How to Change a Doorbell Chime

Contemporary doorbell chimes have come a long way from the basic one-tone models once standard in many homes. Doorbell chimes are now available in an almost infinite range of melodies, chime tones and popular music. Some newer models offer celebrity voices or an option to record your own message. Whatever sound you choose, installing a new doorbell chime is an easy project to complete.

Step 1

Switch off the electrical power at the main breaker or fuse panel to the doorbell circuit. 

Step 2

Access the doorbell chime box from a ladder or step stool and remove the doorbell chime cover from the chime assembly.  The doorbell chime box is usually located on the wall near the front door.

Step 3

Disconnect the small wires connected to the doorbell chime leads in the center of the chime assembly.  Homes with one doorbell button location will have two connection wires.

If your home has two button locations, there will be a third wire, connected to a lead labeled “C” or “common”; this wire should be marked with masking tape. 

Step 4

Detach the old doorbell chime box using a screwdriver by loosening and removing the screws holding the base to the wall. 

Step 5

Mark the new mounting holes, if applicable, by holding the new doorbell chime box in position on the wall, then pencil-mark the wall at the new screw hole locations.  If the old screw anchors align with the available holes in the new chime box, the old screws and anchors can be reused.

Step 6

Drill a 3/16-inch hole at each screw location with the drill, if applicable, and insert plastic wall anchors into each hole. 

Step 7

Insert the doorbell chime wires through the back of the new doorbell chime box base, then hold the base against the wall.  Use the screwdriver to insert the No.

12 screws through the base into the wall anchors and tighten. 

Step 8

Attach the circuit connection to the new doorbell chime box by wrapping the end of the doorbell wires clockwise around each terminal screw base and tightening the screws with a screwdriver.  Connect the common wire marked in Step 3, if applicable, to the C terminal.

The remaining two wire connections are interchangeable and can be attached to either terminal. 

Step 9

Hook the top of the chime cover over the chime, then lower to snap the cover onto the chime base. 

Step 10

Restore the electrical power to the doorbell circuit at the main breaker or fuse panel. 

Things You Will Need

  • Ladder or step stool
  • Standard screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • Drill
  • 3/16-inch drill bit
  • Expansion wall anchors, No. 12 (optional)
  • Screws, No. 12, 1-inch long (optional)

About the Author

Paul Massey has been writing since 2009, drawing on a 35-year career in the construction industry. His experience includes 15 years as a general building contractor specializing in architectural design, custom homes, commercial development and historic renovations.