Door Bells Tips

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How do I repair a doorbell that isn’t ringing?

Repairing Doorbells: Getting Your Chime Back

When your doorbell loses its chime, it may be cheaper and faster to repair it rather than replacing it with a new one. Many times, doorbells just need a cleaning, or maybe a new wire or part. For a doorbell that isn't chiming at all, try these trouble-shooting steps:
• Test Your Pushbutton - Since they are exposed to the elements, doorbell pushbuttons can become clogged with dirt or even damaged. Open the cover, brush the contacts with sandpaper, and then lift up the contacts with a screwdriver to force the chime to sound. If nothing happens, try touching the cable ends together. If that makes the chime ring, then the pushbutton should be swapped for a new one. If the chime rings weakly or not at all, then the chime box may be the trouble.
• Test Your Chime Box - Check the chime box and the transformer for slack or worn wires, and repair them by tightening or using electrical tape. Ensure all cables are attached to the chime terminal.
• Test Your Transformer - With a live transformer, use a multi-tester or low voltage diagnostic tool to test the voltage terminals. A new transformer should be installed if no voltage signal is detected.
*Remember to always use caution when working with electricity in your home, or call an electrician when in doubt.

   
Are there any hints for installing doorbells?

Handy Hints for Installing Doorbells

When preparing to install a doorbell in your home, there are several things to keep in mind:
• When running wire for the doorbell, take a measurement of the length from your pushbutton location to the transformer, and then add about 15 feet to the measurement. This additional cable length will help provide you with some leeway as you route your cable through twists and turns.
• Installing two or more doorbell pushbuttons? Calculate the measurement of the distance from each of your pushbutton locations back to the transformer, and then add the extra 15 feet to that total.
• Pushbuttons are the most convenient when installed at doorknob level about four to five inches from the edge of the door.
• To ensure an unobtrusive chime box, mount your interior box unit six feet from the floor, at a minimum.
• Run cables inside walls or ceilings so they are safely out of sight.
• Remember to always use caution when working with electricity in your home, or call an electrician when in doubt.

   
How do wireless doorbells work?

The Wonders of Wireless Doorbells

You probably have a wireless phone, so why not a wireless doorbell? The advantages of a wireless door chime include simple installation, no wires to run, and portability to any room (or even taken out to the garage).
How do wireless doorbells work? When a visitor pushes your doorbell button, a radio signal is transmitted and picked up by a receiver which then triggers the chime, buzzer, or light feature of your doorbell. The majority of wireless chimes have variable frequencies to reduce interference with any neighboring doorbells.
Some wireless doorbells plug directly into an electrical outlet while others are powered by batteries. There are even handy portable models which can be carried like a pager. Most wireless chimes can also be mounted on the wall like a traditional wired doorbell.
Many doorbell manufacturers feature compatibility between their wireless models, so that you can have multiple units around your property. Another feature often offered is the ability to add pushbuttons at other entry doors you may have. The ring tones of these buttons can be synchronized or customized with different sounds, so that you can identify at which door your visitor is waiting.

   
How do I repair a doorbell that doesn’t sound clear?

Repairing Doorbells: Put the “Ding” Back in “Dong”

Doorbell on the fritz? It may be more efficient to repair it instead of replacing it. Your doorbell might just need to be cleaned, or need a new wire or part. For a doorbell that doesn't sound like it used to, try these techniques:
• Replace rubber grommets – If your doorbell's rubber grommets are stiff or easily broken, you may experience a muffled chime. New rubber grommets will clear that up.
• Clean chime parts – If the clappers, plungers, or gong on a doorbell are grubby or covered in dust, the chime may be barely audible. Remove the chime box cover and use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to remove the debris. It is not recommended that you clean electric or digital chimes in this way.
• Upgrade the transformer – A home with multiple doorbells may result in frail or late chiming, so installing a transformer with higher low-voltage production will provide more power to each doorbell.
*Remember to always use caution when working with electricity in your home, or call an electrician when in doubt.

   
What is the history of the doorbell?

The Humble History of Doorbells

With the advent of the front door, came the need to alert those inside when a visitor arrived. A simple knock on the door or ring of a hanging bell worked fine, until electricity came along. The market was ripe for an electronic doorbell! The first electronic doorbells were buzzer models that elicited a noisy buzzing or clanking sound when used. In the early 1930's, there was a surge of patents filed for musical door chimes. Many of these early designs featured bells or chimes that were struck by solenoids when activated. As with many innovations, these pleasant-sounding doorbells were considered fashionable luxury items that should be displayed prominently in a home or even given as a gift.

By the late 1960's, doorbells had lost much of their novelty and the only large producer left in the chime business was Nutone Doorbells. Today, there are numerous manufacturers who make basic and decorative doorbells including:
• Air King

• NuTone

• Rocky Mountain

• Rocky Mountain Hardware

• Broan

• Baldwin

• Rusticware

   
What if my doorbell’s chime is boring?

Changing Your Tune With a New Doorbell Chime

Tired of the same old "ding-dong" when your doorbell rings? You can change your tune in about 10 minutes by installing a new chime box. Maybe you want a more stylish decorative doorbell, or you want to jazz up your doorbell's song. Either way, companies like Nutone, Broan, and AirKing make an assortment of options.
Chime boxes are available in wood, plastic, ceramic, brass, and faux stone finishes. There are designs made to blend-in and designs meant to make a statement. For upgrading your chime's sound, choices include 2-note, 4-note, or 8-note Westminster chimes. The widest range of tunes is available with digital doorbells which can have dozens of songs programmed for your enjoyment.

   
How can doorbells add pizzazz to my home?

Decorative Doorbells: It's All in the Details

Doorbells aren't just functional items to announce visitors - they are also another chance to add some style and character to your home. The two main types of electrical doorbells are wired and wireless. While the wireless chime has its practical uses, wired chimes provide the largest assortment of chiming options and decorative features. And they will never need batteries!
The two major components of wired, decorative doorbells are the pushbutton and the chime box (the unit that makes the "ding-dong" sound):
• The chime box can be small and plain, or you can opt for a larger, decorative unit with long brass bell pipes. There are even chime boxes featuring mirrors or lights, and some shaped like sconces.
• The pushbutton is where your decorating style can really shine. There are dozens of design options to choose from including an array of metallic and painted finishes in diverse shapes and sizes.
You can buy pushbuttons and chime boxes together in a kit or separately, depending on your needs. Express your personality and add some pizzazz to your home with a unique chime or charming pushbutton!

   
How do I install a doorbell?

Installing a New Doorbell

Finally replacing your old doorbell, or adding one to your new home? Regardless of design, most doorbells install in three basic steps*:
1. Start by wiring the transformer to your junction box. After shutting down the power to the circuit you are using, remove the junction box cover and confirm electricity is off with a voltage tester. Connect and position the transformer wires in the junction box. Use wire connectors to link the transformer's black and white cable wires with the transformer wires. Secure transformer to junction box with the provided locknut and sleeve.
2. Now it's time to install your pushbutton. Run cable starting at the transformer and the chime box (this makes the sound), then over to the pushbutton where you hook up the cables to the terminal screw. Using a screwdriver, affix your pushbutton to the mounting screw hole.
3. To hang your chime box, utilize the mounting screws to secure the box on the wall at all four corners. Following markings in the box, connect the transformer and pushbutton cables to the appropriate terminals. Place decorative cover on chime box.
All done! Now just test your new doorbell by giving it a ring.

*Remember to always use caution when working with electricity in your home, or call an electrician when in doubt.

   
How can I add style to my home with a new doorbell pushbutton?

Pushbuttons for Your Doorbell: Add Some Flair!

Let your guests get a sneak peek of your personal style before they even enter your home with a decorative doorbell pushbutton. Countless designs are available in a wide range of finishes, shapes, and sizes. Manufacturers such as Nutone and Broan offer finishes including:

• Polished, antiqued, or brushed brass

• Oil-rubbed bronze

• Polished, brushed, or satin nickel

• Painted finishes in black, white, or wood-like tones

• Verde or patina

• Polished chrome

There are also a myriad of shapes and designs available for doorbell pushbuttons. These range from traditional rectangular and round designs to whimsical shapes such as animals, fruit, or botanicals. There are even special kits for installing on a stucco wall. You can also opt for a lighted button to make it more visible at night. A new pushbutton can be the start of something great at your front entry door.

   
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Barbara Gibson