How to Rewire Your Home Without An Electrician and Save Thousands
Rewiring a home can seem like a daunting task. Most homeowners think it requires hiring an expensive electrician. However, with some basic electrical knowledge and the right tools, you can rewire your home safely and legally without an electrician and save thousands of dollars.
I recently rewired my entire house on my own over several weekends. Here is how I did it and how you can too.
Reasons to Rewire Without an Electrician
Here are some of the main reasons I chose to rewire my home myself:
Hiring an electrician to rewire a home can cost $10,000 or more. I was able to rewire my entire house for less than $2,000 in materials. That's a savings of over $8,000.
Gain Valuable Electrical Skills
By doing the work myself, I learned so much about electrical systems, wiring methods, and safety procedures. These skills will help me be more knowledgeable and self-sufficient for all future electrical projects.
Customize the Rewiring
Electricians typically do the minimum amount of work required. By doing it myself, I was able to add extra circuits, better organize the wiring, and upgrade certain elements like the electrical panel.
Enjoy a Sense of Accomplishment
It was deeply satisfying to complete such a major DIY home project successfully. I gained confidence in my abilities and now know I can tackle ambitious electrical projects.
How to Learn Electrical Basics
Before beginning a rewiring project, you need to educate yourself on residential electrical systems. Here are some ways I learned what I needed to know:
Take electrician courses online - Many websites like Udemy offer electrician certification courses for DIYers. These provide comprehensive overviews of key concepts.
Read DIY electrical books - Books like Wiring a House by Rex Cauldwell helped me understand the steps involved in residential rewiring.
Watch YouTube tutorials - There are countless wiring tutorials on YouTube. Watching them helps visualize the hands-on work.
Review electrical codes - NEC, NFPA 70, and local electrical codes dictate proper wiring methods. Studying them ensures you do it to code.
The more time you spend learning in advance, the smoother your rewiring project will go. Don't skimp on the research phase!
Creating a Rewiring Plan
After building your electrical knowledge, next create a detailed plan for the rewiring project:
- Make an itemized list of all tasks involved
- Determine the order the work should be done in
- Calculate precisely what materials and tools you need
- Budget for all expenses
- Decide if you'll need help for certain parts of the job
Having a solid plan prevents having to make multiple trips to the hardware store and reduces mistakes. I spent several weeks mapping out every aspect of the rewiring before starting.
Obtaining the Right Tools and Materials
Rewiring a house requires having the correct tools and materials on hand. Here are some of the essentials I purchased:
- Basic hand tools - screw drivers, wire strippers, needle nose pliers, etc.
- Voltage tester - for safely checking wires
- Clamp meter - for troubleshooting circuits
- Cable ripper - for removing old wiring
- Junction boxes, receptacles, breakers, wire, conduit, etc.
Buy commercial-grade materials made for permanent installs, not cheap contractor packs. For materials, I created a detailed spreadsheet so I knew exactly how much of everything to buy.
Safety should be your top priority. Here are some key safety steps:
- Turn off power at the main breaker - Use a non-contact voltage tester to doubly ensure it's off
- Wear personal protective equipment - Especially safety glasses and work gloves
- Work with a partner - Have someone else present in case an emergency arises
- Confirm all wiring is dead - Check with a multimeter before touching any wires
Proceeding cautiously and deliberately helped me avoid electrical shocks, falls, cuts, and other hazards. Never rush or take risky shortcuts - it's just not worth endangering your safety.
Step-by-Step Rewiring Process
The general process I followed to rewire my home room-by-room was:
- Turn off power and install temporary lighting
- Remove old wiring, receptacles, switches, etc.
- Plan new circuit layouts as needed
- Install new electrical panel if required
- Run new wiring and conduit
- Install new receptacles, switches, fixtures
- Terminate wires at panel
- Turn power back on and test circuits
- Add finishes like insulation, drywall, trim
- Obtain final inspection
It took me 6 full weekends to complete the rewire of my 2,000 sq ft home. Expect it to be a slow, methodical process if done properly.
Calling for Inspections
After completing the rewiring, local building codes require having it inspected before turning the power back on. The inspector will check for:
- Proper wire types and ratings
- Adequate wire sizes for loads
- Proper grounding and bonding
- Compliant wiring methods
- Safe installation of devices
I was nervous, but the inspector passed my DIY rewiring with flying colors. Don't skip permitting and inspections, even if you're doing the work yourself.
Helpful Rewiring Tips
Here are some helpful tips I learned from my firsthand experience:
- Label everything clearly - Makes troubleshooting easier later
- Take photos before removing old wiring - Helps replicate original layouts if needed
- Only open walls and ceilings as necessary - Minimizes repairs later
- Seal outdoor wire penetrations - Prevents moisture and pests from entering
- Use nail plates when securing wires - Avoids accidental punctures
- Confirm neutral and ground bars are separated at the panel - Critical safety requirement!
While rewiring a house is very ambitious, it can successfully be DIYed if you educate yourself, create a solid plan, use extreme caution, and get proper inspections. I saved thousands of dollars, gained invaluable skills, and improved my home's electrical safety. With vigilance and persistence, you can rewire your house without an electrician too. Let me know if you have any other questions!