How to Rewire Your Entire Home Without an Electrician on a Budget


Rewiring a home can seem like a daunting task, but with some planning, patience, and basic electrical skills, it is possible to rewire your entire house without hiring an electrician. I recently went through this process in my own home, and learned a lot along the way. In this guide, I will walk through all the key steps I took to successfully rewire my home room-by-room on a budget.

Gather Tools and Materials

The first step is assembling all the necessary tools and materials. Here is what you will need:

Many of these items you may already have in your home. Buy only what you need for your specific project. I was able to purchase most of my supplies from the local hardware store.

Turn Off Power and Remove Old Wiring

Safety should always come first when dealing with electrical work. Before removing any wiring, turn off all the circuit breakers in the home's main service panel. Test that the power is off by using a non-contact voltage tester on any outlet or bare wire.

Once you have confirmed the power is off, you can start detaching the existing wires from outlets, switches and light fixtures. Carefully pull the wires out of the boxes, removing each receptacle and switch along the way. As you detach the wires, be sure to label them according to which room they were located in so you can properly reconnect them later.

If reusing any parts of the existing wiring system, inspect them to determine if they are worth salvaging or should be replaced. Very old wiring with cracked, brittle insulation should be completely replaced.

Plan Your New Wiring Circuits

Before running any new wires, you'll want to strategically map out your new circuit layout. Consider how many rooms or areas will be included in each circuit, and how much load they will carry. Follow your local electrical code requirements for the maximum amperage and number of outlets allowed per circuit.

Here are some guidelines as you plan your circuits:

Also factor in any large appliances like stoves, dryers and air conditioners. These often require their own dedicated 20 amp circuits.

Make sure your overall number of planned circuits matches the number of breaker spots available in your home's service panel. It helps to draw up a wiring diagram to visualize the circuit routes.

Run New Wiring through Walls and Ceilings

With your circuit plan ready, you can now start running the new wires throughout the house. In unfinished basements or attics, you can staple or clip the Romex wiring directly to exposed framing. Drill holes through wall studs and floor joists to feed the wiring between floors.

For finished walls, carefully cut out strips of drywall to create paths for running wires inside. Use metal conduit to protect any exposed wire spans. Follow your wiring diagram, pulling multiple wire lines through each path. Leave some extra length at the ends to work with.

Be sure to use appropriate NM-B wire gauges - 12 gauge for 20 amp circuits and 14 gauge for 15 amp circuits. The thicker 12 gauge wire is more expensive but necessary for high draw circuits.

Connect Wiring to Outlets and Switches

With all the wiring pulled, you can now make connections. Start by mounting new electrical boxes at each outlet, switch and fixture location. Secure the incoming and outgoing wires with cable clamps.

Use wire strippers to remove 3/4" of insulation from each wire end. For outlets, connect the black (hot) wires together along with the white (neutral) wires. Connect the ground wires to the green screw on each receptacle. Twist on a wire nut to secure each connection.

For switches, connect the incoming hot wire to the common terminal. Connect the other hot wire to either the top or bottom terminal to match the desired switching setup. Ground the switch the same way as the outlets.

Follow your wiring diagram to ensure every wire ends up in the correct location. When done, gently fold the wires into the boxes keeping connections tight and secure.

Attach Devices and Covers

Mount each outlet and switch into its box, then screw on the cover plates. Repeat this for light fixtures, connecting incoming wires to the fixture wires.

Go back through and double check all connections are tight and insulated properly with no exposed copper. Short circuits can happen if bare wires make contact.

Connect Circuits at the Service Panel

The final stage is connecting your new circuit wires to the main breaker panel. Shut off the main before working inside the panel. Attach the wire ends to the breakers, matching the amperage rating for each circuit.

Neatly organize the wires running into the service panel. Label the breakers clearly for reference down the line. Once everything looks wired correctly, turn the main breaker back on to power up your new circuits!

Safety Tips

Rewiring a house yourself does take extreme care and caution. Here are some key safety reminders:

While challenging, rewiring a house without an electrician is very doable for a motivated DIYer. Just take things slow, exercise caution, and don't be afraid to ask questions along the way. Done right, you can have a completely rewired home on a budget.