Installing a smart doorbell such as the Ring Doorbell can take an hour or so depending on how well-versed you are in DIY home tasks. One thing you should note though is that it’s not like a smart bulb where you just screw it into an existing socket.
With a Ring Doorbell, you’ll also have to deal with electrical wiring to power up the device. On the off chance that you don’t know which circuit breaker lever to shut down, you may be wondering whether or not you can install a Ring Doorbell without turning off the power.
Do I Have to Turn Off Power When Installing Ring Doorbell?
To prevent unwanted accidents and even electrocution, we wholly recommend you turn off the power to the doorbell before installing your Ring Doorbell. Shut down the circuit breaker, then test the existing doorbell by pressing the button a few times before you remove it or touch any electrical wire.
Aside from personal safety reasons, shutting down power prevents the sudden jolt of current from running through your smart doorbell and possibly damaging the internal circuitry. Only when the Ring Doorbell is fully installed should you switch the circuit breaker on and set it up using the Ring app.
Turning off the power leading to the doorbell can be a hassle, especially if you don’t know which circuit breaker or source to pull. To this end, we’ll recommend a few helpful tips so you can complete the task (and know which breaker to pull in the future).
*Please note that this information applies to wired Ring doorbells. It is possible to install a wireless (battery-powered) doorbell without turning off the power at the breaker.
**More importantly, please note that any electrical work (even simple electrical work) should be completed by a knowledgeable person and that a licensed electrician may be needed for legal and safety purposes.
Ring Doorbell Pre-Installation Details
Before we begin, you should know that the Ring Doorbell comes in a few different models, including the Ring Doorbell Pro and the Ring Doorbell.
The Ring Doorbell is the standard model, and it comes with a built-in battery that can be charged via a power bank. The same goes for the Ring Video Doorbell 3 and the Ring Video Doorbell 4.
The Ring Doorbell Pro does not have a built-in power source included, which means you will need to connect the wires to your existing power for the device to work. The only downside to this is that your Ring Doorbell Pro will be out of action if there’s a power interruption.
Read the manual that came with your Ring device package, or view it on a browser window (ring.com/hardwired). It’s an interactive manual that’s more interesting and easier to follow than the book that came in the box.
Also, the smart doorbell will come with small parts that can be a choking hazard to pets and small children. We recommend dumping the contents onto a tray or a table and keeping them off the ground while you install the device.
How to Disable a Doorbell for Installation
Unless powered by a standalone battery, most traditional doorbells will have electrical components that are connected to a nearby breaker. Disconnecting the component or shutting off the power source will effectively disable the doorbell.
As a first step to install your Ring Doorbell, you should disable your current or existing doorbell before anything else. Here’s a quick step-by-step procedure on how you can do it. As for the tools, all you’ll need is a screwdriver and the ones required in the Ring Doorbell manual.
Step 1. Find and Shut Off the Doorbell’s Breaker
The first order of business is to find the breaker that supplies electricity to the doorbell. It’s usually grouped together with your other lights, receptacles, or appliances- look for a rectangular or square metal box on the walls and open the cover. You’ll likely see a lot of mini-switches inside. On the other hand, if you have a dedicated breaker for your doorbell, it should be nearby.
Tip- if you’re not sure what mini-switch to flip, try disabling each one and see which lights or appliances go out. Then, label each with a marker or take a picture using your smartphone and edit the photo with indicators, e.g., the top left switch is for the front door lights, for example.
Step 2. Remove the Current Doorbell
Depending on the doorbell, you may need to unfasten the mounting screw on the plate before you can completely remove the device. Test the flow of electricity with a non-contact circuit tester just to be sure.
By now you should be looking at the contact wires that will provide electricity to your Ring Doorbell. At this point you can either untangle them from the contact point via a screwdriver, or cut them using a wire cutter. If the wires aren’t overly frayed then you should just leave them as is.
Tip: for holes you won’t use and for aesthetic purposes you can fill them in using wood filler or anything similar, then paint over them. If you’re planning on positioning your Ring doorbell somewhere else, you should wrap the wires with electrical tape or wire nuts before pushing them back into the hole.
Quick Guide to Installing Your Ring Doorbell
The setup is slightly different if you’re installing a Ring Doorbell that has a built-in battery.
We recommend that you first charge up the battery to full using the provided cable and a wall plug. Wait until the status LED glows green before removing it from the charger. Then, attach the battery to the Ring device at the bottom part. Wait for a click that says it’s in place.
After this, download the Ring app on your smartphone and configure the device to your liking. You’ll be able to get the app for free from the App Store (on an iPhone or iPad), or the Play Store (on an Android device).
Align the Ring Doorbell to the wall where you’d like to install it, then check and see if the existing screws fit. If not, then you may need to drill holes so the doorbell won’t fall off.
Use a leveling tool to ensure the Ring Doorbell is perfectly positioned, then mark the drill holes on the four corners. It’s worth noting that you should use the included plastic anchors if you’re mounting onto stucco, concrete, or brick. Once the holes are drilled, you can use a hammer to put the anchors in. For vinyl or wood surfaces you can just use the screws.
Connect the electrical wires to their proper place; double check and see which end should go where. It would be best to test for live wire first so you won’t get shocked. If you were, go back and make sure the circuit breaker and transformer are powered off.
Remove the level tool and position the Ring Doorbell on the wall. Carefully put the screws in place, then install the faceplate by slotting it over. You’ll hear a click, which tells you that the faceplate is secure. Then, use the included security screw to fasten the faceplate and prevent other people from opening it.
Switch the transformer and circuit breaker back on and see if the Ring Doorbell starts up. The circle near the bottom should light up, and after a minute or so it should be blue.
You can now test the Ring Doorbell by pressing the button and waiting for the audible notification. For non-powering Ring devices, double-check the wiring and see if you have the circuit breaker and transformer switched to ‘on’. Set up the rest of the device’s features, including the camera and the kind of audible you want.
Reset Your Electrical Clocks
If your circuit breaker turned power off in other areas of your house, don’t forget to reset the clock on your appliances, such as the microwave, oven, and others once the power is back on.
Additionally, you may need to bring your other smart devices up to speed if you cut off the power source.
Can a Ring Doorbell Be Installed If There Is No Doorbell?
The short answer is yes, you can install a Ring Doorbell in a place that doesn’t have an existing doorbell.
The process is a bit more complicated than simply replacing your existing doorbell (dumb or otherwise). You will need a level tool, a drill, and electrical wiring to power the smart doorbell. If you plan on putting in a Ring Doorbell that’s powered by an internal battery, then you can skip the wiring part.
Ask the help of a professional electrician if you wish to add wiring into a part of your house. Opting for a DIY and not having any knowledge as to how it works can lead to injury or property damage. The risk is simply too great for a guess-it-as-you-go-along approach.
Here’s a step-by-step process on how you can install a Ring Doorbell without an existing doorbell.
Step 1. Open the box and dump the contents onto a level surface, like a table. Locate the battery and use the included cable to charge it.
Step 2. Once the LED indicator of the battery is green, slot it into the Ring Doorbell to power it up. Download the Ring app on your mobile device.
Step 3. Configure the Ring app to your preferences, then have a level tool ready. Place the smart doorbell to about a height of four feet, then make sure that it’s level before marking the positions using a pencil.
Step 4. Use a drill and put holes in the four corners where the screws will go in. Make it deep enough that the screws will fit inside without the heads poking out.
Step 5. Hammer in the anchors as needed, then position the Ring Doorbell over the marking. Use the included screws and a screwdriver to install the device.
Step 6. Attach the faceplate and secure it using a star-shaped screw and screwdriver. Test the doorbell by pressing the blue circular button near the bottom.
The Bottom Line – Power Off Your Circuit Breaker Before Installing Ring Doorbell
It’s generally a good idea to turn off the power leading to your existing doorbell before you attempt to install your Ring Doorbell. Even if the device is powered via built-in batteries, shutting down the breaker and transformer can prevent accidents such as electrical shocks and injuries. Also, take the time to read the manual before installing your Ring Doorbell.