Rewiring a home can be an intimidating and expensive project, but it doesn't have to be. In this article, I will walk you through a little-known technique that allowed me to completely rewire my home and save thousands in the process.
Assess Your Current Wiring
Before deciding to rewire, the first step is to thoroughly assess the current electrical system in your home. Look for:
- Knob and tube wiring - This outdated wiring from the 1920s is a fire hazard. It must be replaced.
- Aluminum wiring - Problematic and dangerous, aluminum wiring should be inspected and possibly replaced.
- Insufficient grounding wires - Modern wiring standards require full grounding for safety.
- Small gauge wire sizing - Outdated wiring is usually too small for modern electrical usage.
Signs of problems
- Frequent tripped breakers - This indicates overloaded circuits.
- Flickering lights - Can signal an unsafe wiring issue.
- Outlets feeling warm - A potentially dangerous warning sign.
- Buzzing from switches/outlets - Indicates problems with connections.
- Exposed wires - Any exposed wires are very unsafe and need to be fixed asap.
- Improper connections - Shoddy connections can cause fires and shocks.
- Water/pest damage - Rodents and water can damage wires, causing big issues.
If any hazardous wiring is found, it likely means a total rewire will be required.
Research Local Electricians
While a total rewire is a huge project, hiring an electrician to do everything is extremely expensive. The key money-saving technique is to do the demolition work yourself, and then hire an electrician for the actual wiring installation.
- Contact 3-5 local licensed electricians to provide quotes for a full rewire job.
- Get quotes for both labor and materials so you know the full price.
- Ask what their rates are for just doing installation if you provide the materials. This will be key for savings.
- Verify they are fully licensed and insured.
- Ask for references from past whole home rewire jobs.
- Look for experienced electricians who are knowledgeable about both old and new electrical code requirements.
- Compare both their labor rates and material quotes.
- You can likely source the materials like wiring, breakers, and outlets yourself for cheaper.
- Just having the electrician handle the skilled installation labor will result in big savings.
Demo and Prepare for Rewire
Doing the demolition work yourself can save tens of thousands vs paying an electrician for it.
Shut off main breaker
- Important first step for safety - shut off the main breaker so all power is off.
Remove old wiring
- Strip all the outdated wiring out of the walls, attic, and ceilings yourself.
- Also remove old electrical boxes, fixtures, switches and outlets.
- Wear proper safety gear when demolishing.
- Open up walls, ceilings, and floors to expose the full run of where new wiring will be routed.
- Plan wiring runs for efficiency.
- Exposure allows the electrician easy access for new wiring installation.
Source new materials
- Based on the electrician's advice, source all the required wiring, boxes, switches, outlets, etc yourself.
- Buying directly will be much cheaper than paying retail markup from the electrician.
Hire Electrician for Install
Now the real savings start - you've saved on demolition costs by doing it yourself, and saved on material costs by buying directly.
Labor only installation
- Hire your chosen electrician for just the labor of installing the new wiring you provide.
- This will likely save you 50% or more compared to quotes for a full rewire.
New wiring basics
- New wiring must meet modern electrical code for safety.
- Using thicker 12 or 10 gauge wiring future proofs for heavier usage.
- Run all new wiring through wall cavities, attics, and basements as needed.
- The electrician will pull all new wiring from the main panel throughout the entire house, installing new electrical boxes, switches and outlets.
- This ensures the entire home meets modern safety standards.
- The electrician will schedule necessary inspections before concealment.
- This ensures proper installation and safety to code standards.
Future Proof Home Wiring
Once the rewire is complete, you'll gain immense peace of mind knowing your home's electrical system is totally modernized for safety and heavy usage.
- New thicker gauge wiring, modern breaker panel, and ample circuits provide capacity for today's electronics and applicances.
- You can easily add new outlets, switches, and fixtures into the future wherever needed.
- No more worries about outdated wiring, fire hazards, electrocution risks, or other dangers from old electrical systems.
- Updating old wiring into a modern electrical system boosts your home's value significantly. Any buyer will appreciate a totally updated system meeting the latest code standards.
By taking on the demolition work yourself and sourcing materials directly, you can save tens of thousands in costs on a needed full home rewire. And you gain invaluable safety, capacity, and value upgrades by modernizing your electrical system. Use this savvy technique for your next rewire project.