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What to do With an Old Buzzer or Intercom System

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

If your apartment building still has an old buzzer system installed, or perhaps an older intercom that no longer works... you may wonder, what am I going to do with this thing?

Rather than simply let it take up space, you have the ability to utilize the old chords and enhance your utilities without breaking the bank. For landlords, this is an easy process to upgrade a simple and effective amenity to attract more tenants and increase return on investment (ROI).

Here's a few tips that can help spruce up your place and make use of the old bulky metal box that's already installed.

Many apartment buildings will have older intercoms installed just to say they offer the amenity. Because the intercoms and buzzer systems are so old and outdated, they're no longer functional and don't really serve a purpose for the tenants in the building. It is ultimately the landlord or property owners decision to decide to upgrade the intercom system, so we'll provide you with all the information needed to help make the decision an easy and uncomplicated process.

An overview of the 4 options of what to do with an outdated buzzer or intercom system:

1. Replace the old systems with a newer, more convenient option

The first option is to upgrade your old, outdated system with one that is more up-to-date with today's technology and tenants' expectations. While an old intercom or buzzer system may still provide access to the building while a tenant is home, a newer intercom increases convenience for tenants by ten-fold. With a newer intercom, tenants and property managers can connect their smartphones to the intercom in order to grant access to the building from anywhere in the world. No matter where the tenant is, if someone rings the intercom, they will receive the call and be able to grant access. This can increase convenience for both the tenant and property manager, as more renters are looking for an increased offering of amenities in their residential buildings.

Intercoms today also have visual verification with a one-way video call. This allows tenants to be able to see who is at their residence before granting them access. This feature can be extremely useful when packages are being delivered, as to alert the resident that the driver is at the residence and they're able to see their face prior to granting them access. Because of this feature, packages are also much less likely to be stolen, as delivery personnel can now bring the package indoors.

Replacing an older intercom with a new system doesn't have to be complicated. Many companies that sell intercoms can refer you to a team of trusted professionals to re-wire the system.

2. Cover up the old system

If the building's old buzzer or intercom system has no functionality anymore, is no longer in use, and as property manager you're not looking to upgrade the amenities currently, it may be worth just covering up the old system. You could get a framed picture or painting that is large enough to cover it, in order to save the unit an eye sore. While this may not be the easiest option because older systems tend to be large and bulky, it is one that will work for some people. It will save money in the short-term, as it won't cost to repair or replace the old system. However, in the long-term it will not be beneficial because residents will not be able to benefit from an idle box in their unit.

3. Repair the system installed

This is a good option for a building with an intercom that isn't extremely old and out of date. If the company is still around and producing/fixing intercoms, they could potentially repair the system without having to break the bank. This is only an option for buildings whose intercom has worked within the past 5 years. Beyond that, they will likely face difficulties in getting into contact with the company and finding the right parts needed. An issue with repairing the system that is already installed however, is that there is no immediate upgrade. The systems that no longer are in use likely do not have a video feature for tenants to utilize, thus having a breach in security.

4. Remove the system

If the system currently installed is out of date to the point that there is no way to repair it and as the property owner you are not looking to upgrade it, removing the system is an option as well. Removing the system will cost money as you will have to hire professionals to be able to take out the hard-wiring and replace the part in the wall that the intercom used to reside on. While it may cost less money upfront to remove the system rather than installing a new one, there will be no return on investment by removing the system. If a landlord decides to upgrade the system rather than remove it, they would be able to sell attractive amenities as part of their property that could potentially increase the cost of rent.

What's the best option?

We believe the best option to be replacing and upgrading an old intercom or buzzer system with a newer intercom that is up to date on today's technology and has features that increase security and have a higher ROI.

By investing in a new system, you are offering tenants new features and amenities in order to increase convenience in your apartment building. Investing in newer intercom systems also gives property managers a way to attract new tenants who are looking to rent a unit with up-to-date amenities. If you're looking to install a new intercom, compare what each major company offers here.

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