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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Northern Virginia
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    Question Doorbell Wired into 3-way Switch

    Don't know where code inspector was when my house was built. Have been finding and correcting electrical problems since I moved in. Electrician wired the doorbell into the interior hall lighting 3-way switch, so depending upon on how switches are set at either end of the hall, the doorbell will work or not work. Conductors are all run up into the attic and then down into the walls and are relatively easy to trace. House has a front door leading into an entry hall with it's own overhead light. Duplex switch in entry hall controls entry hall overhead light and outdoor porch lights. Entry hall doorway leads into interior hallway with the light circuit that the doorbell is wired into. Want to fix the doorbell problem. How are doorbell circuits typically wired? What is the best way to correct this?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Doorbell Wired into 3-way Switch

    A door bell's transformer needs to be connected to a continueous line, not controled by a switch.

    I'd save a lot of work, time and money, dump the wired door bell and switch to a wireless door bell. For less than 10 bucks, you can get a C battery operated bell. How smart is that?

    BTW, the inspector was out to lunch with the builder.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Doorbell Wired into 3-way Switch

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    A door bell's transformer needs to be connected to a continueous line, not controled by a switch.
    This is the route I'd go. All you have to do is move the transformer to a non-switched source and you'll be good to go. You're not going to fiddle with the ringer wire, only the feed wire to the transformer.

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    BTW, the inspector was out to lunch with the builder.
    Agreed. This is one small reason why I don't have much use for most of the inspection and permitting process. It's sole purpose is for revenue enhancement NOT safe building practices, although some of the latter does occur.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
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    Nov 2011
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    Northern Virginia
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    Red face Re: Doorbell Wired into 3-way Switch

    Thanks for the replies. I thought about doing the wireless, but think I'll see what it takes to wire the transformer into the continuous circuit, first. Of course, with wireless, I'd be able to hear someone was at the front door during a power outage.

    Just of interest, the story goes that the builder who built the house and the electrician had a disagreement over how many outlets to install. Supposedly, the builder came and saw the electrician putting in electrical outlets at the proper intervals in the living room. He objected and told the electrician he was paying him by connection and to only put one receptacle in each wall. The electrician objected that it wasn't to code. The builer said he wouldn't pay for those "extra" outlets, regardless. When I moved in, there were the right number of outlets, but I couldn't understand why two walls' worth of electical outlets didn't work. I unscrewed the outlet covers and discovered the reason: no wires. I had a licensed electrician fix that one. Then there are the bedrooms where the wall switch turns off every single outlet in the room...and the wrong gauge wire for the dryer and stove circuits...and the kitchen stove exhaust vent and light wired into the overhead light 3-way switch...etc.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Doorbell Wired into 3-way Switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Helpee View Post
    Of course, with wireless, I'd be able to hear someone was at the front door during a power outage. .
    No you wouldn't because only the exterior button is wireless, the chime is plugged into any wall outlet that is handy. Now, if you installed a back-up generator ...
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Doorbell Wired into 3-way Switch

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    No you wouldn't because only the exterior button is wireless, the chime is plugged into any wall outlet that is handy. Now, if you installed a back-up generator ...
    General Electric sells a wireless bell, both the exterior botton and the interior chime are wireless. I've installed 9 or 10 of them already and they work fine. They run on long lasting alkaline batteries. Price: about $10.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Doorbell Wired into 3-way Switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Helpee View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I thought about doing the wireless, but think I'll see what it takes to wire the transformer into the continuous circuit, first. Of course, with wireless, I'd be able to hear someone was at the front door during a power outage.

    Just of interest, the story goes that the builder who built the house and the electrician had a disagreement over how many outlets to install. Supposedly, the builder came and saw the electrician putting in electrical outlets at the proper intervals in the living room. He objected and told the electrician he was paying him by connection and to only put one receptacle in each wall. The electrician objected that it wasn't to code. The builer said he wouldn't pay for those "extra" outlets, regardless. When I moved in, there were the right number of outlets, but I couldn't understand why two walls' worth of electical outlets didn't work. I unscrewed the outlet covers and discovered the reason: no wires. I had a licensed electrician fix that one. Then there are the bedrooms where the wall switch turns off every single outlet in the room...and the wrong gauge wire for the dryer and stove circuits...and the kitchen stove exhaust vent and light wired into the overhead light 3-way switch...etc.
    Hmmm -- very strange.
    I can see a building inspector letting go or missing the odd thing -- but -- that many electrical code violations is hard to believe.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,963

    Default Re: Doorbell Wired into 3-way Switch

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    General Electric sells a wireless bell, both the exterior botton and the interior chime are wireless. I've installed 9 or 10 of them already and they work fine. They run on long lasting alkaline batteries. Price: about $10.
    You always have to be difficult, don't you. how am I supposed to sell a project when you keep coming in with a voice of reason?

    By the way, have I ever shown you my boat?



    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Doorbell Wired into 3-way Switch

    Spruce,

    Which one? the OC?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,963

    Default Re: Doorbell Wired into 3-way Switch

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    Spruce,

    Which one? the OC?
    Yeah, because you keep getting in the way of my change orders!
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

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