Can’t Touch This (Oh Yes You Can!)

Friends, I bear good news.


It is indeed a Glorious Triumph!  Oh the sweet sound of victory (and Jehovah’s witnesses) shall now ring forth throughout the homestead!

(FYI, victory sounds alot like a doorbell.)

Sure, I could have just bought the wireless doorbell, but that doesn’t teach us anything now does it?  Well maybe it teaches you just how stubborn I am.  But that’s not the point.

The point is that I WON!  THE DOORBELL LOST!


Ahem.  Let’s review what had happened, shall we?

First, we installed new doorbell.

It no work.

Next, we installed a new doorbell push button.

It no work.

Then we called Handy Manny over with his ooh la la volt reader (very cool toy) and determined that in fact the transformer had departed this good Earth for electronics heaven and no longer pumped out the measly 16 volts needed to make my doorbell sing its siren of imminent guests.

After searching high and low on the inside of the house, Handy Manny and I concluded that the transformer lay either behind drywall (ruh oh) or underneath the house in the crawl space.

And that Dear Reader is exactly where you would have found me Sunday afternoon.  All up in that crawl space.

Ok, so I exaggerate a tish.  The transformer was really just past the crawlspace door.  But still, I had to crawl inside the crawl space and crouch uncomfortably in semi-sketchy darkness.

Hanging out the crawl space, while a wee bit dirty, brought back fond memories of summer camp.  Yes, summer camp.  I participated for several adolescent years in a camp modeled after Habitat For Humanity, where church youth groups helped repair and renovate homes for those in need.

One summer, our house belonged to an elderly couple living outside of Andrews, NC (aka the middle of nowhere).  We built this sweet couple a wheelchair ramp for easy access in and out of their home, painted the exterior of their house, did some landscaping and installed insulation underneath their home to help with tough mountain winters.  I volunteered to help with the insulation since the other girls were too prissy to get their hair dirty.  It was hot, dirty, itchy and incredibly fun work.

Until I rolled over in one corner underneath the house and screamed at the sight of a hissing cat skeleton (or three) staring me in the face. Then it became a little creepy and slightly reminiscent of Pet Cemetery. True story.

Luckily, our crawlspace contained no cat skeletons, so I set about changing out the transformer courtesy of my favorite internet instruction video, which you can watch here.

Here are some terrible photos to document the process.  Before you judge, I suggest you try taking a photo with one hand while holding the flashlight in your mouth and attempting to unscrew a transformer with the other hand, mmkay?

Also, please read the captions in a Steve Irwin voice.  Trust me, it adds that certain something.

See that metal box attached to the light bulb mate? This here is the RARE and elusive transformer in her native habitat!

These two wires connected at the top of the metal box send the diffused voltage back out to your doorbell chime where she gives a high pitched alert that DAN-GER, DAN-GER (or cough, UPS) is near!

Meanwhile, inside the wiring box, these bigger wires pump this bloke full of high powered juice.   Blimey, that’s alot of POW-ER!

In the WILD, it’s best to have your wits about ya and be prepared with a flashlight.  Transformers freeze when you shine the light in their eyes.  That’s when you jump in and GRAB ‘ER!  You’ve got to work quick mate!

Here, we’re installing the new trans-form-er! I’ve covered her eyes with my hand to calm her down.  Ain’t she a beaut!

See, wasn’t that a fun little excercise? I for one, enjoyed myself thoroughly. Thanks for playing along.

I won’t bore you with a how to guide of swapping out a transformer.  Mostly because I don’t feel like it and also, because it’s not terribly complicated.  I will caution you though to please make sure you turn off the power before beginning any work with, you know, ELECTRICAL WIRES.   Just a good rule of thumb.

Also, if you’re getting all up in your house’s crawl space, consider a shower cap to keep the cobwebs out of your hair. Apparently, I’ve become prissy in my old age. But it does get a little dirty down there.


After womanhandling (it’ll catch on…) the transformer, I went back to my fuse box and flipped on all of the power.  I didn’t know which circuit attached to the transformer and rather than risk ending up a human skeleton for my cats to find, I just opted to switch everything off.

So like I said, I flipped on the power on and yall, Miracle of Miracles, IT WORKED! THE DOORBELL RANG!

Commence happy dance!!

(Which oddly resembles these famous moves.)

WHEW! I’m so glad we finally got that checked off our list.  It only took us 2.5 yrs (or 32 months to be exact, Stellar.)

So yall stop on by now!  And ring the hell out of that doorbell.

I’ll be sure to answer the door doing my best Hammer moves singing:

Break it down now, Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh

Can’t Touch This.



Filed under DIY or Bust!, Mi Casa

7 responses to “Can’t Touch This (Oh Yes You Can!)

  1. Mom

    Oh, my gosh lady! You are amazing! I would never have crawled under the house. I guess I am prissy, but all I can think of are snakes, snakes, and more snakes! Ugh! Congratulations on fixing the problem!

  2. You did it!!! I’m SO glad you were able to locate that pesky transformer. Major props for descending into the depths of your dark & dirty crawlspace to wrangle it!

  3. Wow. I am in awe. You are a handy dandy rock star!

  4. Ahhh I love the home improvement posts. So inspiring! Good job. Altho, I was a *tish* disappointed bc when you started talking about summer camp I was thinking you were going to tell the “Ain’t no aloe in hell” story, which I just shared last Thursday with some friends.

  5. Which summer camp did y’all go to? It sounds very similar to one I did for a while called Carolina Cross Connection.

  6. Thank you, Thank you ( as she bows dramatically).

    Actually it really is very easy. And the lightbulb the transformer was attached to is just past the door opening, very easy to find. Since Sunday was such a pretty day, I propped the door open and then the crawl space wasn’t nearly so scary. I actually had a fair amount of natural light.

    @Brittany – the aloe story is a post unto itself. Classic.

    @Erin – the camp was World Changers. Carolina Cross Connections sounds awfully familiar though. I did World Changers for three years and have some really fantastic memories. Great experiences overall. I would love to do something like that again! Not to mention, you gain some really useful skills. Like roofing…good times!

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