Doorbells are only convenient when they work. What happens when your doorbell malfunctions and you open it to find short wires? How can you fix a doorbell with short wires? Can you extend the cables? This guide will show you what to do.
Is Doorbell Wire Too Short – Why?
The doorbell wire is too short because
- Some homeowners have pulled doorbells off only to realize that their contractor left very short wires, either out of negligence or because of the limited resources they had on hand.
- Additionally, some people break the wires while pulling the doorbell off the wall.
This is a bigger problem than you realize. It is difficult to fix a doorbell with short wires because they limit your options. You don’t have as much room to initiate repairs.
Professional contractors are smart enough to leave several inches of wiring for homeowners to use if problems arise and they have to replace or reinstall the device in question. This is especially true for switches and outlets. You would expect a contractor to apply the same rationale to a doorbell.
Regardless of the reason, you have short wires and it can complicate your efforts to fix a doorbell. Fortunately, there are ways to get around this issue.
Can Doorbell Wire Be Extended?
You can extend a doorbell wire. Doorbells are low voltage devices. Therefore, a layperson can handle the cables without worrying about fatal electrocution.
You are still expected to switch the power off before you proceed. Use the main breaker if you cannot identify the doorbell’s circuit. But many contractors handle doorbell wiring without de-energizing the circuit because these devices are low voltage.
You can attempt to extend the wires. But this is not your only option. You are better off replacing the wired doorbell with a wireless option.
Battery-powered doorbells can be installed quickly and easily.
If you deplete the battery or extreme elements corrode the internal components, you can buy a replacement for $15. Wired doorbells have their challenges. For instance, you may not have the option of extending the wires.
If the pre-existing wires are worn out and brittle, a contractor will encourage you to replace all the cables, which is a more complex undertaking than simply buying and installing a cheap battery-powered doorbell.
How To Extend A Doorbell Wire?
1). Start by removing the doorbell and identifying the short wires you want to extend.
2). The doorbell wires in the video are solid. They have one conductor. Buy some 22AWG stranded wiring. Remove 1 ½ inch of insulation.
3). Wrap the strands of the 22AWG wire around the doorbell wire. Don’t bend the solid wire. You don’t have to move it. Bending the solid wire weakens it. If you bend it enough times, it will break, especially if you have older wiring. Make sure the wire strands have a secure connection to the doorbell’s solid wire.
4). Get a crimp connector that matches the size of the wires. If you have some wire nuts, you might be tempted to use them here. But wire nuts are a terrible idea because you have to twist them, a process that can also break the solid wire.
Stick with crimp connectors. Electrical tape is another suitable alternative. However, electrical tape is not a satisfying solution in the long term because it will eventually degrade and fall off.
You cannot trust the tape to hold the wires together. Anyone who tugs at the 22AWG wires will pull them off the solid wire. You should only rely on electrical tape if you don’t have any other option.
Otherwise, you are better off using a crimp connector. Push it over the connected wires and apply crimping pliers. The connector will hold the wires tightly.
5). Do the same thing to all the doorbell wires you want to extend.
At this point, you can use the longer 22AWG wires to perform your repairs. You can wrap the strands of the 22AWG wires around the doorbell’s terminals.
SFGATE has detailed a similar method for splicing doorbell wires. But their approach involves twisting the wires into braids and turning each braid into a hook. They expect consumers to cover exposed wires with electrical tape.
More importantly, they encourage users to unplug the transformer. They expect homeowners to find the transformer in the basement. This has to be your first step before you tamper with the doorbell.
But for the most part, the steps they have published are not particularly different from the splicing techniques most people use. They don’t expect the doorbell to present any dangers because it uses 16 volts. But you have to apply caution because the wires are fragile.
The family handyman has published a video showing consumers how to deal with short wires. Their video is concerned with short outlet wires. But it applies to any other situation that involves short wires, including doorbells. You can take some inspiration from their explanation.
How Long Can A Doorbell Wire Be?
The maximum length for 12AWG wire is 125 feet. That figure falls to 20 feet for 20AWG.
Best Doorbell Wire Gauge
18AWG is the best and most common gauge for doorbells. But you can use thicker wires where necessary. Although, the stiffness of thicker wires could make it a challenge.
Don’t forget: the thickest wire is also the least flexible. It may not fit in the spaces that typically accommodate conventional doorbell conductors.
What Wire Can You Use For Doorbells?
You can use wires as thick as 16AWG for doorbells
Can You Leave Doorbell Wires In Wall? Can You Cut It? Is It Safe?
You don’t have to remove them. The wires are not dangerous because doorbells are low voltage. You can cover them with electrical tape.