My current house was built in 1959 and doesn’t have a doorbell. There are many people who have forgotten that doorbells did not always come with every home and that door knockers were common. Although the doorbell was invented in the 1800s, they did not become the norm until much later. I remember my grandparent’s home having a twist-style ringer rather than an electric bell, much like a bicycle bell. In fact, I’ve even lived in older houses with similar doorbells. Many apartments still do not have individual doorbells other than perhaps for the street entry. Given all this, isn’t it funny how strange we find it when we can’t find a doorbell to ring near the door.
Since my house didn’t have any electricity running toward the front door, I was left with four choices. Well, there is a fifth choice but I don’t have time to keep looking out the window all day just in case someone comes to my house. That left me to:
- install a wireless doorbell,
- have electrical wires run to that wall so I could use a normal electrical doorbell,
- install a door knocker, or
- have people bang on the door with their hands.
The wireless doorbell is quite simple and a good solution for people that don’t own the house or apartment. The button can either be screwed to the outside wall or stuck to the wall with double-sided foam tape. Inside the house you place the chime part of the set. I actually tried this.
It worked well for a while but eventually the doorbell would ring on its own … day and night … and was driving me crazy. I finally figured out that the four heavy batteries operating the chime section were not staying upright in the battery holder and this would set off the chime. Unfortunately, no matter what I tried to keep the batteries in place they would eventually loosen just enough to set the chimes off. You can picture me dealing with this much like that smoke detector that goes off unexpectedly. After removing the batteries in frustration several times , I finally gave up. Not to completely turn you off if this is your best choice, I didn’t bother trying another make or model so I may have just owned a lemon and that can happen with nearly anything.
The next option, and usually the most popular, is to run electrical wiring that will allow you to install a doorbell. One reason this is so popular is because there are many decorative electrical doorbells available that are fabulous and would add to your outdoor decor. Depending upon your outdoor decor theme, you can use a birdhouse, grapevine, sailboat, gecko, or any other design. Button doorbells are more common in decorative designs. Wiring a house for a doorbell is fairly simple as a rule. The electrician merely runs a wire between the studs and make a hole in the outer wall where you want the doorbell. Personally, I prefer this method over the non-electrical choice.
A door knocker was the best choice for my house. Although this usually creates images of big mansions for me, there are a variety of styles to fit any size house or outdoor decor. Whether you prefer the more traditional lion’s head version or the decorative grapevine, bird, or sailboat, there are designs available. One of the advantages of a door knocker, of course, is the fact that you have no need for electrical wiring if you don’t already have it. Another is just the image a door knocker invokes (at least for me), plus visitors can knock as loudly or softly as they wish. If your house has a security door that prevents people from reaching the front door, I would recommend that you install the knocker on the outside wall just to the side of the door. You will still be able to hear it and it will still look nice. You could even create or buy a wooden plaque that you install it on before installing it beside your door.
Whatever your preference, don’t let the lack of electricity or access to your front door prevent you from making a stylish choice that adds to your curb appeal. Your visitors will appreciate the decorator look, your efforts, and the fact that they no longer need to try to get your attention with their knuckles or fists.