With its clear bell tone that carries from room to room, a wired doorbell is often more effective than a knock when it comes to announcing visitors. However, wired doorbells sometimes malfunction, making the wrong noise, getting stuck on one continuous tone, or yielding no noise at all. When your wired doorbell has a problem, you can troubleshoot the issue yourself and escape the extra cost and hassle of hiring an electrician.
Obtain a Multimeter to Test the Wired Doorbell
The first step in troubleshooting wired doorbell problems is to locate the source of the issue. Use a multimeter to test each component of the doorbell to ensure that it receives and uses the current it needs and using that current properly. During the testing phase, you do not need to cut off the power to the doorbell system until you reach the transformer. The transformer is in charge of reducing power output from 110-120 volts down to the 10 16, or 18 volts that your doorbell requires.
Check the Exterior Button of the Wired Doorbell
Usually, when a doorbell stops working, the exterior button is at fault. However, the problem could also be the chime itself or the transformer that sends the current to the bell. To figure out which part is causing the problem, take off the screws that hold on the bell's outer panel and button. Once the panel is off, cross the wires that go to the doorbell button. If the bell rings, the button is the problem. Double-check your conclusion by placing the multimeter's test leads on the doorbell button's terminal screws to see if the needle on the multimeter moves. No movement means that you must replace the doorbell button.
Test the Current From the Wired Doorbell Transformer
Near or inside the main electrical panel for the house is the doorbell transformer. Disconnect the wires for the doorbell and put the probes of the multimeter against the terminal screws instead. The multimeter should read somewhere between 10 and 20 volts. For any reading outside that range, you need the assistance and skill of a qualified electrician who knows the safety regulations for working with 120-volt components.
Examine the Chime of the Wired Doorbell
Next, check the chime. Reconnect the wires to the doorbell transformer, keep the probes touching the doorbell wires, and have a friend or family member ring the doorbell. No current indicates faulty wiring. If the current is flowing, but no sound comes from the bell, you need to replace the chime component.
Consider a Wireless Doorbell Unit
For any of these wired doorbell problems, the simple fix is to replace the entire unit with a wireless model. This self-contained unit is easy to install. All you have to do to keep it functional is to replace the batteries from time to time.