Friday, October 28, 2011

Vintage Doorbell Buttons & Doorbell Chimes: Replacing Doorbells In Period Homes

Doorbell season is upon us. Over the next few months, doorbell buttons and doorbell chimes will be busy announcing the arrival of guests to our homes. It all starts with trick-or-treaters at Halloween but the parade of guests continues through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and culminates with revelers at New Years. If your doorbell is a dud, doorbell season is a good time to consider replacing it.

A traditional wired doorbell is a system of three components; a doorbell button, a transformer, and a doorbell chime. The three components are connected by low voltage bell wire. Doorbell buttons work like a switch that when pressed completes an electrical circuit between the transformer and the door chime. The transformer is required to reduce the electrical current from the level of normal outlets in your home (usually 120 volts) down to the level required to operate the doorbell chime (usually 16 volts). Although each component is sold separately, all three parts are necessary to complete a doorbell.

Installing a new doorbell system in an old home can be challenging if it is not already wired for a doorbell. The low voltage wire can run through attics, basements, and crawl spaces but eventually you will likely be required to fish the small gauge bell wire behind a finished wall. The complexity of installing a new doorbell system will vary but will almost certainly be more difficult than simply replacing a previously wired doorbell button and door chime. Replacing a cheap doorbell button or doorbell chime with a more attractive and better functioning option is a relatively easy project that only requires reconnecting wires and fastening the new button or chime to the wall. Even though doorbells use low voltage power, always turn off power at the electrical panel before proceeding. The ghosts haunting homes at Halloween should not include a former homeowner who neglected to use proper precaution when working with electricity.

Transformers are usually installed in the basement where they are out of view. They can be purchased at most large hardware stores. One transformer looks and works pretty much like the next but be sure to choose a transformer that matches the voltage required by the door chime you choose.

Unlike the nondescript transformer, doorbell buttons and doorbell chimes are important architectural accents. In addition to their functionality, they are high visibility items that contribute to the overall appearance of your home. The combination of an Arts & Crafts hammered copper doorbell button paired with a wood doorbell chime not only reports the arrival of visitors but also demonstrates your appreciation for the handcrafted style of Craftsman period homes. When replacing doorbell buttons and doorbell chimes in an old home, consider an antique style doorbell button and doorbell chime that coordinate well with the architectural period of your home. A vintage doorbell button can impress guests at the front door before they even step into your period home. Doorbell chimes are typically installed in a central location where they can be heard throughout the house. Their position in high traffic areas offers the perfect opportunity to make a bold period statement. Prepare your period home for the holidays by upgrading to vintage style doorbell chimes and doorbell buttons from Shop 4 Classics.

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