Smart doorbells have become an increasingly popular home security option, offering convenient features like motion-activated alerts, live video streaming, and mobile app integration. With their sleek design and DIY-friendly appeal, you may be tempted to install your new smart doorbell yourself. But while it may seem like a simple swap-out of your existing dumb doorbell, there are some important safety, performance, and cost factors to consider before attempting a DIY smart doorbell installation. In many cases, hiring a professional electrician is your best bet for a safe and seamless smart doorbell setup. Read the entire post to get a complete idea about it.
Is an Electrician Necessary To Install a Smart Doorbell?
While some basic smart doorbell models can be safely installed without an electrician, certain situations call for involving a trained electrical professional before installation –
If your existing doorbell wiring uses high voltage, an electrician must convert it to the low voltage required for smart doorbells. This requires installing a new doorbell transformer that steps down the voltage.
For advanced smart doorbell systems involving multiple doors, exterior cameras, or security lighting, the wiring is more complex and risks overloading your transformer. A professional assessment is required.
If your current doorbell wiring is very old, the insulation may be cracked or damaged. An electrician can evaluate its safety and replace any hazardous wiring.
To install your smart doorbell on brick, stucco, or other challenging surfaces, hiring an electrician ensures it is properly mounted and connected to avoid water damage or other issues.
If you don’t have existing doorbell wiring, installation requires basic electrical skills like drilling holes, running wires, and connecting circuits. An electrician has the proper tools and knowledge.
What Are the Dilemmas While DIY?
Installing a smart doorbell seems deceptively easy. You simply turn off the power, remove your old doorbell, connect a few wires, and mount the new video doorbell using screws or adhesive. Compared to running electrical wiring through your walls, how hard can it be?
For tech-savvy homeowners, DIY smart doorbell installation can be accomplished safely with proper precautions. But there are also some significant risks –
Dealing with high voltage electricity: Standard doorbell wiring carries 120-240 volts of power – enough to give a serious or even fatal shock. One wrong move while handling exposed wires can have devastating consequences.
Lack of electrical knowledge and proper equipment: Safe installation requires understanding electrical loads, voltage, amperage, and transformer compatibility, as well as owning insulated tools and a non-contact voltage tester. Lacking the right background and gear puts you in danger.
Potential for serious injuries: From electrical shocks to falls off ladders, improper DIY electrical work results in thousands of injuries per year. For your safety, some electrical tasks like dealing with high voltage are best left to the experts.
What Are the Requirements to Go for a DIY?
Given the risks, what should you consider before a DIY smart doorbell install?
Low voltage wiring: If your existing doorbell wiring is low voltage (typically 16-24 volts), it is much safer for DIY replacement. You can simply turn off the power and switch the wires.
Basic electrical knowledge: You’ll need to understand how to safely turn off power, handle exposed wires, use wiring connectors, and test circuits. Take safety precautions like wearing insulated gloves.
Compatible transformer: Ensure your current transformer converts high voltage to a lower 16-24 volts required for smart doorbells. If it doesn’t, hire an electrician to replace it.
Handyman skills: Installing your smart doorbell on different surfaces requires drilling holes, anchoring mounts, and sealing against water. You’ll need some basic home improvement experience.
Patience and care: Take things slow and double-check all wiring connections. Rushing through installation steps risks electrical hazards. Hire an electrician if you lack confidence in any part of the process.
When Hiring an Electrician Makes Sense?
Given the convenience and security benefits of smart doorbells, the extra cost of professional installation is usually money well spent. Consider hiring an electrician if –
- Your existing wiring uses high voltage, requiring a voltage transformer replacement.
- Your home has older wiring that may need inspection or full replacement for safety.
- You need multiple doorbells installed at entrances throughout your home.
- Your exterior surface where the doorbell mounts is brick, stucco, or another non-standard material.
- You want the peace of mind of knowing your smart doorbell system was installed safely by a trained professional.
Hiring an electrician takes the guesswork and uncertainty out of the installation process. They have the expertise to handle any wiring challenges, the proper tools to do the job right, and the accreditation to ensure your smart doorbell and home meet local electrical codes. Plus they can provide ongoing maintenance and service to your smart doorbell as needed.
How Much Cost Totally Can You Save By Installing Smart Doorbell by Yourself?
For a simple, single smart doorbell installation on a standard surface with existing low-voltage wiring, a DIY job could potentially save you $75 to $150 in electrician installation costs. However, if your situation requires any additional wiring work, voltage transformer replacement, multiple doorbells, or non-standard mounting surfaces, your savings diminish quickly.
Professional installation costs typically range from –
- $75 to $150 for basic, single smart doorbell installation
- $200 to $250 for wiring upgrades or voltage transformer replacement
- $100+ per additional smart doorbell on multi-door installs
- $50+ for non-standard mounting surfaces like brick or stucco
When factoring in the value of an electrician’s experience and the risks and uncertainties of DIY electrical work, hiring a pro is usually well worth the expense for a seamless and safe smart doorbell installation.
Functionality of the Doorbell Transformer that Requires Electrician
For a smart doorbell installation, one of the key requirements is having a compatible transformer that converts your high-voltage wiring to a lower voltage. Why is the transformer so important?
Your home’s doorbell wiring operates on 120 to 240-volt electrical power – enough to seriously injure or electrocute someone. Smart doorbells run on much lower 16-24 volt power. The transformer converts high voltage to low voltage to make your smart doorbell safe to install and operate.
If your existing transformer doesn’t output 16-24 volts, you’ll require an electrician to replace it with a compatible model. Transformers also have wattage ratings based on the power needs of your particular smart doorbell. Choosing the right transformer ensures your doorbell gets stable, uninterrupted power.
Replacing a transformer can add $100 or more in parts and labor to your smart doorbell installation costs. But it’s a small price to pay for the safety assurance and proper operation that the right transformer provides. Your electrician has the technical expertise to assess your wiring and select the ideal transformer for your specific smart doorbell model.
Installing a DIY smart doorbell can certainly save you some money compared to professional installation – if you have existing low-voltage wiring, basic electrical skills, patience, and a perfectly straightforward situation. But once you factor in the risks of dealing with high voltage electricity, the potential for unsafe conditions in old wiring, and the complexity of multiple doorbell or camera systems, hiring an electrician quickly becomes the wise option.
For only a bit more money, a trained electrician offers you safety, code compliance, and peace of mind that your new smart home tech is installed to the highest standards. They have the experience to handle any electrical challenges and the credentials to certify your system is safe. Don’t put yourself or your home at risk to save a few bucks – leave the wiring to the experts.
People Also Ask
Can I install a smart doorbell myself if my existing doorbell doesn’t work?
No, a non-working doorbell likely indicates a wiring fault, damaged transformer, or other electrical issue that is unsafe for DIY repair. Hire an electrician to diagnose and fix any underlying problems before installing your smart doorbell.
What kind of tools do I need to install my smart doorbell?
Basic tools like a screwdriver, drill, ladder, and wire strippers can install a smart doorbell, but you also need critical safety gear like insulated gloves and a non-contact voltage tester. Hiring an electrician means you don’t have to buy any special tools or put yourself at risk.
Where should I mount my smart doorbell for the best WiFi signal?
Your electrician will evaluate WiFi signal strength around your door and determine the optimal height and location to mount your smart doorbell while still keeping it easily accessible. This ensures you get the clearest video and most reliable connectivity.