Amazon Echo’s are great little devices, right? They play our music, give us traffic updates, and even introduce us to new recipes. If you have video doorbells, they can even let you know when someone is at the door. Of course, this feature is only useful if you can actually hear the doorbell notification.
Sometimes people run into the issue where they can’t hear their doorbell chime through their Amazon Echo (especially if the volume on the Echo is turned down), and they end up missing important notices. So what do you do if this is an issue that you run into?
Let’s start by explaining what the Echo is, and why it’s useful to pair it with a smart doorbell.
What Is the Amazon Echo?
The Amazon Echo is Amazon’s own smart home hub. It uses Amazon’s AI digital assistant, Alexa to perform a variety of functions that help you in everyday life. These convenient devices can play music, track your Amazon packages, introduce you to new recipes, tell you the weather – and so much more!
The Amazon Echo comes in several different versions and generations, some having different abilities than others. There’s the Echo Dot, one of the most common versions people have.
There’s also the Echo Dot Kids, with kid-friendly content pre-loaded.
Then there’s also the Echo Show – another popular option.
The Echo Show is such a popular option because it has a touch screen where you can actually interact with it – or speak to someone who is at your door. The touch screen allows you to skip to the next music track, or select a particular function displayed on the screen.
Newer Amazon Echos such as the Echo Plus, 2020 Echo, and Echo Show 10, come equipped with Zigbee hubs. This means that for most Zigbee-enabled devices you’ll no longer need a separate hub to use them with the Alexa app. An included Zigbee hub means that smart home integration with various manufacturers is that much easier.
You have the option of ‘waking’ your Echo by saying “Alexa”. If you want to use another word, you can change it in the app to something like “Echo” or “Computer”.
Amazon Echos connect to the internet and the Alexa app via Wi-Fi. Most devices connect to the Echo using Wi-Fi, with the exception of Zigbee-enabled devices such as Philips Hue.
One very useful function of the Echo is being notified if someone is at the door. This, however, only works if you have a smart doorbell connected. But what exactly are smart doorbells and how do they work with your Amazon Echo?
What Are Smart Doorbells?
Smart doorbells are one of the most popular items in smart home security. They combine both a doorbell and a security camera in one. Many manufacturers produce them like Ring, Wyze, Arlo, and Google Nest – just to name a few.
Most smart doorbells connect to their respective apps and the Alexa app via Wi-Fi. One exception is Ring’s Elite Video Doorbell. It uses PoE, or Power over Ethernet to connect to the internet. This is done via an ethernet cable that connects the doorbell to both power and the internet. But for the most part, these video doorbells typically use Wi-Fi.
In addition, some video doorbells either come with, or their company sells an optional Chime. For example, the Chime is a separate device that you plug into the wall and enables you to hear when someone rings your doorbell in the house.
This way you can hear that someone is at the door, whether or not you’re near your smartphone or other mobile device, where the notification typically pops up.
For example, Ring video doorbells offer an optional Chime or Chime Pro, depending on which video doorbell you’ll be using.
The Chime is offered separately, or you can purchase them together in a bundle for a discounted price. Wyze offers a similar feature, where you can purchase the doorbell and chime either together, or separately.
Arlo also offers a separate Chime that you can purchase to work with your video doorbell. Google Nest, however, doesn’t sell a chime for their doorbells, so you would rely on notifications from your smart device.
Using a separate Chime unit for your smart doorbell can be a good idea, because even if the volume on your Amazon Echo speakers is really low, you can be sure that you’ll still receive a doorbell notification (via the separate Chime unit, which has its own volume settings).
By connecting smart video doorbells to your Alexa app via Skills (i.e. the Ring Skill, Wyze Skill, etc) your Echo, via the connection in the Alexa app, will notify you if someone is at the door. With the Echo Show, you will also be able to see who’s at the door, and even talk to them through the speakers.
So you’ve got your Amazon Echo, your smart doorbell is connected via the necessary skill – but you’re missing visitors because you can’t hear the ring. What now?
Making Your Amazon Door Chime Louder
Now it stands to reason, you’re not going to know someone is at the door unless you can hear it. Some smart doorbell and Echo users have complained that they can’t hear the door chime, and thereby miss people coming to the door. There may be a couple of reasons why you’re not hearing the bell, and fortunately, there are some easy fixes.
Method #1: Volume Too Low on Amazon Echo
When you have your Amazon Echo equipped with the Ring, Wyze, or other skill relative to your smart doorbell app, your Echo will notify you when someone is at the door. However, the volume actually has to be up loud enough for you to hear it.
So let’s say you have a bedtime routine with your Echo, which leaves the volume low, anywhere from 1 – 2. If you don’t turn it up in the morning, that volume remains low, and your notifications won’t be loud enough. What then?
Aside from, of course, making sure your volume is turned up, you could create another routine that occurs when someone rings the bell.
It may not be feasible to keep your Echo turned up throughout the day. Any notifications you don’t necessarily care about could be extremely loud, and so could your music. Instead of dealing with ungodly volumes, you can set up a new routine for your smart doorbell.
Go into your Alexa app, and go to the section to create a new routine.
Start with your smart doorbell as the trigger (under the “When” section, click “Smart Home” and choose your smart doorbell), and then create a routine that if someone comes to the door, you can set your Echo to raise the volume to say, 8, then say something like, “Someone is at the door”.
Afterwards, you can add in lowering the volume back down to a normal 2 or 3.
No crazy volumes all day, and you can still find out when someone is at the door – definitely a win.
Method #2: External Chime is Needed
Another reason you may not be able to hear when someone rings your smart doorbell is that you don’t have an external Chime unit – such as the traditional doorbell chime unit up on the wall somewhere:
Because of the apps that work with smart doorbells, most notifications are sent to either your smartphone or other mobile device such as iPads and tablets. If neither are near you at the moment because let’s say, you’re in the shower, you won’t hear or see your notifications.
If you have an external Chime, however, when someone rings your bell, you’ll be more likely to hear the Chime. This also depends on the placement of your Chime. If your Chime is on the first floor, and you’re in the shower upstairs, you may or may not hear it, depending on how loud it is. Most Chimes are loud enough though, so you’ll most likely hear it.
If you don’t live alone, having a Chime can help other members of the household hear it, even if you can’t.
Not all smart doorbells support traditional chime units, however thankfully the Ring Doorbell Pro 1 and 2 do – just be sure to check the chime compatibility list on Ring’s website. If your doorbell chime is compatible though, this can be a great way of having smart doorbell functionality – but still with an old school doorbell chime.
Beyond this, you can also get a wireless plug-in chime unit (such as the Ring Chime). Most smart doorbell manufacturers sell Chimes, such as Ring, Wyze, and Arlo. This is a little different when it comes to other brands like Google Nest, for example.
These don’t sell Chimes specifically for their devices, so you’ll end up with a couple of options at this point.
One option is to purchase and set up a 3rd party chime device. This is an iffy option as most chimes, even the no-name ones, are designed to work with a specific system. Getting them to work with something like Google Nest may require a decent amount of technical expertise – and be met with limited success.
Another Chime option you can explore is a Google Home hub. If you’re already using an Amazon Echo as your smart home hub, however, this works just as well at letting you know that someone is at the door.
As great as Amazon Echos and video doorbells are, they will experience issues at times. One of these is the volume of the doorbell chime. Fortunately, these aren’t without some rather simple fixes.
By adding a Chime, adjusting volume settings, and even creating routines, these problems can be remedied. Then you’ll be able to tell someone is at the door – when they’re actually at the door!