How to fix a doorbell - problems your doorbell might be facing and how to solve them

Get your doorbell ringing properly in no time with our easy-to-follow guide

Blue metal doorbell
(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

Having a fully functioning doorbell is important; not only do they let us know when guests have arrived or parcels have been delivered, but they can also create noise that would drive anyone insane when they're not working properly. 

So it's better to learn how to fix a doorbell sooner rather than later, and prevent the bell from malfunctioning to the point where it needs to be replaced. Like learning how to fix a squeaky door, this is a DIY job that's best tackled straight away so it can be nipped in the bud. 

'A small yet regularly used device, the doorbell can cause all sorts of confusion and frustration if broken,' says Christopher Varghese, Ecommerce Executive, GTSE. 'It's far more cost-effective to repair the device than buy and fit a brand new one, and it's a lot quicker to do this too.' 

Nowadays doorbells can come in a variety of forms, from classic wired bells to video doorbells fitted with cameras for extra security. Wired doorbells may require the help of an electrician, but you can learn how to fix a doorbell based on what type you have to help get it back to full working order.

Red brick house with black front grate and blue door

(Image credit: Runnymede Homes)

How to fix a doorbell

If you've been experiencing problems with your doorbell, our guide will take you through the likely causes of the issue and how to solve them. Keep reading to learn how to fix a doorbell and get it chiming and ringing away in no time, so you'll never miss the delivery man again.

Headshot of property expert Gregory Smith
Gregory Smith

Gregory Smith has worked in the property and construction industry for over 20 years. He currently continues to work on domestic building projects while also providing expert comments in the property and construction field for PriceYourJob. He has worked with PriceYourJob for the past 4 years and has been published in a range of reputable publications.

Start by identifying the problem

In order to fix a doorbell, you firstly need to identify what is causing the problem. It may be an issue with the button, or the wires, or if it's a smart doorbell, an issue with the WiFi connection.

Most common issues are visible and therefore easy to identify, such as a blockage in the button or a frayed wire. 'Any issue that can't be visually identified is usually a problem internally with the electrics,' explains Gregory Smith, Property and Construction Expert, PriceYourJob

Different doorbell issues will require different methods to fix them, so follow the appropriate guidance as relates to your specific doorbell problem.

Pink door with doorbell

(Image credit: Getty)

How to fix a doorbell with a faulty button

A faulty doorbell is often caused by a problem with the button. 'There may be a physical blockage such as dirt, grime, or things like spider’s nests behind the button, preventing it from working properly,' says Gregory. 

Pressing the button quite vigorously is sometimes enough to loosen the blockage and fix the problem with your doorbell. It's also a good idea to clean the space around the button with something like a cotton bud, that can reach inside the crevices.

If the problem was located in the button, your doorbell should now be working again properly.

How to fix a doorbell with a broken chime box

Silver doorbell with ring button on wall

(Image credit: Runnymede Homes)

If there isn't a problem with the button, the issue may be coming from the chime box. This is the box that is located in your home which emits the doorbell sound, and is usually placed near your electrical panel. 

Using a screwdriver, take off the cover from the box and inspect it for damage. Test the plunger feeding directly into the box to see if it can move freely and 'spring back' into position when you push it down. If it can't, a build-up of dirt is likely getting in the way. 

Tighten the electrical terminal screws which the wires connect to. Clean all the parts of the chime box with a microfibre cloth, removing any dust and dirt. Avoid using lubricants and WD-40 as this will attract grime and make the problem worse over time.

How to fix a doorbell with faulty wiring

Sometimes, the doorbell may not be working properly because of issues with the wiring that connects the button or the ringer to the chime box. This is likely to be the case if you can't see any visible issues with the bell. 

You'll firstly need to locate the doorbell transformer. This is often near the cable modem or the telephone box on the outside wall of the house, or it can be incorporated into your home's electric security system if you have one.

Once you've found the transformer, you should be able to see the doorbell wires. Look for areas where the sheath is damaged, and also for pinched or badly kinked sections.

If there are breaks or frays in the wiring, you can repair these by adding twist-on connectors, which you can purchase online or in a DIY store. If the problem with the wires seems more severe, you may need to call on an electrician to replace the wiring completely. 

Why is my doorbell not working?

'There are a few reasons why your doorbell may not be working,' says Thomas Goodman, Joinery Expert, MyJobQuote. 'If it’s a wireless doorbell, check the batteries and your Wi-Fi connection, and make sure any plug-in chime units are turned on, within range and paired properly.'

If it's a wired doorbell, there may be a malfunction in the wires. 'Common issues with wiring include fraying, twists, bends, damage due to rodents, or water damage', says property expert Gregory. 

'Bare in mind that wired doorbells can develop a number of problems over time', Thomas adds. 'This includes a faulty chime, push-button, transformer or wiring, which means it can be difficult to work out the exact reason it’s stopped working.'

Do I need an electrician to replace a doorbell?

Whether or not you can install a doorbell yourself depends on the type you are fitting. 'If you are installing a traditional wired doorbell, it’s usually best to leave this to a professional,' Gregory advises. 'However, if you’re installing a smart doorbell that works via Wi-Fi, you'll most likely be able to install this yourself, as they tend to be very easy to set up.'

'If you want to continue using a wired doorbell, it will depend on how confident you are and whether any of the wiring needs to be replaced,' Thomas agrees. 'If you’re at all unsure, then it’s best to ask an electrician to do it for you.'

How much does it cost to fix a doorbell?

Fixing a doorbell can be a relatively cheap job if you're doing it yourself. You may not need to buy anything if it's just a case of cleaning the button and chime box, and tightening the screws. If the wiring is frayed, you can purchase some connectors for cheap, usually under £10. 

'If you do need to call on an electrician to rewire your doorbell, you can expect to pay  around £30 - £45 per hour,' Gregory says. 'Most doorbell issues are quite simple and shouldn’t take longer than an hour or two to fix.'

'If it isn't a quick and simple fix, and there’s any awkward wiring or a need for replacement parts, then it may cost between £55 and £85,' joinery expert Thomas adds.

Now you have no excuse for not hearing guests when they come to the front door.

Katie Sims

Katie Sims has been writing for Ideal Homes since spring 2022. She qualified from her Master’s in Media and Journalism in 2021 and has been writing freelance since. She has worked on Ideal Home’s ecommerce team where she researched the best home products on the market, and on the news team, researching the latest trends for feature pieces.