Saturday, March 12, 2011

DIY Home repair.....Doorbell not working.

My friend called me yesterday on my home phone.  "Michelle, are you home?"  "Yeeees?" "Does your doorbell work?  I'm on your front porch."  To my surprise, my doorbell was not working.  How the heck do you fix a doorbell?

I realized that fixing things around your home all follow the same basic pattern:
  1. Start with what you know.  For this project I started with the doorbell box (right).  It's a little plastic box that covers the "dinger" (HA HA do you like my technical terms?) which is most likely in your hallway or there about. I made sure all the wires were connected to the screws and that they were tightly secured.  I even took a rag and dusted it to make sure the connection was clear.  I checked the house circuit board to see if any breakers had been tripped...Nope.
  2. Take it to the next levelThe other part of the doorbell system I knew was the actual push button near the front door. I unscrewed the doorbell off the front of the house.  This is when I realized how simple a doorbell is.  There were 2 blue wires attached to a cheap plastic push button.  (note to self, look for a cuter doorbell) Again, I dusted this and tightened the connections.  Still not working! 
  3. Ask for help.  When you get stumped ask for help.  I called in the reinforcements of my contractor father for ideas.  Unfortunately he didn't answer his cell phone. :(  My next step was Google but I got side tracked because I realized our cable TV wasn't working! grrrrr I was getting frustrated with things all of the sudden not working!
  4. Stop and think. (#3 & 4 are interchangeable)  Walk through the problem in your head and connect the dots from A to Z.  So I stopped and thought about the puzzle.  I had a broken doorbell and after talking to Comcast (#3) I knew I had problems with our cable amplifier. Luckily for me in this situation I knew where the cable came into the house because I watched the techs that have came out before. (that's another tip)  

 I found the cable amplifier plugged in with the power light off and above it was a little silver box with wires similar to the doorbell wires I saw on the front door (above pic).  They were both plugged into 2 outlets that were on the same electrical circuit. After plugging a hair dryer into that same outlet I determined there was no power into the outlet.  My husband (who came home in the middle of my investigation) and I started checking all the GFI outlets in the house.  We found a tripped GFI upstairs and reset it.  This instantly solved the problem of both the doorbell AND the cable TV.

By taking a little time to think about and work through the problem I was able to save us money we would have used to pay an electrician to fix the doorbell and the cost of the Comcast cable tech to come out and reset a GFI breaker for me.

So before you drop money to pay someone else to fix something, try the few steps above and ASK FOR HELP!!!  There are 2 ways to learn how to fix something.....Trial and Error or ask someone.  If you don't have a "handy woman" ;) friend....Google is a great resource.

Have you fixed anything that you are proud of?
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