How to Cap Off Old Doorbell Wires
You can use wire caps to cover up the ends of old doorbell wires. These caps can be purchased at hardware stores and home centers.
Before you begin capping off old doorbell wires, it’s important to know what you’re doing. If you’re unsure, it’s a good idea to have a licensed electrician do the job for you.
1. Cut the Wires
If your doorbell chimes are no longer sounding, you may have a wire short. Luckily, you can quickly cap off the wires and fix the problem without needing to hire an electrician.
To start, locate the doorbell transformer (if yours is an older unit) or the chime unit (if it’s newer). The doorbell transformer usually sits tucked away along the exterior wall in your garage, basement or attic, but may also be behind a plate or even inside the chime unit itself.
Once you locate your transformer, unwrap the wires that lead to it and cut them off at the screw terminals. Then label the wires with a piece of tape, so you know where to reconnect them.
2. Wrap the Wires with Electrical Tape
To protect wires and prevent moisture from getting into them, you need to wrap them with electrical tape. It’s important to make sure that you roll the tape over the bare wire in a coil-like fashion so there are no gaps or voids.
The best way to do this is to apply a layer of electrical tape that’s two and a half times wider than the insulation. This will ensure that the tape will provide enough insulation protection to hold the wires securely.
You should also use a thicker tape than the insulation, so that it can withstand the elements better. It’s also a good idea to use half-lapped layers instead of single layers so that you get more insulation and stronger binding. This will help the tape stay in place and not peel off.
3. Crimp or Wire Nut the Wires
When you are using a crimp terminal, you should strip off only enough insulation from the wire to be able to insert it into the connector. This will ensure that there is no bare metal exposed.
Then, twist the wire strands together between your thumb and forefinger. This will bind them tight and make it easier to push the wire end into the terminal.
Once the wire is inserted, give it a little tug to make sure it’s holding tightly. If you notice any gaps in the connection, remove the nut and start over.
Crimping is the preferred method for ensuring a strong and secure connection for electrical wiring. It also insulates the joint, which prevents further damage.
4. Test the Wires
Before you start working with the doorbell wires, test their voltage and make sure there are no breaks or shorts in them. This can be done with a low-voltage circuit tester.
If the tester indicates a problem with the wiring, you should have no problems finding the source of the short. It might be a broken wire inside a wall or a broken connection on the circuit itself.
Next, check the transformer that converts household electricity to low voltage. This is often found on a metal junction box near the main electrical panel.
Once the transformer is verified as faulty, replace it. The replacement can be purchased from a hardware store.
If the wiring is a problem, you’ll need to call an electrician. This is especially true if you’re not familiar with home wiring or don’t have access to the main electrical panel.