Tips For Replacing Your Outdated Intercom System

Tips for Replacing Your Outdated Intercom System

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If your intercom system is outdated or no longer functioning properly, it may be time to consider an upgrade or replacement. Intercom systems are crucial for communication, security, and convenience in multi-unit properties such as apartment buildings, offices, schools, or gated communities. An outdated intercom can present numerous issues that result in tenant complaints, security risks, and reduced functionality.

Key Takeaways
1. Thoroughly evaluate systems to determine necessary degree of upgrades – minor enhancements grafted onto working legacy equipment or full replacement if obsolete
2. When replacing proper removal avoids damage so existing usable wiring can integrate with new installation
3. Concealing outdated units maintains infrastructure while allowing discrete installation of equipment for partial upgrades
4. Newer IP-enabled intercoms should have capacity for additional smart capabilities beyond entry/unit communication
5. Modern systems greatly elevate tenant convenience/satisfaction, property security and market competitiveness

Replacing an intercom system may seem daunting, but breaking the process down into manageable steps makes the project much simpler. This guide will provide useful tips on:

  • Assessing your current intercom system to determine if replacement is necessary
  • Removal and preparation once the decision to upgrade has been made
  • Upgrade or replacement options and key considerations
  • The installation process for the new system
  • The benefits of upgrading from an outdated unit

By methodically evaluating your existing intercom, choosing the ideal new system, and properly removing the old unit, you can execute a seamless transition to a modern intercom that meets all your property’s communication and security needs. Increased convenience and technology integration options also make new systems worthwhile upgrades for tenants and property managers alike.

Whether you’re hoping to mitigate tenant complaints, enhance entry security, or access advanced smart features, this guide outlines the necessary steps to tackle an intercom replacement project. With some strategic planning and research on cutting-edge options like IP intercom systems offering conveniences like mobile access, you can execute a cost-effective upgrade that benefits all stakeholders in your building.

Assessing Your Current Intercom System

Assessing Your Current Intercom System

Before deciding on replacing your intercom, it is important to thoroughly assess your current system to determine if an upgrade is truly necessary or if less invasive solutions could suffice. Key areas to evaluate include:

Identifying Limitations

  • Does the intercom have frequent functionality issues like dropping calls or poor audio quality?
  • Are there tenant complaints about the system’s performance or reliability?
  • Does it lack desired features like video calling, mobile app control, or smart home integration?
  • Is the system obsolete and no longer supported or repairable long-term?
  • Do the intercom panels have signs of wear like cracked buttons or weather damage?

Checking Compatibility

  • Will the existing interior wiring work with newer intercom systems if you replace just the panels?
  • Can you integrate modern features like mobile apps or cameras using existing cables?
  • What power supply does the system use? Newer intercoms may require upgrading electrical.

Evaluating Necessary Upgrades

  • Create a list of lacking features you want in an upgraded system. Rank by priority.
  • Determine if less invasive or cheaper solutions like repairs or partial updates could address issues vs. full replacement.
  • Compare installation costs for new system vs. value of upgrades/features to justify investment.

Methodically assessing limitations, compatibility with modern systems, and useful upgrades helps inform the best path forward whether that’s full replacement, concealment, repairs, or integrating new technology into existing infrastructure. Consider consulting intercom system installation professionals if unsure what upgrades suit your needs and constraints.

Replacement Options for Outdated Intercom Systems

Replacement Options for Outdated Intercom Systems

If after thorough evaluation you determine your intercom system needs replacing, you have several options to consider each with their own pros and cons:


  • Complete removal involves taking out the entire outdated system including interior wiring and exterior panels. This allows installing a wholly new modern system properly tailored to current needs without working around any legacy infrastructure constraints.


  • Concealing the old system keeps the non-functioning intercom in place but covers it with decorative plates to improve aesthetics. The outdated wiring can possibly be reused for the new system as well. This avoids repairs to walls/surfaces.


  • Repairing focuses on replacement parts, system cleaning, or minor updates to components to extend functionality of existing system before eventual full replacement. This can tide things over in the short run.


  • Upgrading selects key new components like digital panels or mobile apps to integrate with the core outdated system. This improves features incrementally without a full custom overhaul.


  • Complete replacement removes old system entirely and installs completely new custom solution for maximum longevity. This is the most expensive option but provides an optimized modern system for current and future needs.

Consider the pros and cons of each path to make the right strategic choice suitable for your building’s budget, infrastructure constraints, tenant needs and long term functionality requirements.

Removing Your Old Intercom System

Removing Your Old Intercom System

Once you decide to fully replace rather than repair or upgrade your outdated intercom system, proper removal is essential. Carefully removing old system components prevents damage to your property and facilities safe conditions for installing the new system.

Key removal steps include:

Properly Labeling Wires

  • Before disconnecting any wiring, carefully label each wire with source and destination locations
  • Create a detailed wiring schematic showing cable routes to reference during new system installation
  • Document and label which wires link outdoor panels to interior units and power supplies
  • Note any wall damage or holes surrounding existing wires to easily patch later

Disconnecting Power

  • Switch off electricity to intercom system at the main circuit breaker
  • Disconnect wiring from power supplies wearing insulating gloves to prevent shocks
  • Test wires with voltage meter to verify power is cut before touching connectors

Removing Hardware

  • Take digital photos of outdoor panels and interior units placement to replace matching layout
  • Unbolt or unscrew units from surfaces without damaging surrounding areas
  • Detach wiring from both ends – interior speakers & mics plus exterior panels
  • Remove mounts/brackets securing hardware to interior and exterior walls

Patching Holes & Repairing Walls

  • With units detached, inspect wall areas with removed hardware for damage
  • Fill holes & cracks with spackling paste; smooth & sand repaired patches
  • Paint formerly covered wall sections with matching interior/exterior paint
  • Replace any warped siding, cracked plaster or tile damage from old mounts

Proper intercom removal avoids property damage so walls and infrastructure are pristine for the new system installation. Consult our commercial intercom installation services if lacking necessary tools or wiring expertise.

Concealing Your Old Intercom System

Concealing Your Old Intercom System

If fully removing your outdated intercom is not feasible, consider concealing it instead. Concealment retains the non-functioning system in place but covers it from sight while allowing installing new components behind the scenes. Reasons to conceal rather than remove include:

  • Avoiding infrastructure damage from removal/repairs
  • Preserving existing interior wiring for the new system
  • Lower costs than full demolition and new install

Effective concealment strategies include:

Using Existing Wiring for New System

  • Test cables ensuring interior wires are still functional from panels to units
  • Connect new speech units and smart panels to legacy wiring discreetly
  • Supplement with additional hidden wiring if needed for full functionality

Covering with Decorative Plates or Panels

  • Measure outdated intercom central unit and individual apartment plates
  • Order slightly larger metal or wood covers that blend with wall décor
  • Secure custom covers over old panels with adhesive, magnets or screws

Hiding Behind Furniture or Décor

  • For smaller wall-mounted speech or call units in apartments
  • Relocate furniture like wall mirrors, art, or bookcases to concealed area
  • Ensure full wireless signal strength if placing new equipment behind objects

Proper concealment retains the structure of old systems behind walls while improving aesthetics and facilitating discrete upgrades. Our experienced technicians can advise clever concealment strategies that balance cost savings, equipment longevity and aesthetic improvements during your intercom upgrade project without removing legacy systems.

Repairing Your Old Intercom System

Repairing Your Old Intercom System

If your intercom system is outdated but still functionally sound overall, targeted repairs may extend its lifespan while avoiding near-term replacement costs. Effective repair tactics include:

Identifying and Replacing Faulty Parts

  • Inspect wiring and cabling for cracks, fraying or corrosion and replace damaged sections
  • Test individual components like power transistors, fuses, resistors, capacitors and switches and swap out malfunctioning parts
  • Upgrade analog parts like electromagnetic locks, relays or buzzers to current solid-state digital counterparts

Cleaning and Maintaining Existing System

  • Open central unit and interior stations and dust out interior with compressed air
  • Remove paint, grime or rust from surface mount boxes, buttons and speaker grills
  • Ensure watertight exterior panel seal; reseal or replace rubber gaskets if compromised

Updating to Newer Compatible Technology

  • Install modern RF or WiFi speech units in apartments if existing wires are unusable
  • Integrate smart intercom apps, mobile device control and basic remote functions
  • Add IP cameras with two-way video intercom communication using existing coaxial cables

While extensive repairs can prolong full end-of-life replacement, combine with routine cleaning and compatible upgrades for an old system to maximize remaining usefulness. Consult our qualified repair technicians for cost-effective maintenance and modernization guidance customized for your aging equipment.

Upgrading Your Old Intercom System

Upgrading Your Old Intercom System

If your intercom system is outdated but core infrastructure remains sound, a partial upgrade by integrating new technology can drastically boost functionality. Smart modernization options include:

Choosing a Newer, More Advanced System

  • Select feature-rich system from reputable brand meeting all required functionality
  • Ensure sufficient capacity for unit-to-station communications supporting peak usage levels
  • Confirm electrical load tolerances and bandwidth for streaming media
  • Evaluate standby battery backups to maintain operation during power failures
  • Prioritize easy installation, maintenance and availability of replacement parts

Checking Compatibility with Existing Wiring

  • Carefully assess whether legacy system structured cabling uses simple 2-wire twisted pair or 4-6 wire RG-59 coaxial
  • Fully map out wiring schematic noting cable routes, wire gauge size and connectivity
  • Use cable tester to check entire wire runs for continuity faults needing replacement
  • Review cable voltage (AC/DC), polarities and confirm adequacy for powering chosen system
  • Install signal amplifiers and line conditioners if issues to boost reliability

Considering Added Features such as Smartphone Integration

  • Evaluate requirements for integrating modern capabilities like IP connectivity, wifi, mobile apps and cloud management
  • Discuss options for touchscreens, mobile credentialing to unlock doors and video intercom camera integration
  • Compare integration challenges, operating costs and tenant convenience of analog vs digital VoIP-enabled models
  • Confirm cellular or wireless signal reliability to support smart device integration
  • Assess cybersecurity, data privacy protections and encryption for IP-enabled devices

Carefully upgrading an aging but functional system by grafting new user-friendly communication functionality onto existing wiring and infrastructure using a hybrid approach allows adding modern interactivity at a fraction of full replacement costs. Consult our experienced system designers to review affordable options compatible with your legacy equipment.

Replacing Your Old Intercom System

Replacement Options for Outdated Intercom Systems

When partial upgrades or repairs for an outdated system are ineffective or excessively costly over the long-term, full replacement with a modern custom-designed intercom system is likely your best financial and operational option moving forward. Critical facets of the replacement process include:

Hiring a Professional for Installation

  • Given extensive infrastructure work, hire certified and insured technicians like our experienced installers
  • Confirm all permits and licensing in place with full bonded licensing for complete building communications installation services
  • Validate attention to building codes and regulations during removal/installation processes

Choosing the Right Replacement System

  • Select a commercial-grade system designed specifically for your application (apartments, gated neighborhood etc)
  • Determine appropriate number of entrances, interior stations and features supporting smooth ongoing usage
  • Ensure usable lifecycle exceeding 10+ years through ruggedized exterior construction
  • Require system programming flexibility for future needs without requiring new equipment

Understanding Installation and Wiring Requirements

  • Discuss options for new structured cabling if existing wiring is unusable or unsuitable for modern connectivity standards
  • Review separate analog ringdown circuits or VoIP-enabled network connections to apartments/units
  • Evaluate panel antennae for wireless or IP-enabled systems requiring localized signal repeaters
  • Confirm electrician on staff or hired to install new 120/240V AC supplies with battery backup for continuous operation during outages
  • Determine if ancillary access control systems like door strikes need integration

Installing a fully customized modern intercom system tailored your building’s requirements and resident needs ensures seamless communication and access control for the next decade or more. Our experts guide you in selecting ideal replacement systems matching your budget while maximizing functionality, convenience and long-term reliability.

Benefits of Upgrading or Replacing Your Intercom System

Benefits of Upgrading or Replacing Your Intercom System 3

Beyond restoring basic communication functionality, installing a modern intercom system through shrewd upgrades or full replacement delivers measurable benefits enhancing tenant convenience, property marketability and security:

Improved Functionality and Convenience

  • Clear audio and optional video improves communication accuracy between residents and guests
  • Smart credentialing via phones or tablets allows touchless secure entry
  • Integration with other systems like access control, alarms and lighting automation

Increased Home Value

  • Contemporary intercom improves aesthetics for an updated building appearance
  • Smart property differentiation attracts higher-quality tenants willing to pay higher rents
  • Enhanced security features increase tenant perception of safety and comfort

Enhanced Security

  • Remote visitor screening allows verifying identities before granting entry
  • Robust access control settings reduce unauthorized entry risk
  • Customized automated alerts can notify managers or authorities of suspicious activity

Leveraging modern intercom advancements amplifies property management efficiency, tenant convenience and satisfaction while future-proofing access control and communication infrastructure to remain competitive. Our expert consultants demonstrate quantifiable financial and operational gains justifying new technology investments.


Benefits of Upgrading or Replacing Your Intercom System

Upgrading or replacing an aging intercom system is a strategic investment necessary for multi-tenant properties to remain functional, and competitive and deliver tenant satisfaction long-term. The step-by-step process involves:

  • Thoroughly evaluating current system limitations including component lifespan, wiring constraints, functionality gaps and compatibility challenges with modern feature offerings
  • Deciding appropriate improvement path whether creatively concealing outdated units, repairing isolated faults, incrementally upgrading some components or wholesale replacement
  • If fully replacing, properly removing legacy system including labeling wiring, disconnecting power, detaching hardware and patching holes to avoid infrastructure damage while retaining usable existing wiring
  • Carefully selecting ideal contemporary system meeting all functional requirements including sufficient capacity, construction standards, and technology standards with flexibility accommodating future needs
  • Hiring certified professionals to tailor installation around building layout, access control system integration, mobile credentialing needs and smart feature expectations

Compelling benefits of installing new modern intercom equipment encompass:

  • Greatly restored and improved communication clarity between residents and visitors via noise-cancelling microphones and amplifiers
  • Enhanced convenience with intuitive mobile credentialing, smart home automation potential and cloud-based accessibility
  • Increased rents and longer tenant retention delivering satisfactory, future-proofed living experience
  • Vastly elevated security with AI-powered intelligent detection, restricted entry control and custom alert triggering

Given rapid performance declines in older analog systems, evolving smart property demands and relentless technology advancements; periodically revisiting structured cabling, communication and access control systems improvements becomes essential for optimizing tenant attraction, retention rates, management efficiency and maintaining regulatory compliance.

Contact our intercom design experts today to evaluate your existing system limitations and discuss affordable replacement or upgrade options boosting your property’s competitive edge. Our teams handle building code compliance, permitting, installation, feature programming and provide ongoing optimization support.


Do I need to replace my whole intercom system or can I just upgrade components?

You may be able to retain components of your existing system that remains functional, such as interior wiring, while upgrading core elements like the speech units, entry panels and operating system programming/intelligence. Our experts can advise cost-effective hybrid upgrades grafting cutting-edge amenities onto aging infrastructure.

Should I repair, conceal or replace my outdated intercom system?

Repairs make sense for minor isolated faults but won’t deliver modern functionality. Concealing retains unused equipment while discretely upgrading behind walls. Wholesale replacement ensures highest long-term reliability, features and security. Our consultants examine constraints helping select optimal path.

What features should I expect in a new replacement intercom system?

Look for IP network-enabled panel and speech unit connectivity, video call support, extensive access control programming, mobile and web app compatibility for credentialing guests or controlling remotely and integration potential with security cameras, door access controls and building automation systems.

How complicated is it swapping out an old intercom system?

The complexity depends on whether fully removing old wiring or working around existing infrastructure as well as if adding advanced integrations with other systems. Typically, an expert installer can upgrade core components in a single building over 2-3 days. Additional time required tackling compliance items, layered integrations and customizations.

Should I get quotes from multiple intercom installation companies?

While multiple vendor quotes help assess fair pricing, equally important is aligning with an experienced installer providing appropriate commercial-grade equipment for your needs, pulling all permits, optimizing programming, ensuring smooth functionality testing and providing ongoing support. Quality over cost is recommended for mission critical access control infrastructure.

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