Improve your cordless phone's performance

It might surprise you, but problems with cordless phones are the most common reason people hear noise -- other conversations, radio stations -- on their phone lines. To quiet the voices (and/or to just get your cordless phone to work better), give these troubleshooting tips a whirl.

Unplug your phone

Any piece of equipment plugged into your phone jack can act as an antenna and pick up CB or AM/FM broadcasting station frequencies. Unfortunately, this is particularly true for cordless phones.

To troubleshoot:

  1. Unplug the base unit from the telephone jack.
  2. Unplug all the charging units (including the base) from their electrical outlets.
  3. Plug each component back in one at a time, listening for noise. 
  4. If one telephone is causing the problem, unplug that telephone and try another. 

If only one unit is causing the problem, you might want to simply not use that unit. Alternately, you can contact the manufacturer for recommendations.

Tip: Look into buying a radio suppresser or radio/noise filter for your line. Filters are easy to install and can be purchased at most electronic stores.

Move your phone

Your phone may work better in some places than others. Try putting it in different locations. You can also try moving the telephone base closer to the handset and/or to a higher location.

Electronic devices don't always play nice together, and sometimes your phone reception can suffer. Try installing your phone as far away as possible from these types of devices:

  • Modems
  • Wireless networking equipment
  • Personal computers
  • Radios and televisions
  • Cell phones
  • Other cordless phones
  • Intercoms and room monitors
  • Kitchen appliances

Charge your battery

The handsets for your cordless phone have batteries. They may not be fully charged, or they may not be holding a charge. Consider these tips:

  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for size and type (standard, alkaline or rechargeable).
  • Use fresh batteries, and avoid mixing old and new ones. 
  • Be sure the battery cover is in place and secure. 
  • When in doubt, change them out. 

Note: Most cordless phone sets require that before you use them the first time, you let the handsets charge in their bases for a number of hours. (Refer to you user's manual for specific information.)

Plug in your cord

Each charging unit needs to be plugged into a power outlet. Be sure someone hasn't unplugged the charging unit.

Press a button

If your cordless handset has a CHANNEL (or CHAN) button, press it once (or twice) to improve sound quality. (Note: The manual that came with your phone should have additional troubleshooting ideas.) 

Check the weather

Surprisingly, weather and time of day can impact how well your cordless equipment works.  Pay attention to when you're experiencing reception issues. Try using a corded phone when your cordless equipment doesn't work due to climate conditions.

Tip: If you're using a cordless phone and having problems connecting to the Internet wirelessly, read Improve the performance of your wireless connection for troubleshooting ideas.