Mary
Mary
  • Hometalker
  • Smyrna, GA
Asked on Jan 21, 2012

Land line

Woodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.comSherrie SMary
+17

Answered

I know I am still living in the stone age, but please help anyway. My phone is not working at all and AT&T claims the problem is inside. I've been checking all phones and jacks and am wondering if it's possible that the wiring just gets "old" over time. It has gone from serious static, to no dial tone or ringing at all. I am not finding any chewed wires from the outside supply line. What should I be looking for or replace?
20 answers
  • No the wires do not get old although we do. The wires were they connect from the outside to the inside most likely have come apart or loose. If it was just one line then it could be a broken wire or connection point at the phone jack. But if your experiencing the whole house that would be the first place I would look. If you only have one phone in the house then you may want to change the handset wire as they do break from being pulled upon over time. Also the wire from the phone to the wall jack also could be defective. I know in my office I have a long phone coil cord going to my handset. And every few years I need to replace it. So that would be the first thing I would check. Sometimes pulling on this to reach that extra inch while on the phone I pull the cord out just a little where the coil cord attaches to the phone and I get a lot of static as result.

  • Karen
    on Jan 21, 2012

    I have no information to add--sorry!--but I thought I'd let you all in on a land line story: I was living out in the boonies for a time, and I had my land line hooked up to an answering machine (and you think you're living in the stone age, Mary!). My phone started calling 911 (honest--my phone really did this) and the police starting coming way out to the house to see what the problem was (in the middle of the night, of course). AT&T came and found issues in the line outside, so we thought that fixed it. But, sure enough, my phone called 911 again. To make a long story short--or is it too late?--after several more visits from the police and AT&T, the technician finally thought to check my answering machine, which was fairly new. Well, that's what was causing the problem--there was some electrical issue in the machine that caused it to call 911 periodically. Needless to say, I now have voice mail--on my cell phone.

  • Karen you did add some valuable information. perhaps if Mary has one of these machines she should remove it as it too can cause all sorts of issues with the phone line.

  • Mary
    on Jan 22, 2012

    Thanks so much for the responses, but the problem is persistent. I've done everything imaginable from going to each phone jack and checking all wires to tracing the phone lines in my house from their entry point. I have disconnected my answering machine and tried each of my 3 phones separately. I know the phone by my computer is good because I have Magicjack on my computer and have switched out that phone with my land line phone and the phone works just fine. Is the phone wiring like a string of Christmas tree lights where if one goes out, nothing on the rest of the strand works?

  • We had multiple problems with thephone company in denial. Finally got a good tech, and it was their fault. Check with your neighbors if they have the same issues. Facebook works good for this.

  • If the line where the computer connects to works, then its the branch lines going out elsewhere. As far as the light theory yes and no. Depends upon how they wired this. You need to determine starting from the ATT line where the wires go. If they go to the computer first and then go out from there to the others. The issue is from that point on. If the ones that do not appear to be working come out from the main line you need to follow them to the box where the phone connects. It sounds as though one of the wires has come loose within the jack connection which is effecting the rest of the branch line where the two phones are connected. What ever it is, its simple. You just got to play with them. Plug a phone into one of the messed up jacks. Then while someone is listening to the phone push the wires around on the connections where ever you can get to them. Once you find the loose wire the noise will be apparent in the phone. Then you will know were the issue is.

  • Sherrie S
    on Jan 22, 2012

    Woodbridge, anything with AT&T is not simple. When you have a problem all they want to do is sell their new technology which I fear. I could write a novel but will keep it short as I can. I will tell you about the 3 times they send a technician to rerun the same OUTSIDE cable lines. Outside was not the problem & when I told each technician about the prior one they said they had to do it - so they did. The third guy was a repeat & knew it was NOT the problem. It was an AT&T in problem at their site. How it all started: I had 3 phone lines (one for a fax). I only asked to remove the ONE fax line in July 2011 because I was using internet for fax. AT&T removed one line & the AT&T bill increased & we lost our other 2 phone #'s. It scared everyone that called me as AT&T message said our other 2 phones were disconnected. No phones, no internet, NADA. Finally I got the 2 phone lines back and also the internet & THEN: a friend of mine called me on my cellphone & said she called one of my two remaining AT&T numbers & a guy told her she called a wrong #. She called him back three times thinking she dialed wrong # & got a nasty response & was threatened with the police because he had received other calls on My #. I called MY own number & talked to the guy who threatened & he was really nice. I told him he had MY phone# and he laughed and said he appreciated it because he was told he wouldn't get internet for 10 days or more and he had access now. Yup with my phone #. I have both of my numbers back. I love Verizon. Dislike AT&T. Anyone know where else I can get land lines? I already have DSL with another company.

  • I fully understand about your issue. I had AT&T for long distance and Verizon for normal service. When I moved my home inspection office back to my house I found I could not port my number to my home office. Although I had that number in my home before I moved to my office. Go figure. Anyway I changed over to Vonage. I have not looked back. It uses my internet service Comcast and allows me more features then any of them combined. My phone bill at my office (commercial line) was hovering around $300 per month with two numbers. Fax and normal line. Once I converted over the the Vonage system, my new bill is $75 per month with three lines, including fax. Plus I get all the features. What really sold me was I kept my old numbers. And were ever I can plug the Vonage adapter into the internet, my office phone rings. I got the same thing for my son who went to school in AZ, He got a local area code so his friends could call him as though it was a local call. So if you have a DSL line, Look into the Vonage system and port your current phone number over to it. The primary reason I did not go with Comcast phone is if I move away and they do not have the Comcast service I would need to port the number to the new service that I would be able to get. So you may want to look into this. Once its plugged in you simply plug your phone into it. If you have the house wired and the wiring is OK, then simply connect the phone jack into the current line you have and the whole house is wired.

  • Ricardo B
    on Jan 23, 2012

    Mary, I worked for AT&T 28 years, though I'm no technician. Follow your aerial telephone line that goes from the street to the box connected to the box outside your house (called the demarc box). Open the box (may have a simple screw keeping it closed. The lines inside will be split out and each will be terminated onto a wiring board. If you're lucky, it will connect those wires from there to the "house side" with a simple RJ11 jack arrangement (it's a simple clip-in just like what's connecting your indoor home phones to the same kind of jacks inside the house). Take a working telephone with it's attached line and plug it into the demarc jack. If you get dial tone, then the service to your demarc is good and they're correct. Now, if you can follow the wiring from demarc box the nearest inside telephone jack, plug the phone in there and again, check for dial-tone. If you hear nothing... yep, it's going to be a bumpy ride finding where that break is. If you live in an old house with old wiring and many jacks around the house... it will be like finding that proverbial needle. Here's what you could do if you insist on still using a landline: * Bite the bullet and tell your dial-tone provider (i.e. BellSouth or whatever) phone company to dispatch a technician. You will be charged unless they see an obvious error on their part. That tech will at least be able to point the likeliest reason why there's no dial-tone from the demarc to your jacks. You may ask them to run new wiring from the demarc to each of the jacks inside the home, but expect "onetime" wiring and install charges. Here's what I'd do (and happy as I can be): I got rid of my landlines (had three) and am only using our wireless cellphones. In this new house, I have internet service but have refused to a land line and have NOT needed it. I used to use a fax machine that only works on a land line but now I use our internet service, a scanner or a special App for making and transmitting documents.

  • Sherrie S
    on Jan 23, 2012

    Ricardo, are you getting the internet through your cell company or do you have cable?

  • Ricardo B
    on Jan 24, 2012

    Surprise! I tried to get internet though AT&T and their pricing plan was atrocious ! Imagine that... I'm not being loyal to the company that sends me my monthly retirement pension. Even thought that DirectTV would be a good option... NOT! I tried to use HughesNet and that was a total waste of my time and effort to make it happen. So what have I used for the last 5 (five) years? I'm very happy with ComCast Cable! Yep, had it for the last five years. We (AT&T) bought the company and infused it with life and money several years ago but then spun them off after a few years. I have to say that in my humble opinion... they are MY first love in the Internet category. We get solid and dependable throughput and the only time it's down is when someone cuts a cable (happened twice when the house next door was being built). Whenever I've called them lately (over the last 24 months), they usually are tracing or know about the problem when our service does get a little flakey.

  • Mary
    on Jan 24, 2012

    I'm putting this project on hold for right now until I can find the time to more thoroughly check all the phone lines from the source. After over a week of not getting a dial tone or ring, the phone rang this morning! I answered it, but experienced the severe static and have no idea who the call was from. Since the sun is shining and the rain has stopped for right now, I still feel this is an outside issue. Maybe AT&T will come out again once I tell them I'm cancelling the phone. It has been my intention to get rid of the land line, but I was hoping to preserve the wiring so that I could go with Majicjack Plus, which does not have to go through the Internet like their original version. I am not willing to pay AT&T to make an in-house service call. The $80 charge is not worth it to me when I know I'm going to cancel the land line anyway. Thanks for all the responses. It may be a few weeks, but I will report on my progress based on the additional information received.

  • Sherrie S
    on Jan 24, 2012

    Mary, I put my AT&T project on hold because like you I don't know where to go now. Comcast is not an option with me as I don't watch much TV. I hope your local people at AT&T are better than what I have had. If your problem is inside your house then that is absolutely your problem. All of my problems were at the big AT&T office that made changes I requested and made my life miserable for over 6 months. My final word. There is NO customer service in too many of the largest companies & none of us have any rights. I don't blame the poor AT&T people that talk to us on the phone. They are trained to get rid of us as quickly as possible.

  • Mary
    on Jan 24, 2012

    Sherrie, I know what you mean about AT&T customer service. I need to contact them to request an adjustment on my phone bill and just dread the thought of having to deal with them. I went on U-verse in September with them for my Internet connection. The promo amount was one year at $14.95/mo. I have yet to receive a correct bill and have spent way too many hours on the phone with them in an attempt to get that billing straight. As I don't watch TV, it's not practical for me to go with any kind of bundle. They are all way out of my price range and needs.

  • Sherrie S
    on Jan 25, 2012

    Mary, let me tell you one thing I learned during my depressing times with AT&T. The phone company cannot tell you it is an inside problem unless they come to your house and test the connection. Did they do that? They are shoving u-verse on anyone with a problem. They tried it with me & failed. You can't win with them, but don't give up.

  • Ricardo B
    on Jan 26, 2012

    Folks, folks... take your non-HomeTalk complaints to your friends on Facebook. Lets really make this venue a sparkling demonstration on people and businesses HELPING other businesses and people... I really like what HomeTalk has been all about!

  • Sherrie S
    on Jan 26, 2012

    Ricardo B, I'm normally not a complainer but after 20 years with Southern Bell/AT&T I was shocked at the treatment I received. I probably should not have vented but I hope I gave Mary one idea that might help.

  • Mary
    on Feb 4, 2012

    I have canceled my land line with AT&T. I was unable to find any internal break in the phone line although AT&T claims I have an internal problem. Does anyone know if it is still possible to continue checking the phone lines even though I no longer have the AT&T service? Is there some meter available to check the connections? Or should I just not waste my time as I already have Magicjack and will eventually get Magicjack Plus?

  • Sherrie S
    on Feb 4, 2012

    Mary, don't waste time. What's done is done. The price of Majicjack is unbelievably good and we are pleased with the service.

  • There is a meter that you can purchase for home use. Its made by Ideal Tools called Tracetone Its about $30 and can be had at your local Home Depot store. This is where I bought mine. You simply plug one part in and the tracer will follow the lines. Loose the tone it generates while following the wire and you found your break in the wire.

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