How to Install a Doorbell
Time Required: 2-4 hours
Learning how to install a doorbell is a useful skill to have. You can replace a doorbell that has broken or upgrade to a fresh new look and sound. Doorbell systems may be wired, which are connected to your home’s electrical system, or wireless, which are usually battery-powered and transmit a radio signal to the chime.
Doorbell systems consist of a button, a transformer and a chime unit. These components can be replaced independently of each other. However, you may find it most cost effective to replace all the components. Doorbell kits can make this easier, since a kit contains everything you need to upgrade the whole system.
This guide will show you how to remove a doorbell and how to install a doorbell, including the button, transformer and receiver. As you work on your project, be sure to consult any manufacturer’s instructions for your new doorbell.
How to Remove a Wired Doorbell
- When you remove a wired doorbell, first turn off the power at your home’s circuit breaker.
- Use a screwdriver to remove the mounting screws that secure the doorbell cover. If they are not visible, you may have to unsnap the cover to reach them.
- Carefully pull the button housing away from the wall.
- Use a voltage tester to check the wires to ensure the power is off.
- Disconnect the wires from the button.
- If you are replacing the doorbell with another wired doorbell, use masking tape to tape the wires to the wall to keep them from falling into the wall cavity.
- If you are replacing the doorbell with a wireless doorbell and won’t need the wires, wrap the ends of wire with electrical tape and tuck them back into the wall.
- If the new doorbell button cover does not completely cover the area where the old housing was, you’ll need to fill the hole with wood putty, allow it to dry, and then sand and paint.
- If you’re replacing the chime unit, remove its cover and check the wires with a voltage tester to ensure no power is running through them. Disconnect the wires. Unscrew the chime unit and remove it from the wall. Tape the wires aside as you did for the button wires.
- If you are changing to a wireless doorbell, you won’t need to use the doorbell transformer. You can disconnect it yourself or have a qualified electrician disconnect it for you. The transformer may be inside a junction box behind the chime unit or near other electrical components in the basement or attic.
How to Remove a Wireless Doorbell
- Remove the wireless doorbell button from its mounting bracket. Set the button aside.
- Use a screwdriver to remove the mounting bracket.
- If you are replacing the chime unit (also known as the receiver for wireless doorbells), remove it from its mounting bracket as well. You may need a step ladder to reach it.
- Remove the batteries from both the doorbell button and the receiver. Recycle the batteries safely.
- Reuse the wires you taped aside earlier.
- Attach the two wires to the two screws on the back of the doorbell button. To do this, slightly loosen the screws. Hook each wire around a screw. Tighten the screws until the wires are secure.
- Mount the doorbell. If the old doorbell’s screw holes are too large or do not match those of the new doorbell, then you will have to patch the wall and drill new holes.
- If you have a doorbell cover, place the cover over the button and install according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If you are not replacing the transformer or chime unit, turn the power back on at your home’s circuit breaker.
- Test the doorbell button.
The chime unit should be in a central location of your home, where it can easily be heard, typically a family room. If you have a large house or multiple doorbells, you may have more than one chime unit. In this section, we cover how to install a doorbell chime unit for a wired system.
- If you haven’t already, turn off the power at the circuit breaker.
- Remove the cover on the existing chime unit.
- Use a voltage tester to ensure no electricity is running through the chime unit.
- Usually the chime unit has screw terminals that are labeled “Front,” “Rear” and “Trans,” which indicate the front doorbell wire, rear doorbell wire (if you have one) and transformer wire respectively. Use tape to label these wires accordingly so you can remember which is which.
- Loosen the screw terminals and disconnect the wires.
- Unscrew the chime unit and carefully remove it from the wall.
- Thread the wires through the back of the new chime unit.
- Mount the new chime unit to the wall according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Connect the wires to their appropriate screw terminals. Tighten the screws to secure them.
- Put the cover on the chime unit.
- If you are not replacing the transformer, turn the power back on at your home’s circuit breaker.
- Ring the doorbell to test the chime unit.
Wiring a doorbell transformer is more complex than replacing a doorbell button or chime unit. This section will cover how to replace a transformer. If you need to know how to install a transformer for the first time, call a qualified electrician.
- Turn off power at the circuit breaker and use a voltage tester to ensure no electricity is running through the transformer before you begin.
- Take a photo of your existing transformer’s wire connections so you remember their placement. On one side, the transformer will have three wires that connect to your home’s power. Usually they are connected by wire nuts. On the other side, the transformer will have two screw terminals connected to two doorbell wires.
- Disconnect the three wires that connect the transformer to your home’s power.
- Disconnect the two doorbells wires that are screwed into the transformer’s screw terminals.
- Remove the transformer.
- Mount the new transformer in the junction box. Use a transformer with at least 16-volts AC and 30 volt-amps or the transformer that came with your doorbell kit.
- Connect the three household power wires to the matching colored wires on the transformer using wire nuts. Secure the connection with electrical tape.
- Connect the two doorbell wires to the two screw terminals. Typically, it does not matter which wire goes to which terminal.
- Turn the power back on at the breaker.
Installing a wireless doorbell is easier than wiring a doorbell, especially when you use a wireless doorbell kit. Wireless doorbell kits include the doorbell button(s) and the receiver(s).
- Find a location for the doorbell receiver. Check your doorbell’s specifications to determine the maximum distance the receiver can be located from the door button. The receiver is a chime unit, so make sure you put it in a location where it’s easy to hear.
- Plug the receiver into a standard electrical outlet. If you have multiple receivers, determine the other locations and plug them in.
- If your receiver operates on batteries, place the batteries in the unit and attach it to a wall or wherever you choose, using screws that come with your installation kit.
- At your front door, install the mounting bracket for the doorbell button. If possible, reuse the screw holes from your last doorbell. Otherwise, patch the old holes and drill new screw holes.
- Place batteries in the doorbell button.
- Attach the doorbell button to its mounting bracket.
- Some wireless doorbells have coded transmitting and receiving units to block interfering frequencies, so check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if you need to set a code on either one, or both units, of your doorbell.
- Test the doorbell.
Smart doorbells can be either wired or wireless. Installing a smart doorbell follows the same steps as a traditional wired or wireless doorbell. Below are some tips to help you set up a smart doorbell system:
- Make sure your smartphone is compatible with the smart doorbell you choose.
- Download the mobile app associated with your smart doorbell to your smartphone.
- Sync the doorbell to your home’s Wi-Fi and your smartphone.
- Many smart doorbells can also connect to smart TVs, Google Home and Amazon Echo. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for connecting to these devices.
- If you want multiple members of your household to receive notifications from the doorbell, you will have to add them as a user through the doorbell’s app.
- Smart doorbell receivers typically have video and touch screen controls. If this is true for your model, make sure you put the receiver in an easily accessible location.
Now that you know how to install a doorbell of any type, you can update your home’s doorbell at any time. See a doorbell you like? Find products fast with image search in The Home Depot Mobile App. Snap a picture of a doorbell you like and we'll show you similar products.