Why Rewiring is Necessary
Rewiring your home can seem daunting, but it is often necessary to update outdated and potentially dangerous electrical systems. I decided to rewire my home myself to save money and gain the satisfaction of completing such a major project. With proper planning and caution, a diligent DIYer can absolutely rewire their home safely without burning it down. The professionals may warn you away from doing it yourself, but with the right knowledge and preparation, it is possible.
Dangers of Outdated Electrical Systems
Older homes often have outdated and insufficient electrical systems that simply cannot handle all of the electronics and appliances we use today. Warning signs like frequent tripped circuit breakers, flickering lights, and outlets that spark when used indicate the wiring urgently needs to be replaced. Continuing to use outdated wiring is a serious fire hazard that puts your home and family at risk.
While professionals may know tricks of the trade, rewiring a home is straightforward enough for an educated homeowner to accomplish. And there's no need to burn down your hard-earned home in the process!
Cautionary Measures to Prevent Disaster
Before touching a single wire, there are some key safety precautions to take:
- Turn off power at the main breaker panel before working on any circuits. Use a non-contact voltage tester to be sure power is off before proceeding.
- Have an ABC fire extinguisher on hand in case of electrical fires.
- Wear proper safety equipment like eye protection, gloves, and clothing with no exposed skin.
- Work slowly and carefully while following local electrical codes. Rushing leads to mistakes.
Step-by-Step Rewiring Process
Follow these key steps to systematically rewire your home room-by-room:
1. Turn Off Power and Install New Breaker Panel
Start by using a voltage tester to be sure the main breaker panel has been completely disconnected. Then remove the old breaker panel and install a new load center with adequate capacity and space for circuit breakers.
2. Run New Wires from Panel to Each Room
Map out the new circuit routes beforehand. Then start at the panel and run the new 12/2 NM electrical wire through walls and ceilings to each room, leaving plenty of extra length. Carefully drill holes through studs to thread wire between rooms.
3. Add New Switches, Outlets, and Light Fixtures
Following your circuit map, start connecting the new wires to upgraded outlets and light switches with handy electrical push-in connectors. It helps to label wires as you go. Replace outdated light fixtures with new ENERGY STAR models.
4. Connect Circuits at the Panel
With all new wiring run and devices installed, carefully connect each circuit's wires to the appropriate circuit breakers in the new panel. Keep wire nuts twisted tightly and double check connections.
5. Inspect, Test, and Restore Power
Before turning power back on, thoroughly inspect all connections and test circuits for faults. Fix any issues found. Then slowly turn breakers on one at a time while checking for proper operation. Finally, call the city to schedule an inspection before covering walls.
Helpful Rewiring Tips
Follow these additional tips to keep your DIY rewiring project manageable:
- Work on one circuit at a time to avoid confusion.
- Take photos before removing old wires to help with reassembly.
- Label everything clearly to map out circuits.
- Only open walls and ceilings necessary to run new wires.
- Hire an electrician if you encounter knob-and-tube wiring. It requires complete replacement.
- Allow extra time and budget to repair drywall damage afterwards.
While rewiring your entire home is indeed a huge undertaking, it is certainly achievable for a safety-minded DIYer willing to take their time. Just stay calm, be cautious, and don't cut corners. You've got this!