I wish there was an option when you order pizza to have the deliver guy go straight to the basement door. This way I would never have to leave the basement during my poker night.
But, they insist that creeping around the darkened backside of houses is a safety concern for their drivers. So you have to rely on the next best thing… the doorbell.
Adding a doorbell extension to my basement finishing project list didn’t even occur to me at first. Then one Friday night, I was watching the NCAA basketball tournament and playing darts in the basement with some friends. We had ordered pizza. I had to hang out upstairs because you couldn't hear the doorbell over all the noise.
Thus a project was born. Add a second doorbell in the basement. Best basement idea ever.
Installing a doorbell in your basement is not hard at all once you do these three things.
- Find your doorbell transformer
- Buy a new doorbell.
- Buy some doorbell wire.
Your Doorbell Transformer
This is a small little metal box "thingy" where the doorbell wire from your front door terminates. Power is wired into this bad boy and it "transforms" it into a much lower voltage that doorbell chimes can use.
All you have to do is splice in a new wire to that transformer. When someone rings your bell it will trigger the chime for your existing doorbell, plus your newly finished basement doorbell. (switch off the power to the transformer (at your electrical panel) before you start working with it!)
TIP: Be sure to get a 16 volt doorbell transformer like this, so you can power two bells. A 10 volt or lower transformer will likely be too weak. This one is only $12.
Buying a New Doorbell for your Finished Basement
Guys and girls, I implore you. Get crazy with your basement doorbell. Pick something cool. Pick something wild. Pick something like a mooing cow or a crowing rooster. Or buy a doorbell that let's you record any sound you want.
Doorbells are low voltage. They need an electrical signal but they typically don't have to be plugged in or have a dedicated power source. It's similar, although I'm not sure if it's exactly the same, as garage door opener wire. I found some on Amazon with free shipping for $8.
Wireless Door Bells
Well, I feel sad for you.
Everyone deserves a doorbell, it's just way more fun that ye' old knocking at the door.
Now that I think of it, knocking on the door sounds really aggressive. Like the big bad wolf or something about bust into your house and eat you alive. Like the cops coming to take you down for throwing that banana peal out your car window (it's organic, how can that be littering!!!) KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK!!
You're in luck. Thanks to wireless technology you can now install a brand new "wireless" doorbell in under 15 minutes. There's a ton to choose from but this wireless doorbell seemed to be the best combination of value and quality. (I haven't try this one out personally, just researched it when I was buying a new transformer).
Do you have a cool doorbell? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Cheers - Jason
More Doorbell and Basement Excitement!:
- Ready for some more basement ideas? Start here -->
- Here's a decent scientific explanation of how doorbells work.
- Good books on electricity, how to wire your basement.