Can I Use A 24V Transformer On A 16V Doorbell?

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

It can be tricky to pair a transformer with a doorbell if you struggle to get enough power or volume. Doorbells come with specifications about their power requirements, but some homeowners want to use an overpowered transformer. So, can you use a 24V transformer on a 16V doorbell?

You can use a 24V transformer on a 16V doorbell, but it might not work or the doorbell will be too loud. A 24V transformer can overpower a 16V doorbell and it will likely buzz if it does work. The excessive power can eventually wear out your doorbell, especially if you don’t install a resistor.

Always test the circuit with a multimeter so that you don’t cause expensive electrical damage. It is not recommended that you use a 24V transformer for a 16V doorbell, but it is possible under the right circumstances. Follow along as we explore the factors that determine whether or not you can use a 24V transformer on a 16V doorbell.

Do You Need to Hire an Electrician?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Can I Use a 24V Transformer on a 16V Doorbell?

It is possible to use a 24V transformer on a 16V doorbell, but it depends on your home and electrical setup. A doorbell rated at 16V will experience a 50% overvoltage if you use a 24V transformer. This will cause your doorbell to ring loudly and you may hear it buzz when you use it.

The overvoltage from a 24V transformer may cause your doorbell to wear out quickly or even immediately. It can make the piston within your doorbell hit the soundbar faster and harder than usual if you use a 24V transformer. This won’t necessarily damage the doorbell and it can work, but it is not recommended.

Test the circuit with a multimeter to make sure that a 24V transformer won’t be too much. You can reduce the risk that you will damage your doorbell or circuit if you install a resistor.

Wirewound Resistor

A wirewound resistor is an electrical device that can restrict the current within a circuit. Install a wirewound resistor if you plan to use a 24V transformer on a 16V doorbell. This will help to limit the current so that you don’t push the doorbell too far.

You can use a 24V transformer on a 16V doorbell without a wirewound resistor, but it will likely wear out quickly. A wirewound resistor can help assure that your doorbell won’t run at a high overvoltage. Resistors are useful anytime that you run an electrical device with a transformer that is rated at a higher voltage than the device.

How Do Doorbell Transformers Work?

Doorbell transformers convert line voltage into low voltage to operate a doorbell. A transformer can help retain the correct voltage at all times so that your doorbell works consistently. The average doorbell has a low voltage requirement that is either 8, 16, or 24 volts.

Household circuits are generally rated for 120-240 volts, and a doorbell transformer can convert the voltage to a lower voltage. This is important because a doorbell will be overpowered if you don’t have the proper transformer.

A doorbell system includes the transformer that converts the voltages and a switch for completing the circuit. This process occurs every time that you ring a modern doorbell, and it is responsible for the chime sound.

Electrical Safety

Thankfully since doorbells work on such a low voltage, if you need to test, install, or maintain one, you can do so with a low risk of injury. However, when you’re working with electricity, you should always verify the voltage and turn off the electricity to the circuit before proceeding with any work.

Use a voltage meter or other type of electrical testing device to check the voltage that you will be working with. For example, if you’re dealing with a failed transformer, it won’t be reducing or converting the voltage. It is very probable that the output is the same as the 120 volts that pass through the transformer.

When in doubt or if you ever feel uncomfortable handling electrical devices, seek help from a professional, licensed electrician. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Or, you can always reach out to a friend or family member who has more experience working with electrical projects if you don’t have the funds to hire an electrician. Check this out so you can easily find your doorbell transformer.

How To Find And Test A Doorbell Transformer

If your doorbell is not working for whatever reason, you may want to begin by checking if the issue is a faulty transformer. The first step in this process is finding the transformer, as they can often be challenging to locate.

The doorbell transformer will almost always be tucked out of view. It could be housed in the bell enclosure and the doorbell’s chimes but is most often found elsewhere. If you have visibility to where the doorbells’ wires run, you can try tracing them back to where the transformer will be connected. If this doesn’t work, try checking one of the following places to locate your transformer:

  • High up on a garage wall, in plain sight
  • A floor joist in your basement
  • In your entryway closet or another nearby closet
  • Beneath the doorbell chimes or bell
  • In your attic (perhaps buried underneath insulation)
  • In a crawlspace
  • Near the electrical panel or doorbell inside of its own electrical box

Once you’ve located the transformer, make a note of the voltage rating listed on the device, you’ll need this for testing.

How To Test Your Doorbell Transformer

Follow the below steps to test a possible faulty transformer.

  • Adjust your voltage meter. Take your voltage meter and adjust it to 25 VAC.
  • Connect the meter to the transformer. Using the probes on the meter, touch them to the two flat screws on the transformer. These screws connect the small-gauge doorbell wires to the transformer.
  • Compare the reading. Using the reader on the voltage meter, compare it to the transformer’s voltage requirements.
  • Turn off the power. If it’s too low or exceeds the voltage requirement, turn off the power to the transformer before doing any more work on the system.
  • Get a new transformer. Replace your transformer with a brand new one.

Related Questions

Do I need a doorbell transformer?

Yes, you will need a transformer if you have a wired doorbell. Since doorbells work on a low voltage, they will not work without something to convert the high voltage into a lower, more usable voltage. However, some battery-powered doorbells bypass the need for a transformer but can have many limitations.

What is the color coding on the transformer’s small-gauge wires?

The three small-gauge wires connect the transformer to the rest of the electrical system in your home. In general, green will be the ground wire, white is your neutral wire, and black is the hot, live wire.

Wrapping It Up

If you are installing a new doorbell that is rated for 16 volts but want to recycle your 24-volt transformer, although not recommended, it may work. It is likely that by doing this, you will experience a louder, buzzier chime. However, this can be avoided by installing a wire-wound resistor to reduce the amount of voltage that goes to the doorbell.

For more great doorbell-related reads check out, “ What’s The Best Ring Doorbell Angle Mount?” and “ The 26 Best Video Doorbells Without A Subscription.”

Related Articles

Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

More by Jessica Stone