How to Rewire Your Home Without an Electrician and Save Big on Your Energy Bill
Assess Your Electrical Needs
Before I start any major electrical project, I take stock of my home's current electrical system and identify areas for improvement. I look at things like:
The age and condition of my electrical panel - If it's outdated or damaged, a full panel upgrade may be needed.
Number of circuits and outlets in each room - More modern homes usually need more outlets as we use more devices.
Grounded vs ungrounded outlets - Outlets should be 3-prong for safety.
Lighting needs - Incandescent vs LED, motion sensors, dimmers etc.
Major appliances on each circuit - Overloaded circuits can trip breakers.
Future needs - Electric vehicle charger, home office, etc.
I take detailed notes so I can plan upgrades accordingly. Safety is also a top priority, so I fix any loose connections, damaged cords, overheating outlets etc.
Install Additional Circuits and Outlets
Once I identify insufficient circuits or outlets, I can add more. I turn off the main breaker and remove the panel cover to access the wiring. I map out the new circuit path from the panel to the outlets. I choose the right gauge wire based on the amperage rating and length of the run. I also add a new circuit breaker to the panel.
I fish the wires through walls and ceilings, securing them neatly. I terminate the wires at the outlets and connect the ground wires. I install new electrical boxes if needed. I always use cable clamps and anti-oxidant gel on aluminum wire terminations. Once everything is connected securely, I install wall plates and restore power. I test each outlet to ensure proper wiring.
Upgrade the Main Service Panel
Upgrading an outdated electrical panel improves safety and allows adding more circuits. I first determine the required panel amperage based on my home's electrical load. 200 amps is common for modern homes. I also choose between a main circuit breaker panel or a fused disconnect panel.
I purchase the new panel and compatible breakers. With the power off, I remove the old panel and disconnect all the wires. I mount the new panel as per the manufacturer's instructions. I connect the ground and neutral busbars if they aren't pre-installed. I re-install the wires circuit-by-circuit, matching each wire to the right breaker. I ensure tight connections and use anti-oxidant gel when required. I label each circuit clearly. Finally, I energize the panel and test all circuits for faults.
Install Recessed Lighting
Recessed or can lighting is an elegant, unobtrusive way to illuminate any room. I start by checking for plumbing lines or other obstructions in the ceiling that need wiring around. I cut holes for each recessed fixture, ensuring proper spacing. I run wires from the breaker to the fixtures, leaving extra length.
I secure the recessed housings snugly between joists and connect the wires. I screw the can trims tightly into place to sandwich the ceiling. I plug the fixtures together and push them into the housings. Any exposed wiring gets neatly tucked above the joists. I finish by screwing the trim pieces with integrated LED lamps. I test all the fixtures and dimming functionality. Proper planning ensures I achieve the desired lighting effect.
Install Smart Switches and Lighting
Smart lighting gives me greater control over my home's lighting and reduces energy costs. I start by replacing standard switches with smart switches that can be controlled remotely. I follow the wiring diagram and connect the neutral (white), live (black), ground and digital wires. I program the smart app and test the switches.
For smart bulbs, I simply unscrew the old bulbs and install WiFi enabled LED bulbs. I pair them with the app, create lighting groups and automations like motion sensor triggering. I also install battery-powered smart sensors on existing fixtures to make them app-controlled without rewiring. Using smart lighting allows me to easily customize different lighting scenes for convenience and energy savings.
Add240-Volt Circuits for Large Appliances
Many large appliances like dryers, stoves and air conditioners require 240-volt circuits. I identify the 2 hot 120V lines needed, typically using red/black or red/blue wires. I run wire through conduit between the appliance's planned location and the electrical panel. At the panel, I install a two-pole 240V breaker instead of a regular 120V breaker.
I wire the red and black wires to the two hot poles on the breaker. I connect the neutral and ground wires. I terminate the hot wires at the appliance's junction box according to its wiring diagram. Getting the 240V wiring correct is critical for safely operating these high-power appliances. I always double-check the connections and test operation before leaving an appliance energized.
Add a Subpanel for Workshop, Garage or Basement
When wiring a detached building, I run conduit underground to feed wires to a new subpanel containing multiple circuits. I determine the subpanel location and size the conduit for the needed wire runs. I choose appropriate wire types and gauge like THHN for wet areas.
I install grounding rods and bond the subpanel at the ground bar. I connect the hot and neutral wires to the main lugs or main breaker. I install breakers in the subpanel for additional circuits like lighting, outlets and specialized equipment as needed. Proper grounding and bonding are especially important to prevent electric shocks. Done correctly, subpanels allow expanding electrical capacity safely.