How to Replace Your Doorbell: A Step By Step Guide

Many people think that they need to hire someone like a handyman to replace their old doorbell. The truth is that the process of replacing a doorbell is pretty straightforward, easy and safe.

In this how-to article, we’ll go over what tools you need to replace a doorbell and the exact steps that need to be taken to get that old doorbell in the trash and your shiny new doorbell installed.

how to replace a doorbell

Without further adieu, let’s get started!

What Tools Do I Need to Replace a Doorbell?

You don’t need anything fancy and you can replace your doorbell with some very simple tools that are laying around your home.

Here’s what you’ll need to do the job:

  • a Phillips head screwdriver (or a flathead screwdriver)
  • a pair of needlenose pliers
  • a voltage tester (optional)

The Phillips head screwdriver will be used to unscrew your old doorbell from the exterior wall or trim of your home.

The pair of needlenose pliers will come in handy when you need to bend the existing hot, neutral and ground wires going to your doorbell (after the power has been turned off of course!).

Finally, a voltage tester is a nice thing to have to test and see if the power going to your doorbell has been completely turned off. If your doorbell normally stays lit or has a light in it while it’s on, you don’t really need a voltage tester since the light in your doorbell will turn off when you turn the power off to the circuit going to your doorbell.

Now that you’ve got your tools, let’s get on to the installation process.

Step 1: Turn Off the Power Going to Your Doorbell

Most doorbells have a transformer that transforms the full voltage of your home’s power supply to a small voltage used for your doorbell and chime. Getting zapped by your doorbell is nothing like getting zapped by normal house power, like that of a light switch or receptacle. Either way, it is definitely a good idea to turn the power off to your existing doorbell before doing anything else.

Start by finding your home’s fuse panel, usually found in the basement or a lower floor of your home. Open the panel and find the circuit that’s going to your doorbell. Once that’s found, just flip the switch for the circuit to the “off” position and check to see if the doorbell still rings. If not, then you’re ready to go.

Step 2: Disconnect Your Old Doorbell

Here’s the meat and potatoes of this project: disconnecting your current doorbell from the power.

Use either your Phillips head or flathead screwdriver to unscrew your existing doorbell from the wall. If no screwheads are visible, you may need to pop the cover or housing off of your doorbell first to find them.

Once you’ve got the screws out that are holding your doorbell to the wall, slowly pull the doorbell away from the wall.

This is where you’ll want to use your voltage tester and touch one of the wires to see if they’re on or not. Usually, if the doorbell doesn’t ring, the power is off and it’s safe to work.

Using your screwdriver, detach the wires on your current doorbell. Once that’s done, you can tape them off with electrical tape while you prepare your new doorbell to be installed.

If you’re going with a new wireless doorbell, tape off the ends of the wires with electrical tape and tuck them into the wall since you won’t be needing any hard-wiring for your new wireless doorbell.

If you’re going with a new wired doorbell, start by taking it out of the box and preparing it for installation.

Step 3: Installing a New Doorbell Button

If you’ve bought a new wireless doorbell, all you need to do is to screw it back into the wall using the same holes as your old one. If you need to drill new holes, do so following the manufacturer’s instructions for your new doorbell button.

If you need to seal up old holes from your old doorbell, just grab some wood putty and fill in the holes. After the wood putty has dried, use a light sandpaper and sand the surface smooth. Then paint if needed.

For wired doorbells, you’ll need to connect the¬†wires coming from the wall to your new doorbell. Usually, this involves bending the wire ends into “U” shapes with your needlenose pliers and then fastening those wires to your new doorbell with a screwdriver. Again, follow your manufacturer instructions when doing this.

Step 4: Replacing a Door Bell Chime/Buzzer

Replacing a door chime is a little bit trickier than replacing a door bell button, but it can be done. If you were just replacing the door bell button, you’re all set. If not, read on!

Again, make sure that you have the circuit running to your door bell system shut off. Check this with a voltage tester to make sure all power going to your door bell chime is off.

Most doorbell chimes have a cover that can be pulled off with gentle pressure to expose the actual “chime” and electrical components that help make your doorbell make noise.

To start, disconnect all positive and neutral wires from your existing chime. These are usually screwed down so you’ll need a screwdriver.

The next step is to unscrew the chime mechanism from the wall. This is usually accomplished by unscrewing 2-4 screws that are holding the chime mechanism to your wall.

Now you can gently pull the wires that you unfastened through the door chime and pull the entire door chime mechanism away from your wall.

To install a new wired door chime, just reverse the steps above.

If you have a wireless door chime, all you have to worry about is attaching it to your wall as it will work wirelessly with your new doorbell button. In fact, you don’t even have to attach your new chime in the same place as your old one. You can choose a new spot in your home altogether. Each chime is slightly different, so follow the manufacturer instructions for installing your new wireless door chime.

Step 5: Turn the Power Back On

Go back to your circuit panel breaker box and flip the circuit leading to your doorbell back to the “on” position once everything is installed. Now you’re ready to test out your new doorbell.

Are You Ready to Tackle This Project?

Replacing a doorbell is a relatively easy project that any homeowner can do with a little bit of time. Within an hour, you could be finished and enjoying a new doorbell.

Now that you’ve replaced your doorbell, how about a new entry door to go with it?


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