The easiest route to take when installing a doorbell yourself is to install a wireless, battery-operated model that doesn’t need to be connected to a transformer. But it’s still possible and even doable to install a doorbell with a transformer.
We’ve put together a tutorial that should help you get started if you want to install a doorbell in your home—even if you don’t have one installed.
Do you need an electrician to install a doorbell?
Installing a doorbell may seem like something only an electrician can do, but it’s actually a project anyone can undertake. In fact, it’s easier than you might think and only takes a couple of hours to complete.
The same thing can be said about any repairs your doorbell may need over the years: You can hire someone to fix it, but it’s also a doable do-it-yourself project! Most of the components needed to fix your doorbell are low voltage and easily found at a hardware or home improvement store.
How to install a doorbell without an existing doorbell?
You have several options if your home doesn’t have a doorbell currently installed:
Purchase a wire-free, battery-operated doorbell. (This is what we recommend for the easiest, fastest solution. )
Install a wired doorbell with a power adapter that connects to an outlet.
Install a transformer that regulates the power to your new doorbell.
How to install a battery-operated doorbell?
A wire-free, battery-operated doorbell is the easiest solution if you want to install a doorbell, but you don’t want to deal with all the wires that come with the traditional model.
How to install a smart video doorbell?
Many video doorbells these days run off batteries and are easy to self-install if you have a little time on your hands.
It’s important to note that if you want to install a video doorbell, you’ll likely still need to wire the video into a power adapter. This regulates the transformer and ensures that it works properly.
Make sure the video doorbell is charged before installation.
Download the app that corresponds with your smart doorbell.
Mount the doorbell camera using the provided mounting bracket and hardware.
Turn on the doorbell and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to add your doorbell to the Wi-Fi Protected Set-up (WPS).
Once your doorbell is enrolled in WPS, you should be able to name your device, select your desired bandwidth and chime type.
Verify signal connectivity and strength.
How to mount a new doorbell?
You’ll want to be careful when first mounting your doorbell since you won’t have a placement guide from a previous doorbell. We suggest mounting your doorbell around chest height, with a leveling device for the cleanest mounted experience.
Once you’ve decided where to put your doorbell, it’s a good idea to mark the position for the mounting holes with a pencil.
If your doorbell requires wiring, you should consider hiring a professional to drill those holes and wire the doorbell, especially if you don’t have wiring knowledge. These wires will connect to your transformer.
Carefully drill mounting holes into your wall where you’ve added the marks.
Pro-Tip: You’ll want to use screws for wood or vinyl siding and plastic anchors for brick, concrete or stucco.
Secure mounting bracket to the wall.
Place the doorbell onto the mounting bracket, then use the included hardware from the manufacturer to screw the doorbell in place.
Install the faceplate and secure it with hardware (if applicable).
How to wire a doorbell transformer?
If you don’t already have a doorbell, it’s likely you don’t have a doorbell transformer.
Your options for a transformer include a plug-in transformer and a traditional transformer.
A plug-in transformer plugs into a standard wall outlet, converting and lowering the voltage.
A traditional transformer is often attached to your electrical junction box.
If you’ve decided to wire the doorbell yourself—either for a plug-in transformer or a traditional one—you’ll need to drill a hole on the outside wall where your doorbell will be. This allows you to run a cable from the power outlet to your doorbell.
Before drilling any holes in your home, you should consider any wires that might be inside your wall and proceed with caution. When in doubt, always hire a professional.
We’re going to go over how to add a traditional transformer to your home first.
What is a junction box? It contains electrical wiring that connects to the wires throughout your home. As an alternative to long wires that run to the electrical panel, a junction box allows you to connect these wires in a more manageable way directly to the breaker.
First, you need to make sure your power is turned off on the circuit breaker. We recommend using a voltage tester to ensure that power isn’t running through the breaker.
Transformers typically start at 10V and go up to 12V, 16V and higher.
You’ll need to determine what voltage your chime requires. For example, if your chime requires a 16V, 10VA (wattage or power) minimum, then that’s the type of transformer you’ll want to get.
Don’t forget to read and follow any instructions for your specific transformer, as they may differ from our general instructions.
What is a plug-in transformer and how does it work?
One side of a plug-in transformer goes into a wall outlet and the other goes into your doorbell. It takes the power from the outlet and turns that into 12-24V.
Many doorbells require a minimum of 16V to work, including Ring, Nest and Google.
Always make sure your plug-in transformer is compatible with your new doorbell.
To use this type of transformer, you connect the two wires from your doorbell into the two wires of the transformer, then plug it into a wall outlet. Instead of using an outside plug, you should connect it to a basement or interior plug. To do this, you’ll need to drill a hole and pull the wires through.
Pro-tip: If your outlet is far from your door, you’ll need to purchase an extension cord for the transformer.
What doorbell transformer should you use?
Doorbells require different voltages to work with the transformer. Here are a couple of popular doorbells and their voltage and power requirements.
|How Many Moving Boxes Do You Need?|
|Doorbell||Voltage Required||Power Required|
|Google Nest Doorbell (battery)||8 to 24 VAC||10 to 40 VA|
|Google Nest Doorbell (wired)||
16 to 24 VAC (North America)
12 to 24 V AC (global)
10 to 40 VA (North America)
8 to 40 VA (global)
|Ring Video Doorbell Pro||16 to 24 VAC||10 to 40 VA|
|Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2||16 to 24 VAC||10 to 40 VA|
How to install a doorbell chime?
If your home doesn’t currently have a doorbell set up, it’s a good idea to buy a plug-in chime. These chime kits come with everything you need to set up the chime, including a plug-in transmitter and receiver that goes into an outlet for easy setup.
However, if your heart is set on installing a chime, we’ve got you covered.
Turn off the power at your circuit breaker and test it with a voltmeter to make sure it’s off.
Figure out where you want to place your chime on the wall and mark the mounting holes with a pencil. Pro-tip: Use a leveler to make sure everything is neat and even.
Once again, you’ll need to be careful when drilling holes into the wall, so you don’t interfere with any other wires. And if you’re not comfortable doing this, you should hire a professional.
Drill holes where you’ve marked the wall with your pencil. This is where you’ll put the toggle bolts included in your chime kit.
Now, you’ll place the chime cover to the wall, threading the wires through the open port, then screw or bolt down the chime cover into the wall.
You should see three different screws, one for the “front” of the doorbell, the “trans” (transformer) and the “back.” The “back” is only used if you want to set up a doorbell to a back door.
Wrap each wire around its corresponding screw.
Now, you should be able to turn the breaker back on and test your chime before screwing the front of the chime in place.
If everything is in working order, great! Screw or snap the chime cover to the wall.
What is the range of a doorbell chime?
Plug-in doorbell chimes can reach up to 1500 feet, but the most common range is a few hundred feet.
If your home is large, you can opt for a wide range chime or you can purchase an additional receiver to add range to space like a basement.
How do you install a digital doorbell adapter?
A digital doorbell adaptor (DDA) may be required for your doorbell. It ensures that your digital chime works with your doorbell by regulating the voltage between the chime’s speaker and the doorbell itself.
The DDA makes it easy for you to remotely access the digital doorbell chime via your doorbell’s mobile app for easy toggling between on/off.
Install the adapter before installing the doorbell in your home.
To install the digital doorbell adaptor:
First, you’ll want to unscrew the existing doorbell.
Connect one wire of your DDA to the “front” port of the digital door chime.
Attach the other wire to the “trans” terminal on the digital chime.
Then, you’ll connect the “trans” wires on the back of the DDA to the doorbell chime, securing each wire into each port.
Let ADT install a new doorbell camera in your home!
Doorbell cameras can help add an additional layer of security to your home, making it easy to see who is dropping off packages, ringing your doorbell or even coming up to your front door and not ringing the bell.
With customizable home security packages for any home and budget, ADT’s professional monitoring helps you keep an eye on your home.
Frequently Asked Questions about Installing a Doorbell
How much does an electrician charge to install a doorbell?
An electrician usually charges between $50 to 100 per hour, on top of how much they’ll need for parts and other fees.
Do all houses have a doorbell transformer?
No, not all homes have a doorbell transformer. If you have an older home, you may not have a doorbell transformer at all. To circumvent this, you could either install a transformer or get a wireless, battery-operated doorbell that doesn’t need to plug into anything at all.
What causes a doorbell transformer to start buzzing?
If your doorbell has insufficient power, it may do several things when connected to the transformer, including buzzing or shutting down.
Other performance issues from low power or voltage include:
When the chime is pressed, it’s at a low volume or doesn’t work at all.
The doorbell freezes or turns off during a live video.
The doorbell freezes or shuts down after the button is pressed or turns off for no reason at all.
The night vision stops functioning.
Disconnects from Wi-Fi or other Wi-Fi connectivity issues.
If you encounter any of these issues, it may be time to upgrade your transformer.
Does the ADT doorbell have to be hardwired?
The ADT Video Doorbell can be hardwired into your existing wires, or used with a rechargeable battery pack in order for it to work. The battery-operated option has a rechargeable battery that can last up to 3 months before you need to recharge it.
Will ADT replace its doorbell if it’s stolen?
Damage or theft is covered under ADT’s standard Quality Service Plan. Please note that you are required to provide a signed Theft Protection Guarantee certificate, a letter requesting reimbursement, a copy of the police report and a copy of the accepted insurance claim.