Rewiring a home can seem like a daunting task, but with proper planning and precautions, it is possible for a dedicated DIYer to complete basic rewiring projects. As someone who has successfully rewired several rooms in my home, I want to share my knowledge to help other novice DIYers understand the process and avoid potential hazards.

Is Rewiring Without an Electrician Legal and Safe?

Before diving in, it's important to check your local electrical codes to ensure DIY rewiring is allowed in your area. Some municipalities require electrical work to be completed by a licensed professional. I found that basic like-for-like rewiring, such as replacing old outlets and switches, is often permitted but larger projects like rewiring an entire home may require a permit and inspection.

Safety should be your top priority. Electricity can be extremely dangerous if wiring is not handled properly. Make sure to educate yourself on electrical systems, turn off power at the breaker before working, and use appropriate safety gear. If you are uncomfortable completing any part of the rewiring on your own, hire an electrician to avoid hazards.

Gather the Required Materials and Tools

Rewiring requires using the correct materials and tools for the job. For most basic rewiring projects, you'll need:

I also recommend having a good electrician's book on hand as a reference guide.

Turn Off Power at the Breaker

Before touching any wiring, you need to shut off the power at the main breaker panel. I like to turn off the main breaker to be extra safe.

Use a non-contact voltage tester to double check that power is off at the circuit you'll be working on. Test wires by touching the tester near, but not directly on, any exposed wires. The tester light should not illuminate if power is safely off.

Remove Old Wiring

With the power off, you can start removing any outdated wiring. Take pictures as you work to remember where each wire was originally placed. Make note of which wires are hot, neutral and ground.

Cut back old wires so they do not make contact with any new wiring. Try to pull wires out of boxes rather than cutting them when possible. I prefer to use a non-contact voltage tester again on all wires before touching them directly - safety first!

Run New Wiring Through Walls

Here is where the convenience of modern NM (non-metallic) sheathed wiring comes in handy. Use fish tape to easily route new wiring through walls without having to cut large holes.

Take care not to staple over any portion of the wire - only place staples on the outer sheathing.

Connect Wiring at Outlets and Switches

With the wiring now run, we can focus on the actual connections. Consult your reference guide to determine where hot, neutral and ground wires should be placed.

Wrap wires clockwise around screw terminals and tighten firmly to secure connections. Cover all wiring boxes and junction points securely.

Return Power and Test Circuit

You're almost finished! When everything is connected properly, turn the main breaker back on. Turn on lights and test outlets to make sure everything is working correctly. If something isn't working, flip the breaker back off and check your connections.

It's very rewarding seeing that new circuit operating safely with wiring I installed myself. Just take your time, follow safety precautions, and consult professional advice whenever needed. You can totally DIY basic home rewiring as long as you do your research. Eventually, with enough practice, you’ll be able to handle more advanced electrical projects on your own too!