Rewiring a home can be a daunting task, but with proper planning and safety precautions, it is possible for a homeowner to rewire their house without hiring an electrician. As someone who has rewired my entire home myself, I can provide you with tips and advice to help you get through your rewiring project safely.

Understanding Electrical Systems

Before starting any electrical project, it's important to understand the basics of how home electrical systems work. Here's a quick overview of the key components:

The Main Service Panel

The main service panel, commonly known as the breaker box, is where the power from the utility company enters your home. This panel contains circuit breakers that shut off power to different circuits if they become overloaded. The size of your service panel and the number of available breaker slots will determine how many circuits you can install.

Breakers and Fuses

Breakers and fuses are safety devices. If a circuit gets overloaded, the breaker will trip or the fuse will blow, cutting power to that circuit. When rewiring, it's important not to overload circuits.

Wiring and Connections

Copper wires inside the walls, ceilings, and floors distribute power throughout the home. Good connections between wires are critical for safety. Poor connections can lead to arcing, sparks, and fires.

Outlets, Switches, and Light Fixtures

These are connected to the wiring and distribute electricity for use in the home. Most home electrical systems use 120-volt power.

Grounding and Bonding

Grounding protects you from electrical shock by providing a safe path for electricity to flow to the ground in the event of a fault. All home electrical systems must have proper grounding and bonding.

Dangers of Rewiring Your Home

While rewiring a home without an electrician can save money, there are considerable risks involved:

Safety should be your top priority. If you have any doubts about doing this safely, hiring a licensed electrician is recommended.

How to Rewire a Home Safely

If you understand the basics and take precautions, a DIY electrical rewiring project is manageable. Here are the key steps:

Turn Off Power at the Main Panel

Turning off the main breaker switch ensures power is off to the entire house. Use a contact voltage tester to double check that all wires in the circuit are dead. Lock out the panel and post warning signs so no one turns the power back on unexpectedly.

Identify Problems and Plan the Circuits

Examine your existing wiring to see if it needs to be brought up to code. Check grounding, gauge size, connections etc. Map out a plan for new circuits, and make sure your main panel has enough capacity.

Get Permits and Schedule Inspections

Permits are required for home electrical work in most areas. Research local regulations and get permits before starting. Also schedule inspections of the rough-in and final wiring.

Run New Wires

If the walls are open, run new wires through the framing. For finished walls, carefully cut holes to fish wires between access points. Use the proper wire gauge for each circuit. Keep all wires a safe distance from pipes, ducts etc.

Update Switches, Outlets, and Light Fixtures

Install boxes, conduits, and new fixtures. Follow codes for proper outlet spacing, GFCI outlets near water, switched outlets, etc. Properly connect the wires to switches and outlets.

Connect Circuits at the Panel

Carefully connect the new wires to the appropriate breakers in the main panel. Double check connections are tight.

Close Up and Finish

Patch drywall, add trim, paint etc. to cover up new wires. Make sure installation looks neat and professional.

Testing and Inspections

Test all new fixtures, switches and outlets. Check for loose connections, exposed wires etc. Then have the necessary inspections completed before turning the main power back on.

Tips for Staying Safe

Rewiring an entire home is challenging. Here are some key tips to avoid electrocution or fire:

By taking proper precautions, you can successfully rewire your home. But don't take risks - if you don't feel completely confident, hire an electrician to be safe.

Common Rewiring Projects

Here are some of the most common rewiring projects DIYers take on:

Upgrading the Main Service Panel

Upgrading to a larger panel with more circuit capacity is a common need with older homes. This involves safely disconnecting the old panel, installing a new one, and reconnecting all your home's wiring.

Running New Circuits

Adding circuits for a room addition, garage workshop, or to fix an overloaded electrical system is a major project. But with the right planning it can be DIYed safely.

Installing Ceiling Lights

Hardwired ceiling lights involve running new wiring through attics and cutting into drywall. Take precautions against fire and electrocution hazards.

Rewiring Basement or Garage

These high risk areas are often unfinished, with exposed wires that don't meet code. It's smart to bring the wiring up to standards.

Installing a Backup Generator

Connecting a home backup generator is complex, due to the electrical isolation and switching requirements. Get specialized advice before attempting this.

Upgrading to GFCI Outlets

While swapping in GFCI outlets near water sources is fairly straightforward, take care to connect wires properly.

Installing a Hot Tub or Sauna

Due to complex grounding and GFCI requirements, it's recommended to hire an electrician for hot tub and sauna wiring.

When to Call An Electrician

While many wiring projects can be DIYed, it's best to call in a professional electrician for:

Hiring an electrician is also a good choice if you don't feel 100% confident about safely completing the wiring job yourself. The cost is well worth avoiding the risks of electrocution, fire, or thousands in damage from wiring mistakes.


Rewiring a home without an electrician is doable if you educate yourself, get proper permits, use extreme caution, and prioritize safety. For many projects, hiring a professional makes more sense for safety and code compliance. If you take shortcuts, you risk electrocution, fires, and problems down the road. Do your research, only take on what you're capable of, get inspections, and focus on quality work. With the right precautions, you can take on many wiring projects yourself and save the cost of an electrician. Just be sure you know your limits and never compromise safety.