the new transformer by threading the doorbell button wires, the door chime wires and new transformer leads through their respective openings. Use a screwdriver to attach the transformer to the mounting hardware.
- Attach the doorbell button and chime wires to the appropriate terminals according to the labels. Use wire connectors to join the wires on the transformer to the housing wiring.
- Test the voltage again to make sure the new transformer is working properly.
- If the button, chime unit and transformer are working as they should, you will need to look for a tear in the doorbell circuit wires.
- These wires may be difficult to find on your own, but if you are able to locate the broken portion, use a wire connector to patch the area and restore the connection.