Problems with Doorbells
|What's more frustrating than trying to ring a doorbell and that doesn't work. You're waiting for someone to answer but they don't even know
you're there. Well, if the ding-dong is dead at your home, it may just need to be repaired instead of being completely replaced. This is relatively
easy to do and can save you time and money.
What do you do if your doorbell doesn't ring at all or doesn't sound right? The repair may be as simple as giving certain parts a good cleaning, repairing
defective wires or replacing a part. The key pieces you need to check for repairing and cleaning are the bell unit, connecting bell wires and transformer.
|Tools and Materials you need:
- Cotton swabs
- Rubbing alcohol
- Electrical tape
- Wire connectors
- Fine grit sand paper
- Emery board
- Old toothbrush
- Lighter fluid
| A Doorbell
that Doesn't Ring
Step 1: Check Doorbell Button
If your doorbell doesn't make any sound at all, there might be a problem with the button instead of the doorbell unit. The button can easily be
damaged by weather and dirt so it is important that it be replaces or checked if there is a problem. Remove the cover and clean the contacts using
sandpaper or an emery board. Use a screwdriver to pry up the contacts to make the bell ring. (See picture left) If this does not work, remove the
button. Disconnect the wires and touch their ends together. If the bell sounds, your problem is in the button and it needs to be replaced. If the
bell does not sound or sounds faintly, there may be a problem in the bell unit.
| Step 2: Check
Bells or chimes won't ring if the wires are loose at the sound unit or at the transformer. Check the wires at both areas. Wrap the wires in electrical
tape if frayed and tighten them if loose. (See picture left) Make sure none of the exposed wires are damaged and they are connected to the bell
| Step 3: Check
To make sure the transformer is working, restore power to the circuit that the transformer is connected to. The transformer is usually located on
the junction box in the basement or near the circuit box. Set a multi-tester on ACV scale with a 50-volt range, then touch the transformer's low
voltage terminals with the multi-tester's probes. If there is a no voltage signal on the register then the transformer needs to be replaced. (See
piture left) You can also use an auto light to test if the transformer is working. Just connect the auto light bulb to the transformers using short
wires. If the bulb does not light up, the transformer needs to be replaced. Ask you local electrical supply store for the right model.
| A Doorbell
that Doesn't Make a Normal Sound
Step 1: Check Clappers or Plungers
Bells or chimes usually don't work if their clappers or plungers are dirty. If your doorbell is dirty, the ring usually sounds muffled or muted.
Take off the cover to the chimes or bells and inspect the points that strike the chime or bell for dirt. When the gong and clappers on a doorbell
unit or the plungers on a mechanical chime unit get dirty and dusty, dip a cotton swab in alcohol to clean them. You can also use an old toothbrush
and lighter fluid on the clappers and plungers. These parts look like springs or coils on both the doorbell unit and the chime unit. (See picture
Do not clean electric chimes because it will ruin them
| Step 2: Check
Rubber Grommets in Chimes
If the rubber grommets attached to the chimes are hard or brittle, it can result in very muted tones when the chimes are rung. Replacing the grommets
can give a clear ring to your chimes. Rubber grommets can be found at any electrical supply store. You simply attach the grommets to the support
holes of the tone bars. (See picture left)
|Step 3: Install a Transformer with Greater Low-voltage Output
If you have more than one bell or chime connected to one transformer, the sound of the ring may be weak or delayed. A transformer with greater low-voltage
output will give the both doorbells enough power the ring clearly. Ask you local electrical supply store for assistance when choosing this new transformer.
When working with the transformer, turn off the power source and only touch the wires on their insulated covering
Don't worry about turning off the power unless you are working with the transformer. Since the doorbell uses such low voltage, there is a very low
chance you will get any electrical shock.
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