Natural Handyman's Links Library section header
Brick navigational bar for the Natural Handyman website Natural Handyman's Home Page Home repair articles and do it yourself tips Home repair contests at Sweepstakes Central Do it yourself books on a variety of home repair topics The Handyman Letter newsletter Natural Handyman's Question and Answer archives Search our home repair and do it yourself library Select links to home repair and do it yourself products and services Advertising options on the Natural Handyman website Tools Find a handyman or contractor for those small home repair jobs

Telephone Trouble and Troubleshooting

Click on any question below and let the Natural Handyman get you connected!

Of all the home projects, installing and maintaining your  telephone system is one of the most satisfying. But it can also be frustrating, because of all the hidden wiring and all the seemingly crazy colors!  But if you follow basic safety rules and pay attention to your work, you should be able to really improve your communication skills!!

Tools you need...

There is really only two special tools that you need to maintain your phones... a telephone line tester and a multimeter.  Also a few basic tools such as a wire cutter, stripper, screwdrivers, flashlight, bible, etc.

Telephone 2-line tester

A telephone line tester (left) allows you to test any modular telephone jack in your home for proper wiring and function.  Even though you may not have two phone lines now chances are you will sometime in the future, so I suggest getting a two-line tester (shown) instead of a one-line tester.

A multimeter may also be useful in testing whether or not you have electrical power at the different wire connections where there are no telephone jacks.


My phones are not working. The telephone company said the problem is inside my house. How can I find out what the problem is?  (NOTE: This article covers many of the basics of how your telephones are wired for a better understanding of all other questions)

Is there a limit to the number of phones I can have hooked up to the same line?

Are there any safety concerns when working on telephones or wiring?

What is the basic telephone wiring setup in the home? There seem to be all these colors and it's really confusing!

I have a single line telephone in my home right now, and I have been using it for my business. I am getting a second telephone line for business only. Will I have to have the Natural Handyman come in and rewire my house? And do I have to buy a special two-line telephone and answering machine?

There is a two-line telephone in my office, and would like to have my business line, which the phone "sees" as LINE 2, to be changed to LINE 1. Is there an easy way to do this?

I have a one-line phone I want to use in my office, but when I plug the phone in, it only works on my home line (1).  Is there something I can do to make this phone work on my business line (2)?

Jerry Alonzy, the founder of Naturalhandyman.com

Written by Jerry Alonzy

Jerry Alonzy, a.k.a. the Natural Handyman, has been an active handyman for over 30 years with experience in most areas of home repair and renovation.

As a do-it-yourself author and web developer since 1995, he has been featured in USA Today, the Today Show and on radio shows, magazines, newspapers and websites. His material appears widely on the web, but primarily on his website... The Natural Handyman. You can also find him on Google+.