How to Rewire Your Home Without an Electrician and Not Burn it Down

Assess Your Electrical Needs

Before attempting any electrical work, take stock of what needs to be rewired in my home. Make a list of all the outlets, switches, and fixtures that need upgrading or replacing. Knowing the full scope of the project will help me plan accordingly. Pay special attention to areas where the wiring is outdated or substandard. Older homes often need complete rewiring due to insufficient amperage and outdated wiring methods.

Research Local Electrical Codes

It's crucial to understand the electrical code requirements for my area. Most jurisdictions follow the National Electrical Code (NEC), but may have additional local amendments. Review the code to determine the correct wire gauges, outlet spacing, required GFCIs, and other standards I'll need to follow. Ignoring code requirements creates serious safety hazards. I can usually find my local electrical code online or at the building department.

Purchase the Right Materials

Make a list of all the wiring supplies I'll need, such as:

Buy extras of commonly used items like boxes and cable. It's better to overestimate than run out halfway through a project. Having the right materials makes the rewiring process much simpler.

Turn Off Power at the Breaker Box

Before touching any wiring, shut off all the power at the main breaker. Then, verify power is off by turning on lights and appliances. Working on live wiring can cause severe electric shock, so this step is critical. Also, turn off individual breakers as I rewire each circuit. I should never restore main power until all work is complete.

Remove Existing Wiring

To begin rewiring, I first need to remove old wires from the walls and ceiling. Take down any drywall necessary to access the wiring. Cut back old wires outside of boxes and conduit to fully remove them. Also, pull wires out of conduit to prepare for the new wiring. Dispose of old wires properly as I remove them.

Install New Outlet and Switch Boxes

With open access to framing, install new electrical boxes wherever outlets, switches or fixtures will be located. Follow code for proper box type and placement. Secure boxes directly to studs or joists. Mark each box clearly for its planned purpose (e.g. “Outdoor outlet”).

Run New Wires

Now I can run my new wiring through the walls and ceiling. Start by cutting NM cables to length. Allow extra length for mistakes and future changes. Run wires from the panel to each box, securing with staples every 4.5 feet. Use electrical conduit for exposed runs. Follow the electrical code for proper wire gauge and other requirements.

Connect Switches and Outlets

With wiring in place, I can connect my new devices. Start at the outlet boxes. Strip insulation, then connect hot, neutral and ground wires properly using wire nuts. Pay close attention to polarity. Install outlets into boxes. Repeat for light switches, hardwiring them to power and light cables. Double check all connections before restoring power.

Label and Install Breakers

At the electrical panel, install new circuit breakers for each new circuit. Properly label the breakers according to use (e.g. “Kitchen outlets”). Breakers prevent overloads and allow shutting off power to individual circuits. With the panel ready, main power can be restored.

Test All Circuits Thoroughly

With everything wired, test every outlet, switch and light to verify proper operation. Check for open neutral and ground connections, which are a fire hazard. It's better to identify mistakes now instead of after closing up walls. Fix any wiring errors. Contact an electrician if I have difficulty troubleshooting problems.

Inspect and Close Up

With a licensed electrician, have the work inspected before concealing it in drywall. Make any corrections noted. When everything passes inspection, I can reinstall drywall and other finishes. The final step is having the completed rewiring inspected again to receive approval. Now I can enjoy my newly rewired home!