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I am looking at replacing my doorbell (original to the house, circa 1978) with something more modern looking. Now, the problem I have is that most of the modern doorbells are wireless. Mine is wired...and I can't find any information about terminating the power to the doorbell and ideally burying it in the wall to be forgotten about. Is this possible? Or if it isn't what are feasible, ethical and non-burn my house down options?

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Don‘t tear the wires out

Some newer doorbells are going wireless. But this is not a universal trend. Better doorbells are actually wired, because they do things that take power. They are lighted (like, the button glows), they have cameras or WiFi, motion sensors, microphones, speakers, etc. Those things are not possible on battery.

Also, the wireless doorbells I have seen are not well built, and don't last. I would expect quality ones to work both wired or wireless.

It would be silly to, a few years later, pay an electrician to re-run the wires... Or have to forego a nice doorbell because of no wires.

In other words, I think "wireless" is a fad.

I would simply disconnect the wires at both ends without cutting or damaging them. The other end will be the chime, and it's quite likely the transformer is near that. Sometimes, doorbells coattail on the furnace/thermostat transformer.

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    "I would simply disconnect the wires at both ends without cutting or damaging them" -> and insulate them – Alexander Sep 18 at 5:35
  • If you want to add a doorbell to a Victorian house (which would originally have been fitted with a door knocker or a an actual bell hanging by the door), a wireless doorbell is very useful indeed (and avoids having to try and run power to the doorbell). I don't think they are a fad - but they probably are rather niche. – Martin Bonner Sep 18 at 8:58
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    The big advantage of a wireless doorbell is lower installation cost if you don't happen to have compatible wiring already in place where you need it. That doesn't just apply to old houses, like @MartinBonner mentions, but to any situation where you might want to add a doorbell where there wasn't one before. As it makes no sense to pay $100 (on top of the cost of the bell itself) to have a wired doorbell installed, when you can buy a wireless one for $10 and install it yourself in minutes, most cheap doorbells sold directly to consumers are likely to stay wireless for the foreseeable future. – Ilmari Karonen Sep 18 at 12:41
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    "I would simply disconnect the wires at both ends without cutting or damaging them" -> and make sure to keep them from falling into the wall cavity. – stannius Sep 18 at 17:41
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    @JCrosby A lot of wireless kits seem to come with 2 receivers, which only reinforces my agreement with Harper about their quality/longevity. A good SINGLE wireless receiver should be able to support two transmitters all on its own, there's no reason you should need a second receiver just to add a side-door bell. (Heck, our wired door chime growing up took two inputs, with distinct tones.) These dual-receiver packages (typically with only a single transmitter) tell me A: they're cheap throwaway hardware, and B: they're not loud enough for one chime to cover a reasonable-sized dwelling. – FeRD Sep 19 at 7:56
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Those wires going to your doorbell button hook up to a transformer somewhere. Maybe it's behind your chime, or maybe its in the attic, but it's there somewhere. Find the transformer and completely disconnect it (but leave it there in case anyone wants to hook it up again), and then you can bury the doorbell wires in the wall. Again, try to make the wires accessible even if you tie a string onto them in case someone else needs it later.

If you can't find the transformer, you can cap off the doorbell wires with wire nuts, but that transformer is going to still be live in the house somewhere using a small amount of power. Not really recommended.

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    Gotcha! In essence - find and disconnect completely the transformer - even if it becomes a real crappy game of "where's waldo". – J Crosby Sep 17 at 20:34
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    @JCrosby, right - the low voltage isn't going to hurt anything or start a fire, but if the wires do get shorted out it could make the transformer heat up and burn out. Might be a where's waldo, but really should be done. – JPhi1618 Sep 17 at 20:36
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    Quite likely the transformer is right next to the chime. It's not that hard to follow the sound, yes? – Harper Sep 17 at 22:12
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    @Harper, maybe likely in your hood, but in mine they are all in the attic... – Jimmy Fix-it Sep 18 at 1:00
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    My transformer is right next to my fuse box, YMMV – Cinderhaze Sep 18 at 16:27
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There are "wireless" doorbells that can actually take power from the low voltage doorbell wiring, though you may need to adjust the wiring to make it a power delivery circuit instead of a "short-circuit to ring" circuit.

These have the advantage that you don't have to worry about charging the battery every so often.

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To power the wired doorbell, there will be a transformer that converts the house voltage to a lower voltage. To decomission the wiring you'll have to find that transformer and remove it.

The other option would be to cap them off and leave them inside the box of the new doorbell. That lets you or a future homeowner use them in the future.

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