Knock knock! Who’s there?

We don’t know because our doorbell doesn’t work! And yes, that’s a real lady bug hanging out in my shot.

But anyway, our doorbell was kind of a mess. And I’m not just referring to the fact that it’s covered in paint. The only way to make it ring was by sticking a screwdriver in it, like so:

But since most of our guests don’t arrive screwdriver in hand, I thought it was high time to install a new doorbell.

So I found a nice, tasteful doorbell at Home Depot. This part – the chimes that I’ll install in the hallway – cost about $20.

The button that I’ll install on the front porch cost about $7. So all total, this project cost less than $30. High five!

The first and most important step : turn off the breaker that gives power to the doorbell. Safety first, guys!

So, if you remember from my hallway pictures, the doorbell chimes had lost their cover (top left). So I unscrewed them from the wall, but they were held up there nice and tight by about 50 years worth of paint (top right). Next, I loosened the screws that hold the wiring in (bottom left) and with a bit of prying, I gently removed the old chimes (bottom right).

Here’s a close up of the old chimes, which we’re pretty sure are original to the house (which was built in the 60s). Check out those cobwebs! But notice that the red wire is wrapped around the first screw, which is labeled “front,” and the white wire is wrapped around the middle screw, labeled “trans.” I loosened those screws with a couple twists of my screwdriver and unwrapped the wires before taking down the old chimes.

Once the old chimes were down, Aaron drilled holes to put anchors in the wall for the new chimes (top left). With the new chimes in hand, I loosened the “front” and “trans” screws (top right). When the new chimes were in place, I threaded the wires through the hole in the top left corner of the chimes and screwed them into place (bottom left). Once they were in place, I wrapped the wires around the “front” and “trans” screws and tightened them with my screwdriver.

A slightly blurry close up. It’s important to remember : red goes to “front” and white goes to “trans.” Once the screws are tightened back in place, the chimes half of your doorbell is officially installed.

The plastic cover just pops right on and voila! Your chimes tastefully blend right into the walls of your new white hallway.

Meanwhile, out on the front porch, I unscrewed the old doorbell button, and just like with the chimes, there’s a red wire wrapped around the top screw and a white wire wrapped around the bottom screw (top left). Just loosen those screws and unwrap the wires, leaving them exposed (top right). Take your new button, loosen the screws and wrap the red wire around the top screw and the white wire around the bottom screw, then tighten the screws back in place (middle).

We realized once we hooked up the button that we hadn’t turned the power off to this half of the doorbell, as evidenced by the light that came on when the wires were in place (bottom left). Oops! Lesson learned. It takes two (breakers) to tango. Last step – use the screws that came in the button’s package to screw the button into place (bottom right).

And there you have it! A nice, chimey new doorbell. And yes, it works!

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