Rewiring a home can be a daunting task, but with proper precautions and some old fashioned techniques, it can be done safely. As someone who wants to update my home's electrical system without electrocuting myself, I found clever ways my grandparents' generation used to get the job done.

In this guide, I will share the lesser known methods I learned to rewire my house on my own, without dying from electrical shock.

Safety First - Protect Yourself Before Rewiring

Before touching any wires, safety must come first. Our grandparents didn't have all the fancy protective gear we have today, but they understood some common sense precautions.

Shut Off Power at the Breaker

This may seem obvious, but make absolutely sure the power is off at the main breaker before rewiring. Test outlets with a voltage tester to double check. Better safe than fried!

Wear Insulated Gloves and Long Sleeves

Thick rubber gloves up to your elbows are ideal, along with long sleeved clothing. This prevents accidental contact with live wires.

Use Insulated Tools

Make sure your wire strippers, pliers, and other tools have insulted rubber handles. Avoid using metal ladders or anything else conductive when working with wires.

Work in Dry Conditions

Rewiring when it's raining or the basement is flooded is asking for trouble. Make sure all areas you'll be working are dry as a bone.

Simple Rewiring Technique 1 - Pigtail Splices

One easy way our grandparents rewired was using pigtail splices. This involves:



Overall, pigtail splicing is great for quickly connecting a few wires in existing boxes during small rewiring jobs.

Method 2 - Western Union Splices

For more heavy duty connections, the Western Union splice was common. To Western Union:



Western Union splices create long lasting rewiring connections, but aren't quite as simple as pigtails.

Final Safety Checks Before Turning Power Back On

Once all splicing is complete, it's still not time to flip the breaker just yet. Make safety your top priority with these final checks:

Only once 100% certain that all is good, carefully turn your main breaker back on. Then use voltage testers to verify power is flowing properly through all updated wiring.


Updating my home's electrical with some old school methods used by previous generations has saved me thousands of dollars in rewiring costs. While not cutting corners on safety, techniques like pigtail splicing and Western Union connections allowed me to DIY it without dying.

By using common sense precautions and proven wiring methods from the past, you can take charge of your home's electrical system. Just don't forget to shut off the power first before grabbing those wire strippers!