Rewiring your home may seem like a daunting task, but with the right preparation and tools, it can be done in a single weekend. As a homeowner, I was skeptical about taking on such a large project at first. However, with proper planning, safety precautions, and persistence, I was able to completely rewire my 1,500 square foot home in just two days. The task required significant effort but saved me thousands of dollars in electrician fees. Here is a step-by-step guide on how I was able to pull it off.
Before getting started, you need to ensure you have all of the necessary materials. At a minimum, you will need:
- Wire stripper - To strip insulation off wires
- Voltage tester - To check for live wires
- Junction boxes - To connect wires and house fixtures
- Electrical tape - To insulate wires and connections
- Cable staples - To attach wires to studs
- Wire nuts - To join copper wires together
- Electrical wire - Enough to rewire entire home, I used 12/2 NM cable
- Breakers - For electrical panel, match amperage of circuits
You will also need basic safety gear like work gloves, safety goggles, and a dust mask. Having the right tools like a drill, hammer, and ladder can vastly speed up the process as well.
When dealing with electrical wiring, safety should be your top concern. Here are some key safety precautions to take:
- Turn off power at the breaker before starting
- Test wires with a voltage tester to confirm power is off
- Avoid working on live wires whenever possible
- Wear insulating gloves when handling wires
- Never touch bare copper wires together
- Use fiberglass ladder when working on elevated areas
- Work with a partner for safety
With the right gear and safety steps, you are ready to begin rewiring. Here is the process I followed to completely rewire my home:
1. Turn Off Power and Remove Old Wires
The first step is to turn off power at the main breaker panel. Verify it is off by testing outlets with a voltage tester throughout the home. Once confirmed dead, I removed all existing wires from outlets, switches and fixtures. Be sure to photograph wire connections before disconnecting to use as a reference later.
2. Run New Wires from Panel to Outlets
I started by running 14/2 NM cables from the breaker panel to each outlet and switch box. Staple the wires to the studs every few feet for support. Leave several extra feet of wire at the end to work with.
3. Connect Switches, Outlets and Fixtures
With the new wires run to each box, I trimmed the ends and connected sockets, switches and fixtures using screw terminals and wire nuts. Follow diagrams on the devices and verify connections with photos taken earlier.
4. Connect Wires to Breaker Panel
The final step was to run the new wires to the proper breakers in the panel, matching the amperage ratings for each circuit. With all connections made securely, the new wiring was ready to be energized.
5. Turn Power Back On and Test
I turned the main breaker back on and tested each outlet and switch. I also checked for secure connections by feeling for heat on wires and junction boxes. With everything working properly, I replaced the switch plates and outlet covers.
While rewiring an entire home in a weekend requires determination and effort, it can be successfully accomplished. Here were my key results:
- Upgraded from outdated 60 amp to 200 amp electrical service - Provided capacity for future needs
- Added circuits - Improved functionality for appliances and electronics
- Added safety features - GFCI outlets and AFCI breakers
- Saved over $5,000 in electrician fees
- Learned a new skill - Valuable understanding of home electrical systems
While challenging, rewiring my home provided huge rewards. With proper preparation and diligence, determined homeowners can tackle large-scale electrical projects themselves. Just be sure to prioritize safety, research thoroughly, and be ready to work hard.