Rewiring an old farmhouse can be daunting, but with proper precautions it can be done safely. As the owner of a 1850s farmhouse myself, I have learned the hard way how to update the wiring without catastrophic fires or electrocutions. Safety must come first when working with outdated electrical systems. In this guide, I will walk you step-by-step through assessing the current wiring, creating a plan, pulling permits, and executing the rewire while ** avoiding common mistakes**. With the right precautions, you can modernize your farmhouse wiring safely.

Assessing Your Current Wiring

The first step is understanding what you are working with. Here are some key steps:

Visual Inspection

Circuit Mapping

Smoke and Heat Checks

Thoroughly understanding the existing system helps develop a tailored rewiring plan while identifying immediate hazards to address.

Creating a Rewiring Plan

With assessment complete, you can create a rewiring plan:

Prioritize Hazards

Design Circuit Layout

Select Wire Gauge and Materials

Include Extra Capacity

Develop a Schedule

Having a clearly documented plan makes executing the rewire much smoother and safer.

Pulling Electrical Permits

Check with your local building department on permit requirements before starting work. Electrical permits are required in most areas for significant rewiring.

Reasons Permits Are Important

Information Needed

When applying for the permit, you'll need:

Don't skip permitting - it protects you during the rewire and preserves your options when selling the home.

Executing the Rewire Safely

With planning and permits complete, it is time to do the careful rewiring of your farmhouse. Follow these best practices during the work:

Turn Off Power and Verify

Disconnect and Remove Old Wiring

Install New Wiring

Connect and Turn On Circuits One by One

Get Final Inspection

Follow proper precautions and you can achieve a safe, modern wiring system in your classic farmhouse without catastrophes along the way.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

It's easy to make missteps when rewiring an old home. Avoid these common mistakes:

Planning thoroughly, following electrical code, using caution around wires, and getting professional oversight via permits goes a long way to preventing disasters.

Tips for Success

Here are a few final tips to help your old farmhouse rewiring project go smoothly:

Stay organized and patient - rewiring is a major project but very rewarding when finished. Your improved electrical system will meet your needs safely for decades to come.


Rewiring an antique farmhouse takes research, planning and caution. But with proper safety practices, permits, and help from professionals when needed, you can modernize your wiring without any fiery mishaps. Take things slowly, check your work, and your home will go from circuitous knob and tube wiring to a modern, safe electrical system. Enjoy your updated farmhouse for years to come!