Assessing the Electrical System in an Old Home

Before I tackle a major rewiring project in my century old home, I take time to thoroughly assess the existing electrical system. This involves checking the electrical panel to see the type of wiring, noting where outlets and light fixtures are located, and testing circuits to identify any shorts or faulty wiring. I also look for knob and tube wiring which can present fire and electrocution hazards. Making a detailed assessment allows me to formulate a rewiring plan that addresses the specific needs of my home.

Creating a Rewiring Plan and Obtaining Permits

Once I have assessed the electrical system, I draft up a rewiring plan. This includes deciding where to place new outlets and light fixtures, determining what type and gauge of wire to use, and noting any structural changes needed to run wiring. For major rewiring jobs, permits are usually required so I check with my local building department on permit requirements. They can also inform me of any code requirements for wiring old homes. Having a solid plan in place allows the rewiring project to proceed efficiently.

Safety First - Protecting Myself and My Home

I never compromise on safety during a rewiring project. I wear rubber-soled shoes and keep a fire extinguisher and fully charged phone nearby in case of emergencies. I shut off power at the main electrical panel and use a contact voltage tester to check that power is off before working on any circuits. I also have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed throughout the home. Protecting myself and my house is the number one priority!

Securing Electrical Materials

For a whole house rewire, I need a lot of supplies - wire, boxes, outlets, breakers, wire nuts and more. I compare prices at home improvement stores but also check local electrical supply houses for deals on bulk wire. For large orders, I may hire an electrician's assistant to help transport supplies in their work vehicle. I keep materials secure in a locked garage or basement to prevent theft. Having all the necessary electrical supplies on hand allows the project to proceed efficiently.

Running New Wiring and Outlets

The process of installing new wiring and outlets takes time and patience. I start by running new cables through basement, attic, and wall cavities, securing with staples as I go. I am careful to leave extra length at endpoints for making connections. For new outlets, I cut holes in walls using a drywall saw, fish wires into the boxes, and secure with clamps. Outlets are attached to boxes and I connect wires using wire nuts, following proper polarity. I then install wall plates and test each outlet. Running new wiring and outlets throughout the house is one of the most labor intensive parts of the rewiring process.

Installing New Light Fixtures and Switches

In addition to outlets, I install updated light fixtures and switches as part of the rewiring project. For light fixtures, I disconnect and remove the old fixture then install a new electrical box if needed. I run wire from the switch to the fixture location and attach the wires. I install the new light fixture and test to make sure it works properly. For switches, I run new wire from the electrical box to the switch location and connect the wires to the new switch. I install the new switch in the wall and test its operation. Updating all lights and switches improves functionality and the look of the home.

Important Safety Tests and Inspections

Once the new wiring is installed, I perform critical safety tests before turning power back on. I check for exposed wires and faulty connections. I also do insulation resistance testing using a megohmmeter to check for any weakness in the wiring insulation that could lead to shocks and fire hazards. In addition, I have the completed work inspected by the local building department. They check that all wiring is to code. Passing inspection gives me peace of mind that my rewiring project is safe and meets all electrical code requirements. No shortcuts when it comes to safety!

Rewiring a century home is a major undertaking but also very rewarding. By arming myself with electrical knowledge, creating a solid plan, focusing on safety, and taking it step-by-step, I can update my old house wiring and keep my family safe. With patience and persistence, a DIYer can successfully rewire an old home without perishing in the process!