Can an A/C install mess with your doorbell?

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  #1  
Old 04-01-03, 11:19 AM
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Can an A/C install mess with your doorbell?

I just got central air installed in my house last week. The day of the install, our doorbell stopped working. It was dead for a few days, then magically started working again. Now it's dead again. This is what I believe to be the original wired doorbell in a 34 year old house. It seems awful coincidental that our problems started occuring when the A/C was installed. Am I crazy for thinking there's a correlation here? Any suggestions on where to start looking to troubleshoot this?
 
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  #2  
Old 04-01-03, 12:22 PM
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Obviously it would be an electrical problem. The a/c system would not affect the doorbell but something that was disturbed during the installation could have. Was a new thermostat installed? Did the wire have to be replaced? Is it anywhere near the doorbell?

Look in any area where the a/c system comes near the wiring for the doorbell. Like wherever the doorbell transformer is located.

Did you have a duct system before or was it installed new last week.
 
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Old 04-01-03, 12:24 PM
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The doorbell is not part of the a/c system..

Only thing I can think of, is when they went to the main panel to do the power for the A/C unit, the transformer on the breaker/fuse box (If you have the transformer on it), and the wires that feeds the door bell may of gotten hit and broken off the screws connections.

So, look for the transformer and check the wires going to it.

Make sure it has 110 volts going to it all times, and 24 volts going out.
 
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Old 04-01-03, 12:47 PM
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A new thermostat was indeed installed, with new wiring run for it. Previously, I was on a heat-only system. The thermostat is about 10 ft away from the doorbell. No new ductwork was installed during the A/C installation.

In my basement, there are 2 incandescent ceiling light fixtures that each have a transformer'ish looking device mounted to them. Each one has a pair of small wires attached to it that runs off somewhere. I wonder what the other transformer is for? At any rate, I don't recall seeing any obvious AC inputs. The transformers seem to be built right onto the light fixtures. Would it suffice that the light bulbs come on in these fixtures? My multimeter is on the fritz, so I'll try to get another one tonight and at least test the DC side.

Thank you Captain Obvious for informing me that a doorbell is not part of the a/c system.
 
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Old 04-01-03, 01:35 PM
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door bells

From what you say. I would pull the wires off the two transformers one at a time and find out just what did what for what door bell. Did the new tstat wire go near the bell wire that they could have hit it some way. Or you might look along the refrigerant lines could they have hit the door bell wire some how there I dont think you have a boost and buck transformer there. So you should read AC on the low side there. ED
 
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Old 04-01-03, 01:46 PM
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Ed, as far as I know, there is only 1 doorbell (i.e., 1 chime unit and 1 button) in this house. I really have no idea what the 2nd transformer could be for. The refrigerant lines are towards the back of my house and don't go near the doorbell system, but you raise an interesting issue about the doorbell wire that I hadn't thought of. The chime unit is mounted on the opposite side of the same wall that the thermostat is mounted on. When KField asked earlier about the thermostat's proximity to the doorbell, I was think of the doorbell button at my front door, and not the chimes. Maybe the wires got pulled loose at the chime unit. I'll have to look into that possibility when I get home.
 
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Old 04-01-03, 01:51 PM
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door bell

There ya go. Look and see in the basement if the new tstat wire was pulled up in the same hole as the bell wire or did they hang up on it when they pulled the new tstat wire. LOT of if if if here good luck ED
 
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Old 04-01-03, 03:10 PM
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That's what I was fishing for. Somewhere those 2 systems came very close to each other. I suspect that they hooked or pulled the doorbell wire when they installed the a/c. In all fairness, it should be their responsibility to repair it. Like you said in your original post, it would be HIGHLY coincidental if it decided to stop working on the same day the a/c got installed. Let us know what you find. And the transformers you need to test would have ac outputs in the range of 24-30 volts.

Keep us posted captain doorbell.

Ken
 
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Old 04-01-03, 04:22 PM
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Well I dashed home all excited about fixing my doorbell, and the freaking thing is working again.

First off, the transformer seems fine, as does my multi-meter. Stupid me (as KField picked up on) was looking for a DC voltage, not AC. It turns out there's about an 18V AC potential across the transformer terminals. It's labeled as a 16V output, so I think it's working fine. The wires are solidly tied to the transformer. Incidentally, I figured out that the second transformer in my basement is for a wired intercom system that's as old as the house.

I opened up my chime unit in the hopes of finding a loose connection there, but the 2 copper wires look tightly wound to their respective posts. The wiring connections at my doorbell button look solid as well.

So back to the basement I go trying to chase down my wiring. It looks like the tstat wiring and the doorbell wiring don't spend much time together, at least not in the basement. They cross each other at one point, then continue on their separate ways. I think they break into the first floor at different locations but I'm really not sure. I can see the transformer wiring spliced with some wirenuts and I think the next length of wire goes up a level right after the splicing. It's hard to tell because I can only get within several feet of the wirenuts and it's dark up there. The tstat wiring unfortunately enters the next bay (or whatever you call the space between 2 joists) over, which is shielded from my view by a piece of sheet metal. It's possible the transformer wiring slips into that bay as well.

My only notion at this point is that the wirenut connections on my transformer line may have been stressed when the new tstat line was run. Unfortunately, the wirenuts are in the finished portion of my basement. I guess I'll have to cut a hole in my drywall ceiling to access the wirenuts and see if they need tightening. If that doesn't keep my doorbell up and running 24/7, I'm not sure what else to do. I suppose I could re-check the transformer when the doorbell fails again to see if there's something flakey going on there. I don't think I have a problem with my branch circuit wiring coming loose at the breaker box, as I'm certain the basement lights (including the one with the doorbell transformer) were still working when the doorbell wasn't. If anybody has any other ideas, I'm all ears.

Captain Doorbell... that's a first.
 
  #10  
Old 04-01-03, 04:52 PM
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DING DONG

That 16 to 18 volts AC should be right for that one door bell.
I go for the NUTS ED
 
  #11  
Old 04-01-03, 05:14 PM
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HaHaHa!!!

Captain Obvious, Captain Doorbell..............You guys are the best!
 
  #12  
Old 04-01-03, 05:17 PM
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funny story about doorbells

@20 yrs ago went to tstat to turn on whirlpool heat pump change out that tech had wired up. having diabetes, his sight was poor. just as i called for heat, the doorbell rang. no one being home, i went to answer, as the tech was under the house. nodody there... called for heat again, door rang again!! nobody there again!! damn kids.....ooops! yes he had confused the wires and with a call for heat, it energized the bell!!! great war story!
 
  #13  
Old 04-01-03, 07:59 PM
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Really?

Post that one again on April 2nd and I'll believe it.
 
  #14  
Old 04-02-03, 04:41 PM
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Well

I didn't read anything but your first post. The answer is no.
 
  #15  
Old 04-02-03, 04:50 PM
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honestly, kfield

that is true!
 
  #16  
Old 04-02-03, 05:05 PM
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Just kidding

I believe you.
 
  #17  
Old 04-02-03, 09:12 PM
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Wink Wire

Run a new 18/2 wire...leave the old one where it is or use it as a snake to pull the new wire...it's cheap enough. If that doesn't do the trick the transformer may be on it's way out...you might have had a mouse eat the wire...for some reason mice love T'stat wire...I think it has to do with the frequency...we see it all the time on outdoor AC units.
 
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