Why Rewire Your Home Yourself?

Rewiring your home can be an intimidating task, but with the right preparation and safety precautions, you can save thousands of dollars by doing it yourself. I decided to rewire my home to upgrade from an outdated 60 amp electrical service to a modern 200 amp system. Hiring an electrician would have cost me $8,000 to $12,000! By doing it myself and getting the required permits and inspections, I only spent about $2,000 on materials. The sense of accomplishment has been very rewarding as well.

Dangers of a Faulty Electrical System

Before beginning, understand that an outdated electrical system poses serious risks like electrical fires and shock hazards. Common signs you need rewiring include:

By rewiring your home, you ensure every circuit has adequate capacity for safety.

Preparation Is Key

Succeeding at a DIY rewiring project requires ensuring you have the necessary skills, getting the proper permits, and planning the project in phases.

To start, research your local building codes thoroughly. Most jurisdictions require homeowners to get permits and inspections for electrical work. I submitted a detailed plan to the building department to get my permit before starting.

Develop Your Electrical Skills

While experience working with electrical systems is recommended, you can teach yourself the basics too. I brushed up by:

Plan Your Rewiring in Phases

Don't try to rewire your entire home at once! Plan to complete sections of circuits one at a time. To maintain reliability of power, I rewired my home over several weekends:

This phased approach prevented any prolonged power outages.

Safely Shutting Off Power

The first step before working on any circuit is shutting off the power at the main breaker. I also recommend:

This redundant approach reduces the chance of getting shocked.

Selecting Wire Size

One key decision is selecting the correct gauge wire for the amperage rating of your circuits. I used:

This matched the needs of each circuit. Upgrading to thicker wires than original ensures sufficient capacity.

Running and Securing New Wires

Existing Walls

For running wires through finished walls, I drilled small holes and used fish tape to pull wires through stud bays. Use care to avoid contact with existing wires. Seal holes with firestop caulk.

Attics and Basements

For unfinished attic and basement walls, I drilled holes through top and bottom plates. I used plastic wire staples every 4-6 feet to secure wires to exposed framing. Keep wires neat and out of the way.

PVC Conduit

For exterior runs to outbuildings, I buried PVC conduit trenches at least 18 inches deep per code. Conduit protects wire from damage.

Installing New Outlets and Switches

I installed modern tamper resistant receptacles and screw-clamp light switches for safety. Watch polarity as all plugs and switches should follow convention:

Circuit labeling at the panel and outlet is also critical. I used numbered labels so each circuit is identifiable.

Connecting to the New Panel

Consult your panel instructions for proper wire attachment to the main lugs or circuit breakers. Organize wires neatly as space inside the panel is tight.

Ensure your grounding meets code too. I drove two 8-foot ground rods and used thick 6 AWG copper wire for connections.

Finally, take photos of the finished panel to remember what goes where!

Getting Professional Inspections

Before turning the power back on, call for inspection of your work. Builders often inspect:

The inspector will test your system thoroughly and catch any issues. This gives you peace of mind that your DIY rewiring project meets all safety requirements.


While rewiring your home is a huge endeavor, with proper planning, safety precautions, attention to detail, and getting professional inspections, you can save thousands by DIYing the project. Just be sure to thoroughly research building codes and get all required permits before beginning. Reward yourself when you have a rewired home providing your family with a safer, more modern electrical system!