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Why Is My Doorbell Buzzing? Causes and How To Fix It


How to fix a buzzing doorbell.

The leading cause for a doorbell buzzing is the button switch. If the switch is stuck, then the doorbell will keep buzzing non-stop. Other causes include a failure in the voltage or the unit’s pistons. Repairing or replacing parts of a doorbell is not difficult or expensive. 

Keep reading to learn how to identify and adequately fix problems with your doorbell. 

How Does a Doorbell Work? 

Most doorbells work the same way. There is a transformer that transforms the voltage from 120V to what the model requires. There is a chime that makes the doorbell sound, and there is the button itself connected by wires to the chime. 

The transformer is wired to the chime and the chime to the button. The wires used to connect each one to the other are very fragile. You’ll find that most of the problems presented by doorbells happen in the chime, transformer, wires, and even the button. 

If you want to know more about how a doorbell works, you can check out this video: 

How to Repair a Broken Doorbell | Ask This Old House

How to Identify Problems With a Doorbell

A doorbell works with a simple electrical system, so when the system fails in any way, it might result in problems with the unit. Common issues include continuous buzzing, a doorbell that does not buzz or ring at all, or a doorbell that hums instead of ringing. 

All of these problems are easy to fix if you can identify and access the doorbell’s mechanisms. 

You can fix most of the problems with the doorbell’s mechanism and the electrical system by replacing the broken parts. Replacing damaged parts will be easier than fixing them and won’t be expensive. 

How to Test the Transformer of a Doorbell 

Testing a broken doorbell’s transformer is not hard. You’ll need a multimeter to perform this testing. If you don’t know how to use a multimeter, you can follow these steps: 

  1. Set your voltage to 120 in the AC voltage section of the multimeter. 
  2. Once set, place the probes on each side of the transformer.
  3. You should receive a reading of around 16 volts (this number can vary depending on the model).
  4. If you get more or less than that number, then the problem is the transformer, and you’ll need to replace it. 

If you want to learn more about how to use a multimeter, we recommend this video: 

How to Use a Multimeter

Note: Doorbell transformers are 120 volts on one side, and the other side varies on the doorbell model. Always check your model before purchasing any spare parts. If you are looking for a doorbell transformer, you can purchase one expensively online like this Hardwired Door Chime TransformerOpens in a new tab. (link to Amazon).

Your Doorbell Hums but Does Not Work

When a doorbell buzzes without producing its normal bell sound, it means there could be a problem in the mechanism or the electric system. The fact that the doorbell made a sound means there is power going through the mechanism.

If you push the button but the doorbell does not ring, make sure to check the transformer. If the transformer buzzes every time you press the button, then you need to follow these steps: 

  1. Check the bell. First of all, check the bell wires before trying any repair. Be sure to clean the contacts with sandpaper. If this does not fix the problem, then proceed to the following step. 
  2. Check the chime and the bell’s unit piston. Doorbell’s pistons can get worn and jammed. Clean the pistons with some alcohol; if this does not work, then you’ll have to replace the entire chime. 
  3. Check the wiring.  If you find any spliced or broken wire, then fix it and try the doorbell again.

Replacing a doorbell’s chime is not difficult or expensive. To replace it, you can follow these steps: 

  1. Identify the chime. It is usually placed in the kitchen or near the living room. 
  2. Remove the chime mechanism from the wall. For this, you’ll only need a screwdriver.
  3. Once removed, you’ll need a new chime for the replacement. 
  4. We recommend rewiring the entire chime mechanism and placing it in a new location to get better results. 
  5. After rewiring, attach the new chime to the wall and make sure every wire is connected.
  6. Try the doorbell again. You should be able to hear it ring now. 

If you need a more visual guide, we recommend watching this video:

How to Repair a Broken Doorbell | Ask This Old House

Your Doorbell Does Not Work (Doesn’t Ring or Buzz)

If you ring the bell, but it does not ring or buzz, it means the system is not receiving electricity. When this happens, it usually means the transformer is not working, or there’s a problem that you can find in the button mechanism’s wires. 

To test and fix this problem, you can follow these steps: 

  1. Check the transformer. To ensure your doorbell’s transformer is working, you can follow the article’s transformer section steps. If the transformer is not working, you’ll need to replace it.
  2. Check the wires. If you’ve checked the transformer and there is no problem, then it’s time to review the cables. Make sure to turn off the power of the circuit before testing the wires. 
  3. Remove and check the button. The button is the part of the doorbell subjected to more movement. Therefore, it is the part in which wires tend to fail the most. 

Make sure all wires inside the button are securely connected and working correctly. If not, secure them and try the doorbell again. 

By following these steps, you should be able to fix every problem with your doorbell. However, if you want a faster way to deal with it, you may choose to just replace your wired doorbell for a wireless one like the AVANTEK Waterproof Doorbell chime wirelessOpens in a new tab. (link to Amazon).

In fact, I set up my house with tons of home automation including a wireless smart doorbell.

Your Doorbell Buzzes Continuously 

If a doorbell buzzes non-stop, it means that the button is stuck. It is not a difficult problem to deal with, but it will burn out the transformer if it continues for a long time. If that happens, then the chime will stop working altogether.

To fix this problem, you can follow these steps:

  1. Access the button mechanism (use a screwdriver to access the button).
  2. Disconnect the button’s wires right-away.
  3. If your button is broken, we recommend replacing it (spare parts for doorbell buttons are inexpensive).    
  4. To change a doorbell button, detach the switch from the wall (be careful with the wires). 
  5. Once disconnected, you can replace it with the new one. 
  6. Make sure to connect the wires to the button before attaching the new one to the wall. 

If you want a more visual guide on how to replace a doorbell button, we recommend watching this video: 

Doorbell Button How to replace and install

Conclusion

Doorbells are not complicated mechanisms, but they can still fail from time to time. If your doorbell is not working, we recommend following these steps: 

  1. Check the wires in the transformer and button.
  2. Make sure the transformer is working correctly.
  3. Check the wiring in the chime.

If you find any problem with your transformer or chime, it is better to replace it if you cannot fix it by cleaning the pistons and contacts with alcohol. 

As always, remember to turn off the power before performing any testing.

Paul

As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I've learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.

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