Have you had to resort to people knocking on your front door instead of using the doorbell?
The broken doorbell that you’ve meaning to fix for months now?
Believe it or not, a doorbell that needs fixing is pretty common.
In the past, doorbells used buzzers or single bells to alert homeowners.
Doorbells “modernized” over time to include chimes, which came with two chime plates that produced the familiar “ding-dong.”
Today, many “doorbells” are digital, with wireless doorbells becoming used more and more in newer homes.
This article focuses on how to fix an “analog” doorbell not working from the most recent era; the doorbell chimes.
As homes that were equipped with this type of doorbell age, so do the parts of their functional system.
Many factors are involved when a doorbell is broken.
Fortunately, though, each of the possible causes of a doorbell not working can be checked pretty quickly and easily.
This helps you narrow down the problem so that you know what to clean, repair or replace.
Below are some common problems for doorbells that need to be repaired.
Keep in mind, that if all else fails, or you don’t want to spend the time on a doorbell repair project you can purchase a wireless doorbell system for relatively cheap.
Doorbell Chime Not Working
If you press the doorbell button and nothing happens, the first thing to check is the fuse or a tripped circuit breaker.
If you verified the fuse/breaker is ok, then the issue is in the button itself, the bell or chimes, the doorbell transformer, or the wiring.
Check the button first as this is usually outside, exposed to the elements.
Anything is possible with the button to cause a doorbell to stop working.
Remove Doorbell Button Cover
Unscrew the button from the wall and make sure that you see two wires touching. You may have to pry off the cover plate to get access.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to cut the power to inspect these wires.
Check Doorbell Wires and Button
Reconnect any loose wiring to their terminal screws.
If this doesn’t solve the problem, disconnect the wires and touch them together, holding them by their insulation (plastic part).
If you hear a ring, then you know everything from the wiring is good but the button and its ability to perform its job has become defective.
You can simply replace the button with a new one like this popular replacement model:
Repair Wiring if Needed
See if you can straighten and clean the terminals and contacts where this wires connect to.
Use sand paper or an emery board to remove any corrosion or oxidation.
If after you reconnect the wires, the button doesn’t produce a ding-dong sound, then you’ll need to replace the doorbell button completely (see above option you can buy).
Check Doorbell Chime Box
If your button is fine, remember, the problem could also be the in the bell or chime box.
Remove the cover to the doorbell and do a thorough cleaning of all the parts inside.
Use a Q-tip with rubbing alcohol if you see any grease and dirt.
Make sure to clean the chimes, hammer and contacts. Be sure there are no loose parts or wiring inside as well.
You’ll be surprised at how a good cleaning and tightening up of things in there can fix a doorbell!
Check the Doorbell Transformer
If the doorbell still doesn’t ring, then you’ll need to check the doorbell transformer.
As above, make sure all wires are tight at the transformer.
If you have a multi-meter or volt meter, test the two big terminal screws for voltage.
If there is no voltage reading, then you’ll need to replace the doorbell transformer.
You can also test it by touching the terminals together with a small wire (it’s low voltage, so don’t worry about shock – there will be a tiny, non-harmful spark at the most).
You should see this small spark as you lift the wire off.
If you’re not seeing a spark either, it’s time for a new transformer. These do go out, and if yours is old (more than 20 years), it won’t hurt to update this component.
You can easily pick up one like this:
If the transformer is fine, and the doorbell is still quiet, then you may need to check all the visible doorbell wiring you can in the house.
Or, simply invest in a new, wireless doorbell system (see below).
Ask yourself if this might be easier than to fix my doorbell.
Doorbell Chimes Won’t Ring
As mentioned above, many homes in the recent past had acoustic doorbell chimes isntalled, where a striker hits a high-pitch tone when a button is pressed, then a low-pitch tone as the button is let go.
To check why the chimes aren’t ringing, remove the chime cover and ensure all parts appear clean and connections are secure.
If all looks good, try getting a reading from your volt meter by touching prongs on the terminal marked “Front” and one on the screw marked “Trans”.
You can also test this by placing a small wire on these two terminals.
The wire should cause the chime to trigger. If not, it’s time to replace the doorbell system.
Doorbell Only Has One Ring
If the doorbell you’re trying to fix only has one “ding” when the button is pressed and let go, check to see if anything is sticking.
The most common problem is in the button outside or inside the chime cover with the strikers.
Clean and lubricate any parts that aren’t moving fluidly.
Use powdered graphite as oil will only attract dirt and cause worse problems for you!
Other Ways to Fix a Doorbell
You may have other symptoms with a doorbell not working, such as a faint ring, inconsistent performance, ringing constantly.
You can usually address these doorbell fixes by following some of the techniques mentioned above.
For example, check the button for loose wiring, sticking parts or dirt and grease.
Most doorbell repairs can be accomplished just by tightening down parts or cleaning connections.
A doorbell that goes off constantly most likely means there are some wires touching. This is relatively easy to check.
Need Some Extra Help?
If the above tips and steps feel like a bit much or aren’t working, you can chat with a home repair specialist right now and get further guidance instantly!
We’ve partnered with JustAnswer Home Improvement to connect homeowners like you directly to experts in home repair, including electrical issues.
I personally use JustAnswer, and they’ve gotten me out of a few tough binds.
Getting some inexpensive and immediate repair guidance vs figuring out who to hire and hoping they do a good job is a no-brainer for smaller projects like this.
Replace a Doorbell with a Wireless Doorbell
As mentioned above, sometimes it’s easier to buy and install a new wireless doorbell.
Obviously, there are no wires and no fooling around with transformers or electricity.
You do normally have to use batteries, but just keep a supply on hand when replacement time comes.
Popular Wireless Doorbell
What’s great about this kind of wireless doorbell, is that you get added features such as the ability to add multiple buttons, choose different ring sounds, and even connect security components such as a motion detector alert or door opening alert sound.
For all that, plus the convenience of wireless installation, these things are not a bad price at all. Check them out at Amazon.
Of course, you can jump your home’s door alert system into the 21st century with a Ring Video Doorbell.
It can wire into your existing doorbell wiring and connect to your wireless network in seconds.
This kind of upgrade not only fixes your broken or outdated doorbell, it comes with many benefits such as video monitoring of who’s at the door (even at night!), the ability to speak to someone at the door without opening it, as well as motion detection alerting when someone even walks up to the door or a delivery is left,
I personally loves these, and have plenty of friends and neighbors who do too!
The model I would recommend is this one from Ring.
Remember, the solutions above on how to fix a doorbell can help you if nothing major is broken.
And if you need to replace parts, you might as well save yourself the headache and replace the doorbell or buzzer with a new wireless doorbell.
Doorbell Transformer Located?
The placement of a doorbell transformer can vary from house to house.
That said, here’s a list of common places in the house where you could check for your doorbell’s transformer:
- The primary electrical panel of the house
- Inside the doorbell’s chime/bell enclosure
- In the garage near outlet boxes where TV lines and telephone cables come in
- The utility room of your home’s HVAC unit
- In a closet that’s near the front entrance
- In the attic or the basement, if your house has one
Why Is My Wireless Doorbell Not Working?
If your wireless doorbell isn’t working, here’s how you can troubleshoot your doorbell by yourself:
Check if the batteries need to be replaced in either or both, the receiver and the doorbell transmitter.
If the batteries are functional, the problem may lie in the range. Check the range specifications in the user manual, and accordingly bring the receiver closer to the bell if needed.
Metal and concrete can interfere with the transmitter and receiver, so check the location of each. Installing them on pieces of wood can help improve reception.
Double-check if the security codes on both, the receiver and transmitter, match.
How to Fix a Ring Doorbell That Keeps Ringing?
If your Ring Doorbell keeps ringing on its own, you can try the following to fix it:
Try restarting your Ring Doorbell. If that doesn’t work, reset it to its default settings. Read the manual before doing so.
Disconnect and reconnect the Ring Doorbell with the smartphone it is paired with.
Sometimes the bell’s button may get stuck in place, causing the doorbell to ring incessantly. Check the button to determine if such is the case.
Check the transformer and wiring for any underlying issues. However, do so only if you have had experience working with electrical wiring. If you don’t, consider calling a technician.
How to Fix a Doorbell Button?
Fixing a doorbell button is as simple as unscrewing the button from the doorbell casing, removing the attached wires from the button, and crossing them.
If your doorbell works, then you need to replace the current button.
If you have a replacement, attach the wires to the new doorbell button the way they were connected to the original button.