If you don’t have a doorbell, isn’t it frustrating when you don’t hear people at the front door knocking? You’ve probably missed deliveries, and your friends and family might have stood outside in the cold because you just didn’t hear them. Also, you might have a working doorbell, but it is getting old and kind of hard to hear. You don’t feel like getting a new one, because you have no idea how to run wires. What should you do?
Why not get your hands on a wireless doorbell? These doorbells are usually quite inexpensive, but there are a few things that you will want to keep in mind before you buy.
Rule #1: You should find a doorbell that is not too cheap, but not too expensive either. Usually if you look for a “middle of the road” price range, you will get a solid unit, but one that works every time you need it. Price isn’t always a determining factor but chances are, if you find a wireless doorbell that’s significantly less expensive than comparable products, it is probably because the quality just isn’t up to par. Think about it. It you are the manufacturer and have a quality doorbell, you are going to market it around the same price range as your competitors. Manufacturer’s aren’t going to leave money “on the table.”
Rule#2: Always shop at a place with a good return policy. You’ve got to be able to test this unit out in your home, and if it is not loud enough, you should return it and opt of a better one. Most on-line stores and your retail box stores will have a guarantee of some sort, some very liberal, some very strict. This is different than a manufacturer’s warranty which warrants the product against faulty electronics or workmanship. Most manufacturer’s will have a warranty that extends past any store guarantee but you need to understand this prior to making a purchase.
Rule#3: You should be able to hear your doorbell from every room in the house or have the ability to expand your electronic door chime throughout your home. If it does not, then you know what to do– return it and get one that does.
Rule #4: You should be able to hear the doorbell from the outside as well. If you cannot hear it from the outside, the person ringing it may have no idea that it’s actually working, driving those inside the house crazy. This does not sound very intuitive at first but if you think about it, it makes sense. How many times have you stood outside a home and rang a door chime, never knowing if it is actually going off inside the home. If the home has a working wireless doorbell but you cannot hear it outside, someone at the front door could be ringing and ringing it, driving your crazy never really knowing it is working. Make sure the receiver has a nice sized speaker to give the best sound output. As a rule of thumb, 2 1/2” speaker is a nice sized speaker for a wireless doorbell receiver.
Tip #5: Make sure the range is sufficient. When range is mentioned regarding wireless doorbell units, it is referring to the distance from the wireless doorbell button (the transmitter) to the wireless door chime receiver (the speaker.) The published range you see on the packaging will be in ideal environments, but we all know ideal environments rarely exist. Most mid-range wireless doorbells will have a range of approximately 150 feet.
Tip #6: One advantage offered by most models of wireless doorbells is they tend to be expandable. Meaning you can add additional transmitters (push buttons) and/or additional receivers. This will allow you to add push buttons at your back door, for example, and also add a receiver in an upstairs bedroom.
Tip #7: You should make sure that you have fresh batteries in both the indoor and the outdoor units. Remember that if it gets cold in the winter, the outdoor doorbell battery will die faster due to the temperatures. Wireless door chimes typically have an outdoor wireless door chime button powered by batteries. The power consumption of these wireless buttons is very minimal but do require a good power supply. Because these wireless doorbell buttons are outside, the cold weather will diminish battery life. Periodically test your electronic door chime setup to ensure everything is working correctly.
Tip #8: You should make sure that the outdoor unit is made of strong plastics. This is the only part of the unit that might be outside in freezing temperatures. Wireless doorbell buttons need to made of plastic to ensure the wireless signal they transmit are not interfered with by metal. With that said, there are varying degrees of quality when it comes to the plastic housings that house the wireless button. Just check it over and make sure it is not cheaply made and the first cold snap won’t crack it.
Tip #9: Install the outdoor unit to the side of the door then check to see if it actually works prior to throwing packaging and the receipts away. Often times, if your door is metal, it won’t be able to transmit the signal or the metal will interfere with the transmission range. Since most residential homes do not have metal doors, this should not be a problem. If your home does have a metal door or metal door frame, a small wood shim mounted underneath the door chime button will dramatically improve the signal degradation that occurs because of the metal.
Tip #10: Once everything seems to be working properly, you are now free to enjoy your new doorbell. Most of your batteries should last about a year but check it often just to make sure. If your receiving unit plugs into a standard wall outlet, it could be subject to electrical surges so check it too. If you are going out of town, go ahead and unplug them so a lighting storm won’t hit them while you are away.
Wireless doorbell units are usually inexpensive and will range from $20-$100 dollars. A good mid-range doorbell is probably going to cost about $35. It may not be a good idea to go much lower than that, unless you live in a small house or apartment and the outdoor part of the wireless doorbell is protected. Using these is going to be easy, installing them is quick; and batteries are cheap.