Rewiring a home can be extremely dangerous if not done properly. Building codes and electrical standards exist today to prevent fires, electrocution, and other hazards - bypassing these safeguards puts your life at risk. While methods from the 1800s may seem quaint, they lack the safety precautions that come with modern materials and techniques. As tempting as it may be to take shortcuts, your life is more valuable than the money saved. Here are some tips to rewire your home safely and legally:
Consult a Licensed Electrician
Attempting to rewire your entire home without experience puts you in danger of electrocution or creating fire hazards. Licensed electricians have the expertise to navigate building codes and identify potential risks you may overlook. They completed training programs and passed exams to earn their licenses. An experienced professional will know how to safely rewire your home to modern standards.
Learn Basic Electrical Skills
While a major rewiring project should be left to the pros, you can learn skills for minor electrical work. Taking a class at a local hardware store is a good start. You'll gain experience with turning off power, wiring switches and outlets, and making safe connections. Practice these basic skills before tackling larger projects. Understanding electrical fundamentals will help you identify potential issues down the road.
Use Proper Materials
Electrical codes require certain gauge wiring and outlets depending on location and use. Copper wiring is the standard today, having replaced outdated aluminum wiring. Use outlets and switches rated for the intended use and location. Using heavy-duty materials that exceed requirements can provide extra protection. Don't cut corners to save money on electrical parts.
Turn Off Power at the Breaker
Before touching any wires, always turn off power at the main circuit breaker. Do not work on live wires. Verify power is off by testing outlets with a multimeter or voltage tester. Turn off the main breaker, not just individual circuits, before wiring connections. This ensures wires are not live from an unknown source.
Leave Major Repairs to the Experts
While minor repairs and upgrades are manageable for a diligent DIYer,major electrical issues are best left to electricians. Damaged service panels, faulty grounding, and rewiring entire rooms call for an expert. Improper repairs could leave dangerous defects hidden behind walls and under floors. Don't take on more than your skill level allows.
Safety should be the top concern with any home electrical project. While 19th century wiring methods may have sufficed then, modern homes require meeting current codes. Take advantage of proper materials and a licensed electrician's expertise to ensure your home is rewired safely.