How to Troubleshoot Your Own Inside Wiring

Here are some simple steps that you can use to determine if the phone wiring inside your house, or possibly a malfunctioning phone or device such as an alarm system or answering machine is causing your phone problems.

  1. Unplug all phones and devices from the phone jacks in the house including alarm systems and answering machines.
  2. Using a regular corded phone, check for clear dial-tone at the demarc to make sure the line is good and that this one phone is functional.
  3. Once good dial-tone has been checked at the demarc, plug the wiring for the house back into the module at the demarc.
  4. Take that same known good corded phone around to every jack in the house to check for dial-tone, one jack at a time (do not plug anything back in to any of the phone jacks inside the house yet).
  5. If you do not have clear dial-tone at any jack in the house with all the phones and devices unplugged, then there is most likely a short in the wiring somewhere inside the house (in the attic or crawl space under the house, a phone cable running along the outside of the house, or maybe an actual phone jack is shorted out), and you will need to contact a qualified wiring technician to repair the problem.
  6. If all the jacks in the house have good dial-tone, then plug each extra phone/device back in to their phone jack, one at a time, and check for dial-tone each time a new phone/device is plugged back in.
  7. If the dial-tone becomes unclear or is gone after plugging in one phone or device, then most likely that phone or device is the cause of the problem.
  8. Unplug the last phone/device that was plugged in, and check for dial-tone again to verify that the phone/device that was just unplugged is the problem.