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How do I Install a Doorbell?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Feb 22, 2024
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Installing a new doorbell is a task that can often be managed with a minimum of effort. By collecting a few simple tools and taking a few basic precautions, it is possible to install a new unit in a matter of minutes, even if you are not particularly mechanically inclined.

Your first step with the project is to assemble your tools and materials. In general, you will need wire strippers and cutters, along with a good pair of pliers and a screwdriver. While it is not necessarily essential, it is a good idea to also have a circuit tester on hand. A stepladder may also be required. Last, you will need to purchase a doorbell kit containing the new unit and all the applicable hardware needed for the installation.

Once your tools and materials are assembled, locate the breaker box and shut off the power supply. While a front doorbell normally does not use a great deal of current, it is still sufficient to give quite a jolt. With no worries about getting shocked, you will also move forward with the job at a quicker and more confident pace.

Make sure you know where the chimes are located in your home. They may be placed over the door itself or in a nearby area, such as a closet, adjacent to the entryway or front hall. Assuming the chimes are in good condition, there will be no need to replace them, but it is still a good idea to locate them in the event you have to make any adjustments. If this is a first time installation, select a place to install the chimes.

Next, remove the old doorbell and any related hardware. Unless the wiring is damaged in some manner, it can be used with the new bell and chimes. Inspect it carefully before proceeding to the next step.

Following the instructions that come in your doorbell kit. This often involves connecting the wiring to the doorbell button. You will likely need to cut and strip the ends slightly to attach the existing wiring to the new unit. Use the pliers to bend the wiring into position and then use the screwdriver to secure the wires to the workings on the back of the new unit. Finally, attach the new doorbell to the frame of the door.

Should you need to also replace the chimes, there is every chance you can also use the existing wiring at the opposite end. Use your tools to detach the old chimes, then connect the new chimes, taking care to make sure the electrical connections are secure. Reposition the chimes and screw them into place.

With the unit fully installed, test your work. Flip the power back on at the breaker box and press the new doorbell. If the chimes sound properly, your task is complete. If not, shut off the power and re-inspect your work. Chance are the problem is nothing more than a loose connection and you will have the new equipment functioning properly in no time.

In most cases, this simple process can be used for any type of home doorbell installation, including a front and back doorbell. However, if you should run into any obstacles that are beyond your ability to handle, do not hesitate to stop the project immediately and call in a professional electrician.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon989767 — On Mar 21, 2015

I am trying to replace a wired doorbell that has stopped working. I’m replacing all the components except the wiring (transformer, chime and a lighted doorbell button, all Heath/Zenith). I have two cables/wires leading to the transformer.

One wire is leading from the doorbell to the transformer with a white and a red wire.

The second wire is a four wire cable which only two of the wires are being used leading from the chime to the transformer with a red and blue wire.

That said regretfully, when I removed the old components I did not mark the wires before I removed the components.

One configuration I’ve tried is to use:

From the doorbell button, I connected the white wire to the transformer.

From the chime I connected the blue wire to the “Trans” terminal on the chime and the other to the transformer.

When I try to connect the red wires together (completing the circuit) the chime is continuously energized. The doorbell does nothing (it does work I checked it with a multi meter). If you touch the two red wires together with the doorbell pushed or not the chime is continuously energized.

Going back to when I replaced the transformer, I somewhat remember that the two red wires were not wire tied. The problem is I do not which wires were.

I have looked at several wiring diagrams and they all show the current configuration that I am trying is recommended. Any help would be appreciated.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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