A doorbell transformer is an important feature of smart home technology. The small electric wiring device plays a vital role in your home’s security system. You need to secure your home from being robbed. And with the right doorbell transfer, you’ll feel safer about your home when you’re out of town.
When your doorbell stops working how will you fix it? However, it’s not an easy task if you don’t have experience wiring and installing doorbells.
What Is A Doorbell Transformer?
Doorbell transformers are wired to your doorbell. It helps maintain the correct voltage. If something goes wrong with your doorbell, it might be time to change the transformer.
This is what makes the doorbell work. Doorbell maintenance consists of repairing the doorbell transformer. If the button is stuck or the facing is cracked, you can replace it. But the doorbell transformer is more complicated.
It’s called a transformer because it takes power from your home and transforms it into a lower voltage. This way, you aren’t using more electricity than necessary for your front door doorbell.
Best Video Doorbells Of 2022
If you’re looking for the future of doorbells, you should consider a video doorbell. It allows you to see who is at your front door regardless of where you are. This means the doorbell works as a security camera.
This video doorbell allows you to receive notifications if a human figure approaches your front door. You can talk to anyone that approaches immediately even if you’re on the other side of the world.
With this video doorbell, you can store up to 256GB of footage. You can be gone for an extended period without having to replace the SD card or have footage deleted. This doorbell is the traveler’s best friend.
The RemoBell is a fan favorite doorbell that can be powered by old doorbell transformer wiring. It comes with free storage that can capture everything it sees for three days. Or you can pay for more advanced plans.
This doorbell lets you set up custom motion zones so you are notified if someone enters the zone you have chosen. This reduces useless notifications in areas you don’t need to track.
This doorbell is so nice that it is always sold out. The Ring is supported by Alexa, so the two can work together. With The Ring, you can record up to 60 days, so even if you don’t want to monitor your home, you can review the security footage later.
The Arlo has a wired or wireless option. It connects to your wi-fi and can last up to 6 months without being charged. The app for Arlo allows many custom settings.
The Arlo doorbell is durable. It can be out all year long, whether it’s raining, snowing, or even hailing. This may be the most durable doorbell like it on the market.
The Lorex is the highest-end video doorbell for under $200. It has 2k resolution and a nearly 180-degree viewing angle. This model lets you set up personal responses for visitors that allow them to respond.
Doorbell Transformers: DIY Doorbell Repair
The first step is to locate the doorbell transformer. It’s shaped like a small metal box and is silver, off-white, or a natural metal color.
Doorbell Transformer Location
There are many doorbell transformer location options. Here are some of the most common:
- Near Circuit Breaker – one of the most common places for a doorbell transformer is near, or even in, the circuit breaker box.
- Next To The Chime – to find the chime, have someone ring the doorbell and go into each room and listen.
- In The Hallway – a hallway is a good place for the transformer because it isn’t in the way and can be hidden on a shelf.
- In The Central Air Cubby– if you have central air, checking the cubby that the unit is located in can be a good idea.
More Options For Doorbell Transformers
- Closet – another good doorbell transformer location is located inside a closet. They are easy to check too because there is limited space. Make sure there aren’t any cubbies behind baseboards too.
- Somewhere With many Wires – if you have an entertainment system or a lot of wires near your computer, then check there. Electricians may camouflage doorbell transformer wiring near places with a lot of wires.
- Garage – what better doorbell transformer location than a garage? A garage is often a key place for hiding unwanted electrical components.
- Near The Modem – a modern or old DSL spot is perfect for a doorbell transformer. All of the electrical needs are met because a modem is on the spot.
- Attic Or Basement – another great transformer location located inside the attic, basement, or crawlspace.
How to Install A Doorbell Transformer
After you find the doorbell transformer, you probably need to replace it. Here are the general steps you can take to replace your doorbell transformer. If you’re ever unsure of yourself, call an electrician to help you out.
Step 1: Shut Off Power To The Doorbell Transformer
It’s very important that you turn off the power to the transformer before messing with it. Whether it be removing an old one or putting a new one in. So, turn off the power to the doorbell. If there isn’t a switch for the doorbell, you can try the switches that are for the lighting in the house.
Step 2: Check Low Voltage Wires with Multi Meter
Use a voltage detector on the doorbell and transformer to see if the doorbell transformer wiring is hot. This is the best way to tell if the switch you chose was correct. Never touch the doorbell transformer wiring without testing them with a voltage detector.
Step 3: Remove the Junction Box Cover
Unscrew the cover of the transformer. Check the output voltage, and each one separately before touching them. Testing for low voltage is crucial.
Step 4: Transformer Removal
Disconnect the circuit wires from the doorbell transformer wiring leads located inside the box by twisting off the wire connectors and separating each of the wire pairs. There should be a mounting nut inside that you will need to loosen to pull the transformer and wires out.
Step 5: Install Transformer
Here’s where things get tricky. This is the transformer and it needs to be put in right. Set the new transformer inside the junction box. Feed the doorbell transformer wiring through to meet and put the mounting nut over the wires.
Step 6: Connect Line Voltage Wires
Check the ends of the wire leads on the transformer for stripped insulation. If the insulation is already stripped back by 1/2 inch, then you can move on. If the ends are not stripped, strip 1/2 inch of insulation from each wire using wire strippers.
Step 7: Follow Unique Instructions
When it comes to connecting doorbell transformer wiring, you need to follow the instructions on the transformer’s box’s label. It could be different, especially if the transformer you removed is older than a few years and the new one is brand new.
Step 8: All Finished
Make sure the doorbell is working before you finish. Then, make sure the wires for the doorbell transformers are tucked away before replacing the cover.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
Can A Doorbell Transformer Be Enclosed?
According to the National Electrical Code (NEC), a doorbell transformer cannot be enclosed and should always remain open. On the voltage scale, a doorbell transformer is below a transformer.
A doorbell transfer works by induction, which means it creates heat. The transformer is attached through a knockout on a metal box, which lowers heat while also grounding the transformer should the windings fail.
If you want to hide your doorbell transformer, you could enclose it in the attic light socket. Other options include a closet, behind or above a sliding door, or in a basement.
Can A Doorbell Transformer Shock You?
Most of your doorbell circuitry consists of “low-voltage” currents that won’t shock you if you accidentally touched the wires. A transformer reduces the 120-volts carried by most electrical circuits to the 10 to 16 volts necessary to run your doorbell.
Can A Doorbell Transformer Sit Loose Inside An Electrical Panel?
The NEC requires a separation between low and high-voltage wiring. What this means is you cannot have low voltage wires, or the transformer sits inside the electrical box.
Can You Wire Doorbell Transformers To An Outlet?
When wiring a doorbell transformer to an outlet, you’ll need to find a power source. The best spot for a doorbell transformer is in the attic. You’re allowed to connect your doorbell transformer to any power source you want.
Can A Doorbell Transformer Catch Fire?
Any electrical and all electrical devices have the potential to catch fire. If a doorbell transformer overheated for an extended period, it would be considered a fire hazard.
Why Did Amazon Recall 350,000 Ring Doorbells?
In 2020, Amazon recalled 350,000 smart doorbells because they were catching fire. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ruled that the batteries were a potential fire hazard. Supposedly, the video doorbell’s battery was overheating due to the screws that had been used to install it.
Doorbell Transformer Conclusion
Although doorbell transformers feel antiquated, they serve a vital household function. When installing a transformer in your front door, the most important thing to consider would its low voltage and output voltage.
It seems the transformer’s modern counterpart poses somewhat of a fire risk. Meanwhile, transformers built over 40 years ago are still working fine.
Wherever you choose to install a transformer, as a safety precaution you should consider keeping a smile fire extinguisher nearby.