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If you are like most people, you own your telephone(s). Not much can go wrong with them unless they are dropped or otherwise damaged. But, as with all electronic products, there are basic problems that can and do occur, but you can save money by fixing them yourself.

A usual problem is annoying static on the phone line. Possible causes of this are moisture in the jack, too many phones on one line, or a faulty cord.

First, check to see if you have installed too many phones on one line. To do this, simply disconnect all of the phones from the line. Then, reconnect one phone and then check the line to see if the static has disappeared. Next, reconnect the second phone, and again, check the line for noisy static. Keep doing this until you have checked all of the phones. If, for example, you hear static after reconnecting phone number five, it could be that you have too many phones on one line. Simply disconnect that phone. If the line is clear of noise, then you have found your problem. If you absolutely feel that you need the service of that fifth phone, your best bet would be to contact your local telephone company and have a second line installed. This will probably cost nearly as much as the main line costs you each month, so be sure that you really need this second line.

If that test did not turn up any problems, then your next step is to check all of the cords. There are three cords. The first one connects the base of the phone to the jack. The second cord connects the receiver to the phone; this is a coiled cord. And the third cord connects the jacks to one another if you have multiple jacks.

Simply remove the cord that connects the phone to the jack and replace it with another cord like it that you know works. Check the line for static. If the static still exists, then continue checking the remaining cords. If they check out all right, your next step is to check the jack(s).

Note: Before working on the jack, it would be a wise idea to unplug all of the phones in the house from the jack. Phones operate on a low voltage level, but a ringing phone operates on a higher voltage level, and you could get a shock if the phones are connected and a call comes in.

There are two kinds of phone jacks: a surface mounted jack, and a flush mounted jack. They are basically the same, except that the surface mounted jack is attached to the baseboard, and it sticks out away from the wall, while the flush mounted jack is flush or even with the wall surface.

To check the connections inside the surface mounted jack, simply use a screwdriver and remove the screws that hold the jack cover. (Sometimes the cover simply snaps on and off and does not require the use of a screw.) Inside will be three or four wires. These wires should be screwed tightly to their connections. Check each connection and tighten if needed.

Now, test your phone line again for the presence of static noise. If the problem still exists, the jack may still be faulty or the connection on the outside of your house could be faulty.

To replace the jack, disconnect the three or four wires from their prospective screwed-in connections. Then remove the screw that holds the base plate of the jack onto the baseboard. To install the new jack, attach the new baseplate to the baseboard using the screw. Reconnect the wires and replace the cover.

No matter what problem might occur with your phone system, the three basic things to check are the phone lines and cords, the telephones themselves, and the jacks. Jacks are not expensive to purchase, and, as shown by the instructions above, they are quite easy to install. Lines and cords are not costly either and can be purchased at your local electronics store. If your telephone is faulty and it was not costly in the first place, you would probably be wise to simply replace the entire unit. However, if you have one of the more expensive models of phones, you might want to have it repaired in order to try and save money.