Rewiring a home can seem like a daunting task, but with the right preparation and safety precautions, it is possible for a homeowner to rewire their house without hiring an electrician or obtaining permits. While complex rewiring jobs are best left to professionals, smaller projects like installing new light fixtures or switches can be managed by an ambitious DIYer. This article will provide a step-by-step guide to rewiring your home safely and legally.

When Rewiring Without a Permit is Allowed

Before embarking on any rewiring project, it's important to understand when permits are required. In most cases, minor electrical work like replacing switches and outlets does not require a permit. Here are some examples of electrical projects that can legally be done without permits:

However, more complex projects like upgrading an electrical panel, running new wiring through walls and ceilings, or adding new high-voltage circuits will require permits. Check your local building codes to determine exactly what is allowed without permits in your area. Proceeding without permits on projects that require them could lead to fines or issues when selling your home.

Safety Precautions

When taking on a DIY rewiring project, safety should always be the top concern. Here are some key precautions to take:

Gather the Right Supplies

Before getting started, gather up the necessary supplies:

Having the right tools and gear will make the rewiring job much easier and safer.

Steps for Rewiring

Follow these key steps to systematically rewire a room in your home:

1. Turn Off Power

Start by turning off power at the main circuit breaker panel. Use a contactless voltage tester to confirm power is off before working.

2. Remove Old Wires and Fixtures

Take down existing light fixtures, outlets and switches you plan to replace. Carefully remove any old wires from the electrical boxes.

3. Plan New Circuits and Runs

Map out where any new wires and boxes will be run. Measure wire lengths needed. Plan circuit paths back to the breaker panel.

4. Run New Wires

Use fish tape to run new wiring through walls and ceilings between boxes. Leave plenty of extra wire at ends.

5. Connect Wires

Join the new wires to existing wires in boxes using wire connectors. Follow diagrams closely.

6. Mount New Boxes and Fixtures

Install any new electrical boxes. Securely mount fixtures, outlets and switches into boxes.

7. Secure Wires

Neatly secure wires inside boxes using cable clamps. No loose wires should be exposed.

8. Insulate Wires

Use electrical tape to insulate wire connections and ends. This prevents shorts.

9. Test Circuits

Restore power and test operation of newly wired circuits. Use a voltage tester to confirm proper connections.

10. Close Up Boxes

Install wall plates and light fixtures. Close up any holes or gaps with plaster and drywall patches.

By methodically following these steps, even first-time DIYers can safely rewire their home. But don't take on more than you can handle - some rewiring projects are best left to electricians.

Mistakes to Avoid

When rewiring your house, there are some common mistakes that can lead to issues down the road:

Carefully avoiding these common DIY wiring mistakes will ensure your rewiring project is a success.

When to Call an Electrician

Although many basic rewiring projects can be DIYed, there are times when you need to call in a professional electrician:

Professional electricians have the expertise to safely handle large-scale electrical work. They also can obtain any required permits for your area.


Rewiring a home without permits is possible for basic projects like installing new fixtures and outlets. But safety should be the number one concern. Always turn power off, use caution around wires, and avoid overloading circuits. Know when to call a licensed electrician for more complex jobs. With adequate preparation and vigilance, a diligent DIYer can take on basic rewiring projects and save on electrician costs. Just be sure to check local regulations so all work is permitted properly.