Troubleshooting a Doorbell That Doesn't Work


A doorbell is something that we take for granted. We don't expect to have a problem with it. In fact, most doorbells last for at least 10 to 15 years. However, they can go haywire from time to time. Sometimes doorbells won't ring and sometimes they won't stop ringing. Most of the time the problem is simple and can be fixed easily.

Doorbell Facts

  • A doorbell is low-voltage and the circuitry is simple. When troubleshooting, it is going to be a matter of a process of elimination by going step by step to determine the problem. (Note: We will be troubleshooting a wired doorbell.)
    Some tools that you might need will be screwdrivers, needle nose pliers, a voltmeter and a continuity tester.
    If you are not comfortable working with anything electrical then you might want to consider contacting a professional. A door bell is low voltage but it has a transformer that converts 110 volt electricity down to 10 or 12 volt electricity. If the problem is in the transformer then you will need to turn the power off to work on it. Again, if you are not comfortable working with electricity please consider calling a professional.

If Your Doorbell Does Not Ring

  • First determine if the unit has failed. To test this you will push the doorbell button. If there is a buzzing sound when you push the button then the unit is still working. If there is no sound then the unit has failed and will need to be replaced.

    If there is a buzzing sound then the problem may be the wiring to the button. Remove the button and check to make sure that the two wires going to the button are connected securely. Once you have made sure that the wires are connected securely, try the doorbell again. If it rings that you have fixed the problem. If it does not ring then the problem may be the button itself.
    Now, turn the power off and disconnect one of the two wires. You are going to short the wire by touching the bare end of the one wire to the bare end of the other wire. Did the bell ring? If it did then the problem is that the button needs to be replaced.
    If it did not ring then the problem is in the chime unit itself. Since this involves wires and circuitry it is suggested that you call an electrician to determine the problem and do the necessary repairs.

If Your Doorbell Does Not Stop Ringing

  • If your doorbell will not stop ringing the button may be stuck or the wires to the button have shorted together. You will need to turn the power off and take the doorbell button off of the door frame. Next, disconnect one of the wires connected to the button. Now, turn the power back on and see if the doorbell is ringing without stopping. If it is not ringing then the button is the problem and will need to be replaced.
    If the doorbell is ringing continually then there is a problem with the two wires that connect to the doorbell button. Turn the power off and see if you can find any sign where bare wires are rubbing together or any insulation that has frayed. If you do find the short, cover the bare or frayed wires with electrician's tape. If you do not see any sign of bare or frayed wires you will need to replace the wires.


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