A Phantom Crackhead Keeps Ringing My Doorbell

Lately it seems like our doorbell has taken to ringing on its own. It usually happens at least once every evening, anytime between 7pm and 11pm. Sometimes it just rings once, and sometimes it does a funky Big Ben remix where it half-chimes in a syncopated rhythm for a bar or two before completing the melody. The one consistent thing, though, is that there’s never anyone there.

Personally, I like to imagine that it’s the ghost of one of the house’s former residents, doomed to wander the earth for eternity, jonesing for that one last fix (we live in a rehabbed crackhouse… or as we like to call it, our crack home).

But seriously… any idea what the heck could be causing this? We’ve eliminated the possibility that it might be a neighbour’s doorbell as we’ve asked around and no one else is using the same type of wireless doorbell. Could be kids playing nicky-nicky-nine-doors, but you’d think they’d be bored by now (plus there aren’t a heck of a lot of kids in our neighbourhood old enough to be out after dark).

I wouldn’t mind, except that it really creeps me out when the doorbell starts ringing at 11pm when I’m home alone.

Mice?

I’m not sure how wireless doorbells work, but that sounds like the time of the evening when uninvited little furry guests might be scurrying around in the walls or something.

Meh.

EM from a passing vehicle?

You near the airport?

I’m doubtful on mice, mostly because Ariel the Wonder Cat is a very skilled mouser. I’d have found some gifts of the rodent kind by now if they were the culprits.

Passing vehicle might be it - our street is pretty busy during commuting hours. The one reason I’m hesitant to blame the cars is that traffic is usually pretty light after 7pm, so I would think that the phantom ringing would be more common during the busier times of day.

We’re nowhere near the airport, so that’s definitely not it.

Get new batteries and leave the batteries out so the circuits are fully discharged. Often this will reset electronics and the device then works. The door button may have a corroded switch. All electronics die, so if it isn’t one of the two I listed you probably need a new one.

All sorts of weird things can happen with wireless devices. The doorbell is probably getting a strong outside signal on a frequency it’s listening on. Maybe it’s from a CB radio, we used to hear truckers talking on the CB over our television when we lived near an intersection. Maybe a particular truck goes by at that time of day. Some CBers literally have competitions to see who can transmit the most watts.

Hmmm. It’s been a very rainy summer, so corrosion could be the culprit. I guess we’ll try replacing the batteries to see if that deals with it.

Trucks might be a possibility as well - we’re about 2km away from a major parkway, though it runs along the bottom of a deep ravine, which should reduce the distance the signals can travel. I guess we’ll see if we can change the frequency on the unit to fix that.

I might just get rid of the doorbell altogether… it’s not like we get too many visitors, and most of them have cell phones to call us when they arrive. If it really is a phantom crackhead, though, that would mean I’d start getting creepy silent phone calls at 11pm. gulp