View Full Version : Help! My phones have no dial tone!

January 07, 2004, 22:40
The four phones (one regular, three cordless) have no dial tone. I've been all around the outside of the house looking for the network interface device (NID) to plug in a phone to see if the problem is on my side or with the phone company.

Problem is, I can't find anything that looks like a NID :confused: Do older houses (mine was built in 1979) not have one?

I get a ringing signal when I call the house number on my cell phone, but the house phones don't ring. All the house phones have been checked to make sure one of them isn't off the hook. I hope some critter hasn't chewed on the wiring :mad:

Any advice?

Oh, yeah - the phone bill's been paid :rolleyes:

January 07, 2004, 22:47
The other day, mine was dead. I could hear a little noise in the background, so I checked my cordless phones. None were turned on, but I pulled the power on each and then I had a dial tone again. The base apparently was on, with the head set off.

January 07, 2004, 22:48
SSarge is on the right track. Unplug all the cordless phones from the electric and the phone jack, as well as any answering machines, wait 30 seconds and plug them all back in. Then give her a try.

If that doesn't work, let us know.

January 07, 2004, 22:55
The way to check is to unplug ALL your phones and start with just one phone in one jack. If that doesn't work then pull it out and use one OTHER phone in ONE jack. Most times when this happens it is a bad phone that is causing the trouble. If this doesn't help the network interface is probably very near your electric meter on the outside of the house. If it is inside then it will be very near where the wires come inside from the outside meter. Only on rare occasions will the phone service come in very far from where the power service is. If you have an overhead phone line then just follow that in.

Jim :fal: FALunga

Para Driver
January 07, 2004, 23:00
right, most utilities use the same easement, so look for the electric meter.

January 07, 2004, 23:00
Older houses won't have the little plug in's on the outside. Just a little box with a terminal board. Can't find it?? Look for the telephone pole that has the line leading to your house and follow it. If you have no dial tone but you get a ringtone when you call your house....it might be a broken wire somewhere.

January 07, 2004, 23:51
that happened to me one time , turns out the box was full of fire ants..

January 07, 2004, 23:56
Thanks for all the quick replies! :bow:

I've found a green vertical cylinder about two feet high marked with the phone company logo in the back corner of my lot, but it's at least twenty feet from the house (and on the opposite side of the house from the electric meter.) The phone lines are buried, so no luck tracing them.

The only thing next to the electric meter are the cable TV/internet wires and a breaker box for the air conditioning unit. Nothing that looks like a terminal box or network interface device.

I've unplugged all the phones, answering machine, etc. for five minutes. No joy. I've also tested various internal phone jacks with different phones - no luck.

I guess the next move is to have the phone company repairman come out...

January 08, 2004, 17:14
Originally posted by mosbysmen
that happened to me one time , turns out the box was full of fire ants..

Dear God! First they bite/sting you then they build big mounds in your yard and now the little bastards tap into your phone line! What is the world coming to!?!

January 08, 2004, 17:25
Originally posted by Stranger

Dear God! First they bite/sting you then they build big mounds in your yard and now the little bastards tap into your phone line! What is the world coming to!?!
Fire ants are drawn to electricity BIG TIME! I've been digging them out of my well pump switch for years as well as my gas pump breaker box . I've also had them clog up my outdoor security lights.

January 08, 2004, 21:38
Give us an update when you get a chance.

January 09, 2004, 00:53
I called the house from the office this afternoon, and my wife answered the phone. I guess the repair tech came out and did his magic on the phone company side, as no one knocked on the door. So all is well for now :D

However, I still have no idea where the phone line comes into the house :confused:

Thanks to all of you again for the help - the FAL Files is my go-to source for all sorts of information. I hope I can help someone else in the future.

January 09, 2004, 01:26
When I installed security systems, I learned a few tricks for finding the phone line. If you have a jack on the wall, the line for that jack enters that wall cavity through the floor or the ceiling. More than likely its through the floor if you have a basement, assuredly from above if you don't. Follow that line back to the junction. It doesn't look like something you'd expect to be phones. Most are just a big knob of plastic with two threaded rods coming out of it, and 4 or 5 sets of 2-conductor wire all attached to the rods. The bigger heavy 2-conductor is the source from telco.

Another setup has a plastic utility box mounted to the outside of the house with the electric service. The threaded rods would be in that box if you have this. Either way, look in your rafters for low-voltage cable, the stuff thats in a grey or white 1/4" shield. Thats almost always phone line.

NZ L1A1 Collector
January 09, 2004, 05:09
You will probably find that a contractor has cut a cable somewhere, even though it might not be outside your house if they hit a 200 pair cable well that can knock out at least 200 homes and no one is the wiser when it's done 30 blocks from your home.

Remember to always Call the cable locating service before you dig.

yep that's right, that's what I do, locate phone and power cables :D