How to Install a Doorbell

The Basics of Doorbells, Buzzers, and Chimes

Wireless systems have 2 main components. Batteries power the button while the bell is attached to the main power source, requiring only between 10 and 14volts. Purchase a transformer to match the power required by your unit. Battery systems do not require a transformer. Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Information on Transformers

Transformers are completed as part of the whole unit. The higher the voltage, the louder the sound. You can usually put the transformer directly into the outlet box.

To install the transformer, thus reducing the flow of electricity, connect the wires to their corresponding colors and mount it with screws.

No. 18 bel wire is the best choice for connecting the terminal screws. Always shut down the power supply when doing electrical work. Insulated staples are best for securing the wires.

Single Button Doorbells

Refer to the illustration to see how the simplest door bell wiring is completed. A single wires connects the button to the transformer. The other wire wire completes the circuit.

Wiring Buttons on Doors

If you want double buttons for both the front and rear entrances, the 2 wires form a circuit just as with the simple wiring method. The difference is that a third wire runs from the transformer to the buzzer.

Related Video: Preparing the Bell Wires When Installing a Doorbell

Backdoor Buzzer and Front Door Bell

You can prevent confusion caused by having the same sound for both the front and back door, you can install a system with a unique chime for each entrance. Run the wiring as illustrated and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The key difference between this type of wiring and that above is that the buzzer will be connected to one of the buttons.

Combined Bell and Buzzer System

If you are willing to do the extra work of installing a third terminal screw, you can do a combined system. Refer to the illustration for instructions. Install the sound boxes so that they will be audible from anywhere in the home.

Transformers in the Basement

Many homeowners find that the best spot for the transformer is in the basement. View the illustration to see how basement transformers are installed. Make sure to install low-volt wiring at both the door frames and baseboards. The transformer must be able to resist system overloads.

Door Chimes

Door chimes are great alternative if you want something different for your system. Various musical patterns are available. Select one that you like. Refer to the illustration to see how these systems are installed.

4-Note Chimes

Chimes require more power, so you will need a higher grade transformer. As always, adhere to the packaging directions for specifics on which types of wires to use and how to install them.


Test the wiring with a circuit tester purchased at your local hardware store. Most repairs have to do with the button. If it’s not the button, inspect the wiring. A non-stop ring of the bell means there is a short circuit in the wiring. Also inspect the transformer by applying the tester to the secondary screw. A short will cause the bulb to illuminate.

Replacing the wires will usually correct the problem in the sounder.

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