Condo Blues: How to Install a New Doorbell Chime and Button

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How to Install a New Doorbell Chime and Button

Normally I’m a fix it instead of replace it kind of gal but neither Husband nor I have any great love for our builder basic doorbell. When our doorbell wouldn’t chime even after I replaced the transformer, we took the opportunity to upgrade it to a door chime we can actually hear from upstairs as well as down.

I wanted a pretty doorbell button to replace the plastic builder grade monstrosity we had. Husband thought the door chimes that played different music and tones are more fun than the faint, “ding dong!” that bit the dust.

How to Install a New Doorbell Chime and Button
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So of course we acted like two dorks testing all of the doorbell chimes in Lowes multiple times to find one we liked.

Sorry Lowes fellow shoppers.

Sometimes we are 12.

We bought the Utilitech Wireless Doorbell and Utilitech Antique Brass Doorbell Button (affiliate links for your convenience) to coordinate with the front doorknob and lock. This particular doorbell comes with a bunch of chimes (we are currently using the Westminster chimes setting.)

I got the opportunity to pick out a prettier doorbell button. Most importantly this doorbell lets us hardwire it to our current doorbell wiring although you can also install it as a wireless doorbell if you like.

We wanted to stay with a hardwired doorbell so we didn’t have to play Where are the rest of the rechargeable batteries? Did you recharge them? game on a regular basis but that’s just us.

How to Replace a Hard Wired Doorbell


I’m going to give you an overview of how to replace a hardwired doorbell instead of a detailed tutorial since your brand of doorbell and existing wiring may be different from mine.

How to Install a New Doorbell
The most difficult part of this project was trying to find a doorbell for sale that didn't already look dated or cheap. We had to compromise and buy this one.

I am not a licensed electrician, just a DIYer who has one on speed dial if ever necessary. If you are unsure of your skills or working with electricity, please consider calling a licensed electrician. End of PSA/ please don’t sue me notice it’s not worth it I ‘m not rich because I spend all of my money on my dog notice.

1. TURN THE ELECTRICITY TO THE DOORBELL OFF AT THE BREAKER BOX. Seriously. Electrocution sucks because electrocution is deadly. No  joke.

2. Unscrew the connecting wires from the old doorbell to remove them and the doorbell unit from wall.

 Tip: Labeling the wires with electrical tape will ensure you install the correct wires on the Transformer, Front, and Rear (if you have it) connections on the new doorbell chime.

3. Install the wall anchors if needed. Mark where the wall anchors should go on the wall with a pencil, a hole for each wall anchor with a drill and drill bit, and insert the wall anchor into the hole.

Wall anchors aweigh!

4. Use a screwdriver to screw the doorbell unit to the wall anchors on the wall to the hang it.

5. Follow the directions for your doorbell to connect the Transformer, Front, and Rear (if you have it) wires to the doorbell screws.

 Tip: The wire hook should face the opposite direction you turn the screw to tighten it to ensure a connection. If the screw turns right to tighten it, the wire should wrap to the left. Again if you’re sure what I’m talking about call a pro to do it for you.

6. Snap on the front cover of the doorbell.


How to Replace a Doorbell Button


The doorbell we bought needed a new doorbell button to work properly which is fine because I hate the plastic piece of yuck currently on our front door.

This project also made me stare at our horrifically dirty door molding. Ew.
I cleaned it and found that a lot of the grime is really a door frame that needs repainting. Double ew.

1. Turn off the electricity to the doorbell button. Check it make sure. I’m wait.

2. Unscrew the old doorbell button from outside of the door with a screwdriver.

3. Unscrew the connecting wires from the old doorbell button  to remove them.

4. My doorbell button is recessed into the door frame. Check/enlarge/carefully drill the proper size hole into the door frame.

 My doorbell button came with a handy sizer to check the size of the hole for the recessed parts.

5. This is where it gets a little tricky. My door chime needs a doorbell button that uses a transformer so it will play Happy Birthday or whatever we decide to use as our door chime. If we bought a regular ding dong! doorbell the button wouldn’t need to add a tiny transformer to the doorbell button.

Using a pair of needle nose pliers, bend the transfer into a S like shape according to the directions for your doorbell and doorbell button.

6. Wrap one end of the bent transfer wire around each screw according to the installation instructions.

 I'm showing the the instructions because I felt like I needed 6 hands to keep the transformer and wiring from slipping off the contacts while I mounted the doorbell. I didn't have extra hands to take photos of these steps.

7. Bend the ends of the doorbell writing into a hook with the needle nose pliers if needed. Hook the end of each wire to its corresponding screw in the doorbell button directions.

The end of the wire hook should be in in the opposite direction that the screw turns. If the screw turns right to tighten it, the hook should point to the left. Again if you’re sure what I’m talking about call a pro to do it for you.

8.  Use the screwdriver to tighten the screws to hold the ends of the transformer and the electrical wires into place. This was a lot harder than it should be because it was fiddly.

9. Temporally turn the power on to the doorbell. Push the button to the test if the doorbell chimes. If not, chances are the transformer was installed in the wrong direction. Guess how I know?) Turn the power off and correct the error.

10. Screw the doorbell face plate to the door frame with a screwdriver.

11. Turn the electricity back on.

12. Ring your bell!

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