Before calling Bell for a trouble on your telephone
line, consider the following:
Bell Canada territory, a service charge of $ 95 will apply if Bell comes to your
home and finds the trouble to be within your home wiring or telephones.
So it would be wise to do the following before calling:
1- With the prevalence of a lot of cheap, imported telephones on the
market, many more problems are caused by these cheap instruments. An internal short
within the instrument itself can cause the telephone company computer to temporarily
shut the line down until the short disappears. One by one, disconnect your phones, and
check from one of the others to see if dial tone has returned. If so, the telephone you
last disconnected is at fault. Dont try to fix it, throw it out, and if it is a cheap
telephone, purchase a decent quality replacement.
2- If you have a professionally installed alarm system, disconnect the
plug from the special line seizure jack provided to you by the alarm installing company
(this is usually located adjacent to the alarm panel, and has a thick grey cord running
from the jack itself to the inside of your alarm panel). If this returns dial tone,
then the alarm panel is trying to call the station for some reason, and cannot, and is
incorrectly holding up the line. Call your alarm company for service.
3- If you are "handy", and own a voltmeter, set it to read DC
voltage, virtually any range from 15 to 200 Volts (this is low voltage with no real amount
of amperage so you can't get electrocuted by the telephone lines as you can from the
AC power lines in the home). Then disconnect the "Tip" and "Ring"
leads (green and red usually) to isolate the total telephone system within the house, from
the outside line. Put your voltmeter leads across the terminals of the telephone line
where the telephone network terminates in the basement of your home (called the
demarcation block) and where you have disconnected the house phones from the incoming
lines, and you should see voltage. If it shows reverse voltage, don't worry, you are
only looking for the presence of voltage. If the voltage is very low - in the order of 3
volts - there is probably water in the outside cabling leading back to the
telephone company - this requires telephone company attention. If the voltage is
"healthy" - 15 to 100 - the problem is somewhere within your home wiring
or telephones ! If there is no voltage across the telephone lines coming into the home,
the problem definately is the responsibility of the telephone company !
4- An even simply way than the above to isolate the
problem, is to plug an existing, working telephone into the line seizure
jack just above the alarm panel. If there is no dial tone on that phone,
the problem is definately within the home telephone network (more likely),
or within the alarm system (far less likely). If there is dial tone, you can
be reasonably sure that the Bell line coming into the house is working
properly (however, do make an outgoing call from this phone to ensure the
line is truly working....). By plugging in at this point in the phone
network, you are
accessing the dial tone from Bell in front of both the alarm system and the
home telephone wiring.
Remember, the telephone line trouble indicated by your
alarm system is normal when there is no dial tone present. In most cases,
the alarm is not the cause of the trouble, but is simply responding to the
trouble as it is designed to do.
Once you have isolated the problem to be within the telephone company's
wiring outside the home, you may safely call Bell with no worry of being assessed a bill
for their services !!
NOTE: On occasion, you can have problems
with the alarm panel trying to answer the line when it receives a certain
type of double ring from Bell. This will usually be indicated by the
calling party hearing what sounds like a fax trying to answer the phone
when they are dialing in, and complaining to you about this. This problem
can be alleviated by having your alarm dealer dial in to your panel and
turning off the "answering machine override" feature (this is a
feature that allows your dealer to access your panel when it has to fight
with an answering machine trying to answer the incoming call at the same
time). In rare cases, the dealer may be required to set the panel not to
answer an incoming call at all, in which case, he will require your future
help at the keypad to force the panel to answer his call when needed.
If you are currently one of my alarm system
customers, PLEASE call me before you call the telephone company. I will at no charge to
you, come out and check your telephone system to ensure that Bell's visit will not cost
There is never a charge for my service to do this