My landline won't ring

Updated February 21, 2017

Landline telephones vary from traditional corded models to digital cordless phones equipped with a base or docking unit. Sometimes the ringer does not work, even though you can hear a dial tone and place a call. Troubleshoot connections and settings before calling the phone company.

Ringer Switch

Corded phone ringers manually turn off with a switch reading "High," "Low" and "Off" at the side or back of the phone. On cordless and digital phones, check the phone menu on the display. Verify the ringer is on and of audible volume.


A phone cord pulls away from the wall when moving furniture or pulling the phone cord too aggressively. If no ring or dial tone is present, reconnect the phone securely to the wall. Also check the electrical cord for cordless phones and traditional models with digital features.


Cordless phones do not ring when they lose their charge. Place the receiver on the charger and plug in a corded phone while you wait. If the phone does not ring, a caller hears a ringtone.

Number of Phones

The phone company supplies a limited amount of power to trigger landlines to ring. Each phone carries a REN or ringer equivalence value. Most phones carry a REN of 1. If total devices, including phones and answering machines equal over 5 REN, the phones will not ring. Remove seldom used phones, such as a guest room phone, and test the line.

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