How to Rewire Your Home Without an Electrician (And Why You Should)


Rewiring a home can seem like a daunting task, but with proper planning and precautions, it's possible for a homeowner to rewire their house without hiring an electrician. There are several reasons why you may want to consider rewiring your home yourself:

Cost Savings

Hiring an electrician to rewire a home can be very expensive, often costing thousands of dollars. Doing it yourself can save you a significant amount of money on labor costs.


Rewiring the home yourself allows you to fully customize the job to your needs and preferences. You can choose where to place outlets and switches, how to route the wiring, and select your preferred materials.

Learning Experience

While challenging, rewiring a home is a great learning experience. You'll gain valuable electrical skills and a deeper understanding of your home's electrical system. This knowledge can help you with future electrical projects and repairs.

However, I don't recommend rewiring your entire home by yourself as a first electrical project. Start with smaller tasks like installing a new light fixture to gain experience before taking on a full rewiring.

Is Rewiring a Home DIY Possible?

Before deciding to rewire your home, the first question you should ask is: is this a DIY project I can realistically take on? Here are some key factors to consider:

If you carefully weigh these factors and are confident in your electrical abilities, then rewiring all or part of your home DIY-style can certainly be tackled. But if you have any doubts, call a professional. Safety should be the #1 priority.

Dangers of Home Electrical Work

Before you start any electrical project, it's important to understand the potential dangers and safety risks involved:

Working on electrical wiring without proper training also risks:

Safety should always be the top priority when working on any residential electrical project. Take precautions, power off circuits, and consider hiring a professional if the work is beyond your skill level.

How to Prepare for a DIY Rewiring Project

If you've weighed the risks and are set on DIY rewiring, following these steps will help you prepare for a safe, successful project:

1. Turn Off Power

The first step is to turn off all power to the home's electrical system. Locate the main breaker in the service panel and switch it to the "Off" position. Then, turn off any sub breakers. Verify power is off by testing outlets with a multimeter or voltage tester.

2. Learn Electrical Basics

At a minimum, you'll need to understand basic electrical terms and theory like:

Study electrical books, watch online tutorials, or take a class to build this baseline knowledge. Thoroughly understand all concepts before beginning work.

3. Review Building Codes

Your local jurisdiction has adopted building codes that specify how electrical work must be performed. Review your local electrical code and permit requirements. Some key areas to research:

4. Assemble Proper Tools

Rewiring requires using a variety of electrical tools. Assemble key tools like:

Having the right tools for the job will make the rewiring process much easier. Buy quality products designed for electrical work.

5. Purchase Electrical Supplies

You'll need new wires, outlets, breakers, junction boxes, and other parts to rewire the home. Audit your existing electrical system to determine exactly what supplies you'll require. Stick to products approved for residential wiring like:

Research your wiring material options and buy everything you anticipate needing for the full project scope. This will prevent delays caused by missing supplies.

Proper planning and preparation will set you up for success. Don't cut corners on safety.

How to Safely Shut Off Power to Rewire Circuits

When rewiring home circuits, the first crucial step is to safely shut off power so you can work without getting shocked. Here is the recommended process:

Turn Off Main Breaker

Locate the master circuit breaker that controls power to your entire electrical panel. Set it to the "off" position to disconnect power from the main service wires.

Verify Power is Off

With the main breaker off, check nearby outlets with a non-contact voltage tester. Make sure it doesn't detect any live voltage. Also check the individual breakers - they should all be off.

Turn Off Sub Breakers

Even with the main disconnected, some hardwired appliances may still have live power. Turn off all sub breakers to isolate those circuits.

Disconnect Appliances

Unplug any remaining appliances like refrigerators and freezers so they do not turn on unexpectedly when you energize wires during the rewiring process.

Post Warning Signs

Post signs like "DO NOT TURN ON - WIRING WORK IN PROGRESS" on the electrical panel and in the work area to prevent accidental electrocution from someone turning on power.

Test Wires Before Working

Before touching any wires, always re-verify they are not live using a non-contact voltage tester. Check wires even if you think the power is off.

By methodically de-energizing the entire system, you can undertake wiring projects safely without risk of shock. Work cautiously and do not restore power until all work is complete.

How to Run New Wiring in Walls and Ceilings

Running new wiring through walls and ceilings is one of the most common rewiring tasks. Here are some tips to do it safely and neatly:

Plan the Wiring Route

Drill Access Holes

Fish Wires Through Walls

Staple Cables Securely

Label Wire Ends

Avoid Overfilling Walls

Seal Access Holes

Follow building codes for proper wire types, supports, and installation methods. Take time to do it right.

How to Install Electrical Boxes and Make Connections

Once wiring is routed, you need to properly install electrical boxes and make safe connections:

1. Mount New Outlet Boxes

2. Connect Wires to Terminals

3. Use Wire Nuts for Splices

4. Install Box Connectors

5. Verify Grounding

6. Check Box Fill Requirements

7. Affix Cover Plates

Making solid, well-insulated connections is critical for safety and proper circuit operation. Take it slow and double check your work.

Finishing Touches for a Successful Rewiring Job

You're almost done! Here are some final steps to wrap up your home rewiring project correctly:

Inspect All Work Thoroughly

Replace Insulation and Drywall

Group Wires Neatly in Panel

Update Circuit Labels

Test Each Circuit

Consider Painting

Request Inspections

Taking these finishing steps helps ensure you have a safe, reliable, and good-looking electrical system that will provide many years of trouble-free service.

Final Considerations before a DIY Rewiring Project

While I've outlined the entire process for rewiring a home, this is still an extremely ambitious project to DIY. Before getting started, make sure you:

Your safety is paramount. If you have any doubts or inexperience, hire a licensed electrician to avoid costly and dangerous errors. But if you take precautions and gain skills gradually, rewiring your home DIY-style can be very rewarding.