Repairing or troubleshooting a landline phone can sound technical, but there are simple troubleshooting procedures that can be done to make sure the problem is not something you could have remedied yourself. Each part of the telephone system must be checked to eliminate the working parts and find the culprit. Knowing where to look and what to do can spell the difference between saving or surrendering your hard-earned cash.
Open the Network Interface Device outside your house, unplug the modular connector from its jack inside and plug a working phone into the jack. Check the plugged telephone for a dial tone; call your telephone service provider to report the problem if you do not hear one. No dial tone means the problem lies with the telephone company lines, and that there is likely nothing wrong with your system.
Video of the Day
Observe the wiring inside the NID to check for any sign of loose connections or burned wires. Call the telephone company in case you notice damage or anything suspicious inside the box. NIDs are the telephone company's responsibility.
Go inside your house, but keep the modular connector inside the NID unplugged to keep the telephone power disconnected. Unscrew each telephone jack faceplate and check all jack terminals for loose wires, or wires that may have come in contact with each other. Screw any loose terminals tightly with a screwdriver, and bend away from each other any wires that may have come in contact with each other using a pair of long-nose pliers. Plug the modular connector back into its jack at the NID and listen to each phone for a dial tone.
Go to each telephone and see if any were accidentally left off the hook. Any phone left unhooked for some time will cause the phone lines to go dead.
Look at each telephone, unplug, and then replug its telephone cord connector into its corresponding wall jack. Press the connector firmly to make sure that it is not loose. A connector can sometimes look like it is properly plugged into its telephone jack but may not be properly seated, causing a loose connection.
Lift the telephone handset and check if the ringer volume has been set to minimum level or if the phone is on "mute." Almost all phones have ringer volume settings, and some newer phones have "mute" features. There are times when a phone may not seem to ring at all because the ringer has been accidentally muted or set to minimum volume.
Disconnect other equipment connected to your telephone line such as an Internet router, security system equipment, fax machine, caller ID device, etc. If a defective peripheral has caused your line to go dead, performing this procedure eliminates the culprit and restores the dial tone. If the dial tone is restored, plug in each peripheral one by one and listen to the dial tone. If the line goes dead once a certain piece of equipment is plugged in, you know that the equipment has a problem.
Bring your telephone over to a neighbor or friend's house and plug it into their telephone jack to check if the phone is working. Get a new phone to replace any defective phone.