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Rewiring the Doorbell, Part IThursday, July 05, 2007
When we first moved in, we noticed that the doorbell wasn't working. We found the bell on the wall in the kitchen (above the stairs to the basement), and hoped that the wires would simply be running through the basement. Fortunately this was true, and when I figured out which they were, I wasn't at all surprised that it wasn't functional. As you might be able to see in the photo on the left below, a lot of the junctions were just bare wires twisted together, and I found two or three places where they'd just fallen apart. This certainly doesn't make for a reliable doorbell system! So, considering that most of the wiring was in the basement, I decided to completely remove the existing wires and replace them.

Tracing the old wires, I saw the hole where they were running up to the front door, and then in the back (under the wall between the dining room and kitchen) there was a hole where they ran up to the bell. Starting at the front, I removed the doorbell and tugged a little on the existing wires. Finding that they moved fairly easily, I simply cut the wire in the basement and secured the new wire to the cut end. Pulling slowly from above, I was overjoyed when I saw the new wire come out the hole above!

Unfortunately, the wires running up from the basement to the bell did not go quite as smoothly. After removing the bell, I tried the same trick, with no success. I then tried pulling down from the basement, and found one of the wires moving fairly smoothly, so I tied the new wire on upstairs and pulled down. It was going well, then it suddenly started going a bit too well, and then I ended up with only the old wire in my hand (with the new wire stuck somewhere in the middle of the wall)! It looked like one of the open joints in the wire just gave way. Unfortunately, the second wire did the same thing, so now I've exhausted this option. The configuration of the walls is such that the fish tape doesn't help that much, so I'm either going to need to relocate the doorbell or make a bigger hole somewhere to feed the wire. For now I'm going to just hook up the doorbell in the basement so that at least it can do something! To be continued...

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