How to Rewire Your 150 Year Old Home Without Burning it Down

As the proud owner of a 150 year old home, I understand the desire to update the wiring without causing a disaster. Having navigated this process myself, I learned a lot along the way. Here is my guide on how to safely rewire your antique home.

Hire a Professional Electrician

This is not a DIY project for a homeowner. Rewiring a 150 year old home requires extensive knowledge of older electrical systems. I highly recommend hiring a licensed and insured electrician who specializes in old homes. They understand the quirks of antiquated wiring and how to work with those systems.

Some key points on finding the right pro:

Paying a professional is worth it for the expertise and peace of mind.

Complete a Pre-Work Safety Check

Before touching anything, your electrician should thoroughly examine the existing electrical system. This includes:

Safety is the top priority here. If the current wiring is too hazardous, repairs may be needed before a full rewire can safely proceed.

Turn Off Power at the Breaker Box

Rewiring obviously requires all power to be shut off! This often means flipping the main breaker switch that controls the entire electrical system.

However, in a very old home, there may not be a central box with labeled switches. My electrician had to check each room individually to verify all power was off before touching any wires.

If no main breaker exists, I'd recommend installing one during the rewire for improved safety and ease of use.

Remove Old Wiring

Once the system is confirmed dead, the old wiring can be removed. My electrician warned me this process can be tedious and time consuming in an old home. Some challenges we encountered:

Thankfully with proper care, we extracted all the old wiring without destroying my home's historic walls and ceilings. Patience and persistence pays off here.

Install New Wiring

The fun part is finally installing fresh, modern wiring suitable for today's electrical needs.

My electrician:

I also had him install more outlets, switches, and phone/cable ports than originally present. It cost a bit more but was worthwhile for convenience.

Test and Troubleshoot Thoroughly

After the new system was in place, my electrician thoroughly tested each circuit, outlet, switch, and connection before declaring the job complete.

We found a few minor issues that were quickly fixed:

Take the time to meticulously test all aspects and fix any flaws. Monitoring volt meters for expected values verifies proper operation. Don't skimp on checking!

Create Updated Documentation

Throughout the rewiring, my electrician documented all changes made in detail. This included:

He also provided recommended maintenance, safety notices, warranty info, and manuals for my new electrical components.

Having this documentation on hand is invaluable for future work or troubleshooting needs. Don't skip this step!

Stay Vigilant Post-Project

Stepping up my electrical safety measures is vital in my antique tinderbox home. I make sure to:

Staying diligent in monitoring my updated system helps prevent electrical fires. Safety first!

With the right electrician, precautions, and vigilance, rewiring an antique home can be a success. I now have a 21st century electrical system safely tailored for my 19th century home. Take your time, do it right, and you can avoid burning your old house down!