Getting a good doorbell is important for security, convenience, and peace of mind. Especially nowadays when it’s so crucial to make breaking into your house as deterring as possible. That’s where a security doorbell comes in.
But what happens when your doorbell stops working? You need to fix it as fast as possible, but that’s no easy task if you have no experience fixing doorbells. The problem usually lies with the doorbell transformer.
What Is A Doorbell Transformer?
A doorbell transformer is what powers doorbells that are wired. It will keep them at the right voltage at all times for optimum performance. If something goes wrong with your doorbell, it’s probably the doorbell transformer.
This is what makes the doorbell work. So most of the time, 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.
The reason that it’s called a transformer is that it takes the power uses in the rest of your house and transforms it into a lower voltage. This way, you aren’t using more electricity than you need to power your doorbell.
Doorbell Transformer Wiring: How To Repair A Doorbell
The first step in repairing the doorbell transformer is to find the doorbell transformer. The doorbell transformer looks like a small metal box and can be silver, off-white, or another natural metal color.
Doorbell Transformer Locations
There are a lot of different places that a doorbell transformer might be. Here are the most common locations. Before you look for the transformer though, call the person who installed your doorbell if you have their number.
- Near Circuit Breaker – one of the most common places for a doorbell transformer is near, or even in, the circuit breaker box. This is for ease of access and to make it easy to remember where the transformer was installed.
- Next To The Chime – to find the chime, have someone ring the doorbell and go into each room and listen. If the doorbell isn’t working, which may be the case, then check the living room and kitchen first.
- 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. This is for the same reasons that thermostats are located in hallways too.
- In The Central Air Cubby– if you have central air, checking the cubby that the unit is located in can be a good idea. It is hidden away and already has wiring done, so it’s a great place to hide.
- In A Closet – another good place to hide a transformer is a closet. They are easy to check too because there is a limited amount of space. Make sure there aren’t any cubbies behind baseboards too.
- Somewhere With A Lot Of Wires – if you have an entertainment system or a lot of wires near your computer, then check there. Electricians may camouflage the transformer near places with a lot of wires.
- In The Garage – what better place to hide a transformer than a garage? A garage is often a key place for hiding unwanted electrical components. Always check the garage before giving up.
- 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. This is an easy place to check out too.
- In The Attic Or Basement – another great place to hide transformer is in the attic, basement, or a crawlspace inside the house. This is especially true for older transformers that aren’t easily accessed.
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: Cut The Power
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: See If The Wires Are Hot
Use a voltage detector on the doorbell and transformer to see if the wires are hot. This is the best way to tell if the switch you chose was correct. Never touch the wires without testing them with a voltage detector.
Step 3: Remove the Junction Box Cover
Once you confirm that the visible wiring isn’t hot, you can start unscrewing the cover for the transformer. After you do, test the wires again, doing each one separately before touching them. Voltage testing is the most important step.
Step 4: Remove The Transformer
Disconnect the circuit wires from the transformer wire leads 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 The New Transformer
Here’s where things get tricky. This is the new transformer and it needs to be put in right. Set the new transformer inside the junction box. Feed the wires through to meet and put the mounting nut over the wires. Tighten it using pliers.
Step 6: Connect the 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 wires, 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 7: All Finished
Check to make sure that the doorbell is working before finishing up. Then, make sure all wires are tucked away before replacing the cover. Voila! You’re all set and ready to use your doorbell again.
Best Video Doorbells Of 2021
If you’re looking for the doorbell of the future, then consider getting a video doorbell. You can see who is at the door no matter where you happen to be. This means the doorbell works as a security camera too!
This doorbell has a feature that allows you to only receive notifications of a human figure approaches the 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. So you can be gone for an extended period of time 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 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 only notified if someone enters the zone that you have chosen. This cuts down on useless notifications in areas that you don’t need to track.
This doorbell is so nice that it is constantly out of stock. So when you do find it in stock, make sure you snag one. The Ring is supported by Alexa, so the two are compatible and can be programmed to work together.
With The Ring, you can record up to 60 days of content so even if you don’t want to monitor your home, you can always review it like security footage. So take a load off and rest easy when you’re not around.
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 so many custom settings that it feels like you’re setting up your own profile.
And best of all? The Arlo doorbell is ridiculously 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. It is so worth the price tag.
The Lorex is probably the highest end video doorbell you can buy for under $200. It has a 2k resolution and a nearly 180-degree viewing angle. This means you won’t miss a thing because it has amazing peripherals.
The Lorex lets you set up personal responses to visitors that allows them to respond. When they do, you can then start chatting directly with them. This cuts back on the confusion visitors feel when faced with a video doorbell.