Loud and Clear: Common Home Phone Issues and Advice

Home Phone Issues

Phone troubles? Before you start pulling out your hair, look at this quick-and-calm guide to locating the problem. Home phone issues vary a lot between landlines and mobile phones, but don’t worry — we have them both covered here.

8 Common Home Phone Issues

Don’t get too upset, since there’s usually an easy way to handle most of these problems.

A Dead Phone

So your phone is refusing to work at all. It just doesn’t turn on and refuses to operate in any way. You push buttons to no avail. The first and most obvious step is to check your power cord or battery levels to make sure you have a connected source of reliable power. If you have power, then a component is probably to blame.

For landline phones, disconnect absolutely everything and start reconnecting the most basic pieces to see if you can solve the problem or find the issue. If this does not help much, try using a different phone entirely at the same port. If another phone works, then your hardware phone system is to blame. If neither phone works, you probably have a wiring problem and need to make a call to your service company.

If your cell phone refuses to turn on no matter what, take it into a local shop.

Frequently Dropped Signals and Choppy Calls

This is one of the most common home phone issues, but it also tends to be one of the easiest to fix. If you have a wireless but land-based phone, check the battery on your wireless component — dropped signals are usually a sign of a failing battery. Then move on to connection problems (like you would with a dead phone) if the replaced battery does not help.

If you use a mobile phone, check your reception. Are calls clearer outside of your house than inside? You may have a lot of interference from other signals inside your home, which you can fix by moving around some hardware and minimizing signal reflection.

If calls clear up several miles away, you may just be in a bad reception area and you should consider a new provider.

Fuzzy, Noisy Line

If you have a busy landline (this happens a lot in home offices) that is connected to things like splitters and fax machines, these may be creating unnecessary noise on your line. Unplug everything and replug devices back in one at a time to see what the problem might be. If nothing works and your phone’s wiring works fine, the port or jack where you are plugging in your phone may be at fault — replace it or switch to a new jack to solve the problem.

Cell phone signals rarely suffer from this fuzzy noise problem unless reception is poor, so you may want to switch.

No Incoming Calls at All

If you are having trouble picking up incoming calls, start with the basics. Is the ringer volume turned down or off? If the volume looks fine, then the problem is probably similar to the fuzzy noise issue, just more serious — something in your wiring or jack is faulty.

On cell phones, check your settings and then give your provider a call.

Outgoing Calls are a Problem

If your home phone issues are preventing your from making any outgoing calls, check your buttons and keypad to see if it is still operating correctly (the coded beeps should still sound). If not, your hardware is malfunctioning and needs a professional look. If all you hear is a sped-up busy signal or a delayed dial tone, your network is probably going through repairs or an especially busy time. Be patient and try again in a couple hours. Otherwise, wiring is the culprit.

This problem is much more rare on mobile phones, but may be connected with service issues there as well.

So … I Dropped My Phone in Something

Handsets and mobile phones make it really easy to drop our phones in … well almost anything, depending on what we are working on while talking. Yes, liquids can ruin your phone, but phones are designed to resist water damage as long as possible, so take quick action. The famous rice trick requires you to put your phone in a bowl of rice that saps out all the water and hopefully restores functions. Otherwise, you’ll need a new phone.

Dead or Malfunctioning Menu Screen

This problem is most common among smartphones, although landlines may also have failing screens on their base components. On a smartphone, try backing up your data and restoring your factory settings to solve the problem. On a landline, disconnect everything and reconnect it again so see if you can restore screen functionality.

Annoying, Frequent and Unwanted Calls

If you are receiving unwanted marketing calls, you should report the caller to the FCC and take steps to place your number on the do-not-call list. However, some companies, like nonprofits and credit companies, can still call you up at all hours. For landline phones, you don’t really have an option to stop these calls. Your options with mobile phones are broader. For example, one welcome feature of Apple’s iOS7 was the ability to manually block specific numbers on your phone. Check your settings and provider services for similar abilities.

Hopefully, we’ve given you some helpful tips to fix any of your home phone issues. If you still have troubles, please leave a comment below to see if we can help. It’s possible another reader will know what to do, also!

Photo Credit: Daniel Oines