Saturday, January 23, 2016

Home Disimprovement: Downgrade and Save Money

For Cheapskates Only...

Home Disimprovement Can Save Money

When I bought my house a couple years ago, it had two doorbell buttons near the front door.  The funny thing was that neither one worked.  Pushing the buttons did not make the doorbell ring.

Here's what I think happened: the original doorbell button installed when the house was new in 1981 stopped working at some point, so someone installed a second doorbell button.  The replacement was a wireless doorbell button, and was installed right next to the first one.

I didn't pay much attention to the doorbell button situation until Halloween.  Trick-or-Treaters were pushing the doorbell buttons, but nothing was happening and we didn't know anyone was there waiting outside.  Visitors did not know to knock since there were two doorbell buttons.  It was rather confusing.

So what to do?  I thought about putting up a sign that says "Please knock, doorbells don't work".  I decided against this because it would look sort of tacky to post a sign explaining that something doesn't work.  Plus, I thought the sign would get wet and fade over time and would require periodic replacement.  So I needed to figure out another solution to the doorbell situation.

Maybe I should fix the doorbell button?  Perhaps add a third doorbell button next to the existing two broken ones?  But then I would probably need to add a sign to indicate which button works.  Plus I would need to find and buy a doorbell button, install it and get it working.  This sounded like a lot of trouble.  I needed an easier solution, and I found it.

I decided to do a downgrade and save some money.  My dogs usually bark like maniacs whenever someone even thinks of approaching the house.  It would be hard to hear a doorbell ring over the barking of my dogs anyway.  Why not just remove the broken doorbell buttons?  This wouldn't cost anything, and then it would be obvious to visitors that they should knock without the need for signage to explain which doorbell button to press.

I disconnected the doorbell ringer from the transformer and removed both broken doorbell buttons next to the front door.  I used some caulk that matches the siding to fill in the hole.  Problem solved.  Cost: $0.  Time: about 10 minutes.

After "downgrade" I no longer have a doorbell...

In this case, I am better off with zero doorbell buttons than with three doorbell buttons.  Sometimes a downgrade is better than an upgrade, and you can save some money as well.

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  1. So my question is, will you be able to hear the door knocks over your barking dogs?

    1. I have learned to recognize a pattern of barking: crazy barking when someone is nearby that escalates to off-the-charts insane barking if someone actually knocks...


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