A doorbell is a graceful way for guests or delivery people to announce their presence at your door. But if hardwiring a doorbell into your home's electrical system has been stopping you, a wireless doorbell just might be the quick solution that you need.
Wireless vs. Wired Doorbell Installation
For convenience and safety, some type of doorbell—whether wireless or wired—is always recommended for a home.
Choosing between a wireless or a wired doorbell is often decided by the installation requirements and the user's preferences. Though considered a more permanent addition to a home, a wired doorbell will require in-wall wiring, so limited sections of drywall may need to be removed.
No wires to be run
Chime base must be located at an outlet
Radio interference possible though not likely
Distance and wall blockage limitations possible
Battery required for push button unit
Three 20-gauge wires need to be run
Chime base can be installed anywhere (wire is required)
No radio interference
No distance and wall blockage limitations
No battery required anywhere in system
If you need to work on the electrical outlet for the chime unit, be sure to turn off the circuit breaker first at the electric service panel.
Equipment / Tools
- Flathead or Phillips head screwdriver
- Drill bits and drivers
- Measuring tape
- Wireless doorbell
How to Install a Wireless Doorbell
Plug in the Chime Unit
To locate the chime unit, find a 120V outlet (or as specified by the instructions) located relatively near to the door but also deep enough into the home so the chimes can be heard in all areas. A front hallway is a recommended location since it has a clear sightline to the front door.
Do not place the chime unit near a heat source, such as near a radiator or baseboard heater.
Place the Battery in the Push Button Unit
Use the flathead screwdriver to open the battery door of the push button unit. Insert the included battery in the unit. Make sure that the battery is facing in the correct direction. Replace the battery door.
Choose a Location for the Push Button Unit
The correct height for a doorbell push button is usually 44 to 48 inches from the ground. Choose the doorknob side of the doorframe, not the hinge side.
Test the Push Button Unit
Hold the unit at the intended location and test it to see if the signal properly contacts the chime unit. This should be confirmed with an audible ring.
Mark the Screw Locations for the Push Button Unit
The push button unit may have a separate back mounting plate. If so, use this as a template for marking the drill hole locations.
Other push button units use the back of the housing as the mounting plate. If so, open up the unit with the flathead screwdriver and use the back to mark the locations of the drill holes.
Install Push Button Unit
Drill pilot holes that are about half the diameter of the unit's mounting screws. Next, attach the mounting plate by driving the screws with the drill. Then attach the push button unit and test it.
Wireless Doorbell Installation Troubleshooting
Chimes Do Not Ring
If the wireless doorbell chimes do not ring, usually the chimes' outlet is not receiving power or the push button unit's battery is not working.
Remove the chime unit from the outlet. Test the outlet with another device (like a lamp or a corded drill) to make sure it has power. If there is no power, make sure that the circuit breaker on the electric service panel is not turned off.
Wireless doorbell button units use a specific type of small battery. It's easy to confuse one battery with another, even though they might look exactly the same. Check with the doorbell instructions or look at the unit for printed battery specifics. It is also easy to install the battery backwards, and you must flip it over to its proper orientation.
Chime Volume Is Low
Most wireless doorbell chime units have a volume control that may have been turned down to low or even turned to OFF for shipment. With an assistant pressing the doorbell push button, increase the volume or turn it to ON.
Poor Signal Range From Push Button to Chimes
Metal or unplasticized polyvinyl chloride (uPVC) materials hinder radio signals and can limit the signal range from the outside button to the indoor chimes.
Move the push button unit off of metal or uPVC doors, door casing, or window frames. If your home has metal wall studs, relocate the push button by a few inches if it is located directly in front of one of these studs.
Push Button Battery Needs Frequent Replacement
Cold weather under 41ºF degrades the life of any type of battery, especially the small battery required for the push button unit. Replace the battery more frequently during colder seasons. Always keep the unit dry. Rain or snow can rust the unit's battery terminals.
When to Call a Professional
All homes should have an ample number of conveniently located electrical outlets, per electrical code. If you find an outlet that isn't working, you may want to call an electrician to troubleshoot it.