Saturday, November 23, 2013

How to replace a doorbell chime - easy to medium project!

Easy DIY project  - replace the bell housing and your doorbell

Tools Required;
Power Drill

Optional tools but really helpful;
Wire tool

How many of you have one of those ugly door chimes that were installed when the house was built and have been painted and re-painted? My house had one of these ugly, plastic boxes, and then it started to buzz... buzz not ring... so I pulled it apart and undid the wiring. Which meant that I didn't have a functioning doorbell at all, which isn't a huge problem at my house but still it needed to be fixed. Here is how to do it and yes, you can do this yourself.

Step 1 - Remove the old doorbell casing and chime.
The plastic houses that cover the chimes just usually snap on and off. Look for a latch or other catch point and wiggle it carefully to get it off.
This is my ugly plastic box
Under the housing you will see something that looks like a bomb but is just the bell mechanism. It will most likely have a 2 or 4 screws holding it to the wall so you will need to find those and unscrew them. Also, just use a screwdriver to loosen the screws only the wires and take them off. 
Loosen screws and remove wires as well as from the wall - before removing the wires, note which color goes to which screw.
This is what it will look like when removed - a hole with wires sticking out. 

Step 2 - Mark new hole placement and drill for screw anchors
The new housing will need to be attached to the wall so position it on the wall and make sure it is level. (yes use a level for this..) Then mark with a pencil and drill holes for the plastic anchors.

This is my new doorbell kit with housing and chime mechanism

Position over the wires and mark the holes with a pencil. There is an UP mark on the housing so make sure you look for that.

Most walls will need to have hollow wall anchors so drll those first. My kit actually told me the drill bit size otherwise get one that is a slightly larger than the anchor.

Step 3 - Hammer in the hollow wall anchors
Most people will have the doorbell in a hollow spot on the wall, in other words not near a wood stud. You will need to use a "hollow wall" anchor in order to use the screws. They are included in the kit and are a plastic sleeve that goes into the hole you drilled, and will hold the screw in place. Be gentle with these when you are putting them into the wall as they are very weak plastic by design and I have crushed many of them in my past.
Gently - Hammer or push in the wall anchors. Gently!
 Step 4 - Attach the housing and re-attach the wires

Now that you have all the anchors in you can attach the housing. Take the housing and pull the wires through the hole again and move them out of the way. Starting with the screw on the bottom, hand start it so you know it is going in straight, then you can use a screwdriver. 
Screw the housing to the wall
This is the wire connections - "front", "trans" and "rear"
Attach the wires back to the box - in my case the black wire is the power wire so it goes to the "Trans" screw in the middle. I only have a front door so that was the green wire. 
Wires attached to the housing
Test the bell now
 After all the wires are connected and the housing secure, test the bell before you put the cover on it ! If it works, great, you can move on. If not, try moving the wires around to see if you have them on the wrong screws.

Done - except for patching and painting where the old one was ... painting never seems to end...
Now that you have a new inside  chime what out your doorbell itself? My doorbell was this little round button and that wasn't going to work. Replace it!

Replacing your doorbell

Your doorbell is one of the things you see without noticing, but what does it look like? Mine was pretty plain, just a little push-button style that didn't work. Replacing this doesn't require that you replace the chime inside, so you can do this as often as you want.

Step 1 - Remove the old doorbell
My doorbell was actually attached to the siding via silicone, so I carefully used my screwdriver to cut the seal and pull it out so that I could work on it.
It just popped out when the silicone was cut.
 Step 2 - remove the wires by loosening the screws where they are attached
Bell removed
 Now my wires were a mess with electrical tape and silicone so I had to carefully remove the gunk and get the wires clear to attach to the new doorbell. These wires break easily so you need to be gentle. Once the wires are clean, attach them to the screws on the new bell.
Wires attached to the new bell - test it at this point, before screwing in.

My new bell is much larger than the little button so I had to drill holes for the screws first and then attach using screws. You shouldn't need wall anchors because you are either attaching to wood or some other solid structure. If you have siding that is brick, stone, stucco or other material that you can't or don't want to drill into, use silicone around the outside of the bell to attach it.


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