Installing and maintaining the electrical wiring in your home can get expensive, but there are ways you can reduce wiring costs by doing some of the work yourself. With some basic knowledge and the right tools, I have been able to significantly cut down on what I pay electricians for home wiring projects.
Here are some of my best DIY tips for reducing wiring costs in your home:
Learn Basic Home Wiring Skills
Before doing any electrical work yourself, it's crucial to learn about basic home wiring methods and safety practices. There are many resources available to teach yourself key skills like:
- How to work with various wiring materials like copper and aluminum
- Electrical safety protocols like wearing insulated gloves
- Using a voltage tester to check for live wires
- Properly handling circuit breakers and junction boxes
- Techniques for splicing wires together securely
- Running new wires through walls and ceilings
I took a weekend wiring workshop at a local home improvement store which covered all of these topics. This gave me the confidence to start tackling some minor wiring projects on my own.
Replace Old Copper Wiring with New Aluminum Wiring
Upgrading the wiring in my home from old copper to new aluminum has been a cost-effective change. The electrician's labor costs were much lower since I provided all the high-quality aluminum wire myself, purchased at a supply store.
This wiring upgrade also qualified me for insurance discounts, since aluminum wiring is less prone to problems like arcs and sparks. And installing thicker aluminum wiring has reduced voltage drop issues in my home.
Install Your Own Additional Circuits and Outlets
When I needed to add new lighting circuits and power outlets in certain rooms, I opted to do parts of the installation work myself to avoid electrician markup costs.
For example, I dug the trenching needed for an outdoor lighting circuit myself and installed some of the new receptacles and switch boxes, while hiring an electrician to handle the specialized electrical panel and wiring connections.
If you have basic wiring skills, installing new circuits and outlets yourself where feasible can result in major cost savings on labor. Just be sure to pull any required electrical permits first.
Shop Around for Cheaper Wiring Supplies
I’ve found that shopping around is key to getting the best deals on wiring supplies for DIY home projects. Big box stores are convenient but often charge premium prices.
Visiting multiple electrical supply houses allowed me to find bulk deals on wire, outlets, breakers, and other parts I needed for upgrades. I also check online sources regularly, where retailers often offer special deals.
Buying wiring supplies at wholesale prices leaves me more money to spend on the professional labor for specialized tasks that I don’t attempt on my own.
Consider Lower-Cost Wiring Methods
For some projects, you can reduce wiring expenses by using more affordable installation methods. For example:
- Surface-mounted wiring may cost less labor than re-wiring inside walls
- Wireless controls can avoid the need to run new switch wires
- Extension cords can provide temporary power without running new circuits
Evaluating alternative wiring methods like these for certain uses can yield major cost savings over traditional wiring approaches.
Hire Electricians Only for Complex Tasks
As mentioned above, I try to handle straightforward wiring tasks like installing boxes and running cables myself, while hiring pros to make the actual high-voltage connections at the circuit breaker panel and devices.
Most electricians charge hourly, so keeping them focused on the complex aspects of the job that require their expertise and credentials keeps the labor costs down.
I also avoid peak HVAC seasons when electricians are very busy, allowing me to get cheaper service rates.
It's absolutely essential to prioritize safety with any DIY electrical work. Wiring mistakes can lead to fires, electrocution, and other dangers.
If you have any doubts about whether you can safely perform a particular wiring task yourself, it's best to hire a licensed electrician. Paying a pro is worthwhile to avoid risks.
I hope these DIY tips help you discover opportunities to reduce the costs of electrical wiring projects around your own home. Let me know if you have any other savvy tricks for wiring savings!