What Can You Do With an Old Intercom System?

You should pat yourself on your back. The DIY projects in your home are coming along quite well. Now, you are moving on to doing something about those walls that don’t seem to be in good condition. There are a few cracks here and there, and the walls feel like they are uneven. And most importantly, there is an old intercom near the part of the wall by the door. It’s a model from the ’70s or ’80s, so it’s certainly not functional anymore. What should you do with it?

What can you do with an old intercom system?

Three things you can do with your outdated intercom are as follows: 1) Remove it and scrap it, 2) Cover it up, or 3) Replace it with a new one.

All these choices are excellent options, and each will transform the space in a variety of ways. So, continue reading, and you will discover how to change that eyesore on your wall into something that will fit perfectly into your DIY plans.


A Brief History of Home Intercoms

From the 1960s through the 1980s, home intercoms were all the rage. Of course, they were simpler then, usually showing a mediocre video image or allowing you to speak to your guests or other family members through a speaker. Although the intercom currently hanging on your wall looks like an old dinosaur, this technology was once unbeatable.

If your home had one of these systems, it most likely was made by NuTone. They became popular for creating and distributing helpful home products, including doorbells, ventilation systems, range hoods, and home intercoms. Although intercoms are no longer a part of their current product lineup, they still provide many other home products.

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The NuTone home intercoms were essentially walkie-talkies for the house. They were used mainly in homes where people were considered wealthy. While pressing a button on the intercom in one room, someone could speak to another person in another room. Today, if you have multiple Amazon Echo Dots, you can set up a wireless intercom system that works in the same way that NuTone intercoms worked. Or you can get a newer model intercom that has much more advanced features.

Removing and Scrapping Your Old Intercom

Of course, one of the best things you can do to the old Intercom is to get rid of it. This is especially true if you have no use for it anymore and don’t plan to refurbish it with a new model. If you have a battery-operated intercom, you don’t have to worry about shutting off power.

If your intercom is hardwired, it still may have power surging through it even though it’s old. Therefore, the first thing you should do before removing it is to shut off power to the intercom. As a DIYer, you may be tempted to remove the intercom yourself. However, if removing electrical components isn’t your specialty, it may be best to let an expert remove your old intercom. If you are comfortable with working with electrical wiring, once you have shut off the power to the intercom, you can proceed with removing it.

You can shut the power off by locating it on the breaker box and turning it off. However, to be doubly safe, it may be a good idea to shut the entire breaker box off and work via flashlight. Or, if you don’t want to shut the power off in the whole house, you can check to ensure that there is no electricity flowing to the intercom using a voltage meter.

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A voltmeter typically has a red wand and a black wand. The unit should also have a red and a black wire within it. To check the power, align the red rod of the meter with the red wire and the black rod with the black wire. If the voltage meter does not move, the power is turned off.

After ensuring that there is no electricity running through the wires, you can unmount the unit and cut the wires with a set of electrical pliers. After cutting the wires, cap them with wire caps and tuck them into the hole in the wall. Upon removing the unit and cutting the wires, you can proceed with patching the wall up with drywall and spackle it to smooth it.

Covering Up Your Intercom to Make It Blend In With Your Home Décor

If removing the intercom will take too much money or too much of your time, then another easier alternative is to disguise it. The simplest way to cover up your intercom is to block it with a piece of furniture such as a bookshelf. It makes sense to do this if the bookshelf flows with the rest of the room’s décor in which the intercom is located. There is nothing more ridiculous than putting a bookshelf in a place that makes no sense, such as behind the front door. Imagine trying to explain to guests every time they come over that you are hiding an old intercom as they squeeze through your front door.

If a big piece of furniture isn’t a feasible option, then you can get creative and try to embellish the area where the intercom is located. For example, perhaps you can hang a painting over it or try to put something else small in front of it to obstruct it from view without creating clutter.

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Modernize Your Intercom

One of the last things you can do instead of getting rid of or concealing the eyesore is to replace it with a modern version. If you are replacing a battery-operated one, you can find replacements online or in big box stores. If you need a wired replacement, then you can hire a professional that installs wired intercoms and have them install it. A locksmith can help you install security intercoms, particularly those that allow you to speak to guests outside your home who are seeking entry. Electricians or a handyperson can also install an intercom for you.

Finally, you can also opt to install your own wired home intercom system. Some of these intercoms may operate using the wiring of the old system. However, if the old wiring is not compatible with the new intercom, you may want to seek the help of a professional who may have to run new wiring to make your system work properly.