Video Doorbell Transformers

How to Know if Your Need a New Doorbell Transformer

If your doorbell is no longer working properly, you may be in need of a new transformer. In this article, we discuss what exactly a doorbell transformer is and how to know if you need one for your home. Keep reading to learn more.

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Last update on 2020-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Does a Doorbell Transformer Do?

Simply put, a doorbell transformer takes the high voltage of electricity coming into the home and lowers it so that a budget video doorbell is able to handle it.

Electricity typically enters the home at 120V of power, but a standard doorbell can handle no more than about 12-16V. Without a transformer, the electricity entering your home would completely overpower and fry the doorbell.

How Wired Doorbell Systems Work

Your doorbell’s button is mounted on the outside of your home, likely right beside the front door. Inside the wall of the home, this doorbell is wired directly to the doorbell transformer which has been connected to the home’s main electrical system.

When somebody presses the doorbell button, electricity gets passed through the transformer before the actual electrical system. Here, is is converted from high voltage electricity to low voltage electricity, about 12-16V. This power is what allows the doorbell to chime or ring without overloading and frying the whole system.

How Does the Doorbell Transformer Affect an Extended Chime Receiver?

There are specific things you should know about doorbell transformers if you are using an extended chime receiver. With these devices, the actual chiming or ringing of your doorbell can be heard at a farther range, so you can hear it from the other side of the house.

A chime extender loops into your wired doorbell’s electrical circuit, which includes the doorbell transformer. However, they actually stimulate the chime receiver wirelessly, which is what allows for the extended range.

This is important to note because the transmitter for this wireless receiver actually gets wired into the doorbell transformer. If you are replacing your doorbell transformer but have an extended chime receiver, you are going to need to carefully work around the two components.

In many cases, a kit can be used so that you can effectively and safely replace both the doorbell transformer as well as the wireless chime receiver.

Where Can I Find My Doorbell Transformer?

If you are going to replace your doorbell transformer, then you first need to know where it is. Unfortunately, not all transformers are located in the same place. Electricians typically place the transformer wherever seems thew most convenient and easily accessible while they are wiring the doorbell chime, so you may have to look in a few different places in the electrical system.

Here are a few common places where the doorbell transformer may be in your home.

The Garage

If your home’s electrical system is most easily accessible through a panel in the garage, then an electrician may have chosen this as the spot for the doorbell transformer. This should be fairly easy to find and reach.

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The Attic

In some homes, many of the wires in the electrical system run up and through the attic for convenience. If this is the case in your home, then it is possible that an electrician chose this out of the way location for the doorbell transformer during the initial setup.

The Wall Interior

Perhaps the most simple and convenient place for a doorbell transformer to be located is inside the wall nearby the mounted doorbell chime button itself. This makes sense if the transformer was wired into the system at the same time that the chime was being originally mounted.

How Can I Replace and Install My New Doorbell Transformer?

If your home is already built and finished and you are simply replacing a faulty one, then you may want to consider a wireless doorbell option instead. This eliminates the need to search for the doorbell transformer within the home’s electrical system or cut any important wires or the home’s walls.

However, it is fairly easy to install a doorbell transformer in the process of new construction on a home, or during a remodeling or renovation project. This task should be completed before the drywall is places, so that you have access to the wires running through the wall interiors.

Doorbell transformers and chime receivers are powered with 12-16 volts and almost always call for 18-gauge wires. When installing the doorbell transformer, make sure that this wire runs from the transformer directly the the doorbell button or chime itself, where it is mounted on the exterior wall of the house by the door.

Make sure that you’ve installed the transformer between the button itself and the home’s electrical system. Without it, the high voltage of power to the home will likely damage the doorbell, causing it to never ring or chime correctly.

On the transformer, you will find both a hot screw and a neutral screw. Connect the black wire to the hot screw, and then connect the white wire to the neutral screw for installation. These wires are what allow power to be transferred through the doorbell transformer, converted into a lower voltage, and then sent to the home’s electrical system and the door chime.

A neutral and a hot wire will also run from the transformer to the rest of the electrical system. This is what completes the electrical circuit. After installation, the rest of your home construction phases can be completed, and the wiring can be sealed into the wall interiors.

IMPORTANT: Make Sure Power Is Off Before Installing or Replacing the Doorbell Transformer

Keep in mind that, throughout this process, you are working with electricity at fairly high voltages. For your safety, you want to be sure that the home’s electrical system is powered off before you start touching or working with wires and the doorbell transformer.

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Before beginning the process, make sure that the electrical circuit breaker is completely powered off and that everyone on the property knows not to turn it back on again until the project has been completed.

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