Rewiring a home can seem like 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 successfully rewired my home without electrocuting myself or burning down the house, I want to share my experience and advice to help you do the same.

Understanding Electrical Basics Before Rewiring

Before tackling a rewiring project, it's important to understand some electrical basics so you can work safely. Here are some key things I learned:

Electricity and Circuit Breakers

Current, Amps, and Wire Gauge

Grounding and GFCIs

Gathering the Right Rewiring Supplies

Before I started rewiring, I made sure I had all the necessary supplies. Having the right tools and materials on hand made the project go much more smoothly. Here are the key supplies I recommend having:

Having all of these supplies ready ensured that I didn't get stuck without something I needed during the rewiring process.

Creating a Rewiring Plan

Before starting any rewiring, it's crucial to have a detailed plan in place. I made a home electrical plan that included:

Taking time to make a thorough plan allowed the rewiring itself to go much more efficiently. I could follow my plan step-by-step instead of just winging it.

Shutting Off Power and Removing Old Wiring

Once I had my rewiring plan ready, I was ready to get started. The first steps were:

  1. Shut off all power at the main breaker. I also turned off individual breakers and unplugged appliances just to be safe. You can never be too cautious when electricity is involved.

  2. I used a voltage tester to double check there was no live power anywhere before touching any wires. Better safe than fried!

  3. Next I removed all the old electrical fixtures - outlets, switches, light fixtures.

  4. I was then ready to take out the old wires. I unwired them from the breakers and pulled them out of the walls. Tugging on the wires helped dislodge the old staples.

These initial steps created a blank slate for the new wiring. But first, an extremely important safety step:

Calling the Electrical Inspector

Before going any further, I set up an inspection with my local building department. I informed them I was rewiring my home as a DIY project.

Having the electrical inspector review my plans and issue a permit ensured:

Doing this before starting saved me from potential headaches down the road. I highly recommend contacting your local building department and getting a permit before a major rewiring project.

Running New Wires and Circuits

With my plans approved, I proceeded to run all the new wires.

Wiring Best Practices

Adding New Circuits

In addition to replacing the old wiring, I took the opportunity to add some new circuits:

Adding these new circuits took a bit more work upfront, but makes the house much better wired for my needs.

Installing New Outlets, Switches and Fixtures

Once all the wires were run, it was time to install the fun stuff:

Taking care during this step to do things right made the finished product look great and everything function properly.

Having the Electrical Inspector Confirm Safety

With everything wired up, I called the inspector back out for the final approval.

The inspector checked:

Getting the inspector's green light was a huge relief and assurance that everything was safe and sound. I can now relax knowing my home's electrical system has been overhauled properly.

Maintaining Home Electrical Safety

While a major rewiring project takes lots of planning and effort, maintaining electrical safety in your home is an ongoing process. Here are a few tips:

Following these tips, along with having modern, well-installed wiring, will help keep your home's electrical system running safely for years to come.

In Closing

Rewiring a home without an electrician is indeed achievable, but also requires diligent planning, extreme care, and strict adherence to electrical codes and safety practices. If this seems beyond your skill level, hiring a licensed electrician is money well spent to ensure safety. But with the right preparations, materials, and inspections, a major DIY rewiring project can save thousands of dollars and leave you with modern, robust electrical wiring good for decades to come. Just be sure to plan thoroughly, get proper permits, double check your work, and never take shortcuts when dealing with the powers of electricity!