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Our home was not pre-wired for a doorbell, so I'm looking to install a transformer to power a new wired video doorbell at our front door.

The breaker is not easily accessible from this location, so I'm hoping to use a nearby power outlet to feed a transformer and provide power to the doorbell. I'd also prefer if we could hide this transformer in the cleanest way possible, hopefully in the wall behind a blank plate or access panel (no ugly chime boxes on the wall).

Below the doorbell is an external outlet that I'm hoping to use. The simplest idea would be to plug a transformer into this outlet and wire up the doorbell, although the plug-in transformers I've been looking at aren't rated for outdoor use (and even if they were, we wouldn't want the camera's power supply accessible externally).

I'm thinking that the cleanest solution would be to add the transformer on the interior side of this wall using the line voltage that powers the exterior outlet. I see a few options:

  1. Add an interior outlet on the same circuit as the exterior GFCI. I'd then use a simple plug-in transformer wiring back into the drywall to feed the doorbell. This outlet would otherwise not be used. A little uglier than I would like but a possibility.

  2. Add a junction box on the interior wall opposite of the external outlet to include the transformer. This would be covered with a blank wall plate/access panel so the transformer remains accessible and vented but hidden. I'd much more prefer this for the cleanest look if the transformer can be recessed in the wall.

  3. Add a proper doorbell chime & transformer near the door. A bit more functional I suppose, but a chime isn't necessary for us, and it'd require additional drywall cuts/wiring.

Any other ideas?

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  • What are those screws below the door bell and along the door casing? Is that panel removable?
    – longneck
    Apr 3, 2023 at 15:14
  • @longneck its Hardie board / fiber cement panel held in place by these stainless steel screws. The panel would be difficult to remove since the stone facade on the perpendicular wall was installed after the Hardie board (you can see that stones partially block some of the screws). Apr 3, 2023 at 15:20
  • You might want to take a look at a typical hardwired doorbell transformer and a 4x4 deep metal junction box to see if the setup would fit inside your wall. The transformer should connect via a 3/4 inch knockout opening with a locknut. The junction box will need to be accessible without tools.
    – Armand
    Apr 3, 2023 at 17:04
  • Both Nest and Ring make battery operated models. Both have a great reviews and long battery life.
    – JD74
    Apr 3, 2023 at 17:55
  • @JD74 we're replacing a battery operated doorbell with a wired one since we want constant recording (we live on a busy street in the city) Apr 3, 2023 at 18:01

1 Answer 1

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Every house should have "utility space" - at least if it's not an Amish house. Things like doorbell transformers should go there. There's a trend lately to try to destroy all utility space, or rather, convert it to 'finished' so a larger square footage can be claimed in a real estate listing, raising its price. However you do need utility space, and will pay for it if you don't have it.

That said, you can actually get doorbell power for free if you have a normal 24 volt thermostat. The furnace transformer has plenty of extra power for doorbells, so simply tap that transformer. You need the R and C wire, and the pair can be found together at the furnace, or sometimes at the thermostat.

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  • Using 24V can damage some of the electronic ones, check it first to be sure.
    – Gil
    Apr 4, 2023 at 3:58

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