I have decided to take on the daunting task of rewiring my home without hiring a professional electrician. As risky and difficult as this project may seem, with the right precautions and preparations, it is possible for a homeowner to safely rewire their house on their own. Here is my guide on how I plan to rewire my home without electrocuting myself in the process.

Understanding Home Wiring Systems

Before beginning any electrical project, it is crucial that I fully understand the electrical wiring system in my home. This ensures I can plan my rewiring project appropriately and avoid any safety hazards.

The Main Electrical Service Panel

The electrical service panel, commonly known as the breaker box, is the central hub of a home's electrical system. This panel controls and distributes electricity from the main power lines to all the branch circuits in the home. I need to study my service panel carefully to determine the circuit breaker amperages and what rooms/appliances they control.

Branch Circuits

Branch circuits carry electricity from the main panel to outlets, lights, and appliances throughout the home. Older homes generally have fewer branch circuits than newer constructions. Rewiring will involve installing new breakers and running new wire for additional branch circuits.

Electrical Wiring Types

There are three main types of electrical wiring I may encounter:

Identifying the wiring types will inform my rewiring plans.

Safety Gear and Tools

Electrical work presents a real hazard of electrocution. I need to invest in the proper safety gear and tools to protect myself.

Personal Protective Equipment

These safety items are essential:

Insulated Tools

I need insulated screwdrivers, pliers, and wire strippers that won't conduct electricity to the user. High quality insulated tools are worth the investment for safety.

Voltage Tester

This indispensable device will detect live powerlines inside walls and ensure circuits are dead before I work on them. I will test wires with a non-contact voltage tester before touching any connections.

Other Essential Tools

Planning the Rewiring Project

Careful planning is crucial to execute a full home rewiring successfully.

Turn Off Main Power Supply

Before any work, I will shut off the main breaker and disconnect the power supply from outside. I must double check with a voltage tester that all wiring is dead. Working on live wires could be fatal.

Circuit Mapping

I need to map all existing circuits and outlets in the home. This involves labeling each circuit at the breaker box and receptacles to understand existing connections. Proper mapping will simplify the rewiring.

Develop Wiring Plan

Based on circuit mapping, I can strategize my rewiring approach:

Calculate Electrical Load

I must calculate my home's electrical load requirements to determine if the existing service panel is sufficient, or if upgrades are needed. This involves factoring in all lights, outlets, and appliances on each circuit.

Obtain Necessary Permits

My local building department requires permits for home electrical work. I'll need to apply for the proper permits before starting my project.

Running New Wiring

The process of physically running new wires through the home comprises most of the project labor.

Follow Safety Rules

I will work slowly and take all precautions:

Mount New Breaker Box

If I've opted to replace the main service panel, the new 200 amp breaker box will need to be securely mounted to studs.

Cut Access Holes

I'll cut small holes through drywall at strategic points to route new wiring between rooms. Holes should line up with wall studs to secure wires.

Fish Wires

I'll use fish tape to pull bundled new wires through walls and ceilings between access holes. Carefully feed wires to avoid snags.

Secure Wires

Cables staplers will be used to tack wiring tightly to wall studs and joists for safety and stability. Staple wires every 1 to 2 feet.

Connect Switches and Outlets

With power still off, I can connect new wires to all outlets, switches, and light fixtures. Use wire nuts to join circuit wires.

Label All Wires

Correct labeling at the breaker panel and all junctions is vital to avoid mix-ups. I'll mark all new wires clearly.

Wrapping Up the Project

Once all new wires are installed and connected properly, I can finish this major project.

Close Up Walls

With wiring complete, I'll secure wires and close up all access holes in walls with drywall compound for a seamless look.

Test Circuits

It's critical to methodically test each new circuit one at a time for proper operation once power is restored. I'll verify each outlet is wired correctly and troubleshoot any issues.

Update Electrical Records

For future reference, I'll document all new wiring additions on an electrical plan of the home. Photos of the finished panel are also wise.

Call for Inspection

My final step is arranging an inspection of the new wiring by the local building department. They will ensure all work meets code requirements before signing off.

Rewiring an entire home is a challenging DIY project, but also very rewarding. By educating myself on electrical systems, using extreme caution, and methodically planning the project, I can take on rewiring my house without an electrician. Paying close attention to safety is key so that I don't become a shocking statistic. With diligence and care, I can reap the benefits of updated wiring without electrocuting myself in the process.