Rewiring a home can be daunting, but with proper precautions and some old school techniques, it can be done safely. As your trusted guide, I'll share the methods our grandfathers used to rewire homes without perishing. This article covers everything you need to know, from gathering supplies to wiring lights and outlets. With patience and care, you can reinvigorate your home's electrical system. Just don't try to rush it!

Safety First

Before touching a single wire, safety must come first. Electrocution is a real risk, so proceed cautiously.

Protective Gear

Wear rubber-soled shoes to avoid shocks. Rubber gloves are essential too. Safety goggles will prevent loose wires from harming your eyes. A headlamp allows you to see inside cramped spaces. Finally, have a first aid kit on hand just in case.

Turn Off Power

Locate the breaker box and switch off all circuits. Verify power is off by testing outlets with a voltage tester. Even with the main breaker off, some wires may still be live, so always double check.

Work Slowly

Rewiring is tedious work requiring patience. Work deliberately and carefully. Rushing leads to mistakes and injury. Take breaks to avoid fatigue.

Gather Your Supplies

You'll need a variety of tools and materials:

Make sure everything is up to National Electrical Code standards. Purchase supplies from electrical supply stores, not general hardware stores.

Planning the Rewire

Carefully plan the rewiring before getting started. Opening up walls without a strategy will create headaches.

Draw Diagrams

Draft diagrams mapping out the new circuits, with each circuit's amperage noted. Mark all new outlet and light locations. Indicate runs of conduit and wire. Imagine how you'll fish wires through walls and ceilings.

Note Materials Needed

Compile a master list of all equipment and supplies required, with part numbers for ordering. Avoid delays by having everything on-hand before starting work.

Establish Sequence

Determine the optimal order for running wires to avoid inconsistencies or re-work. Work systematically from one end of the home to the other.

Removing Old Wiring

With safety gear on and power disabled, I begin stripping out the old wiring.

Check for Asbestos

If the home is pre-1980s, the insulation may contain asbestos. Wear a respirator and have it removed by asbestos abatement pros if necessary. Safety comes first.

Pull Out Old Wires

Remove wall plates and junction boxes to access the wires. Carefully extract wires from conduits. Coil up wires as you go to avoid tangling. Discard or recycle the old copper.

Remove Conduit

The existing metal conduits are probably too small for modern wiring. Remove them using a hacksaw. We'll run new plastic conduit.

Patch Walls

Repair any drywall holes or other damage left from removing the old wiring. We want nice clean surfaces to work with.

Running New Wires

Now comes the fun part—running the new wires throughout the home. Take it slow and steady.

Thread Conduit

Secure plastic flexible conduit using strapping every few feet. Run conduit along baseboards from box to box. Utilize the attic for horizontal runs across ceilings.

Pull Wires

Carefully pull the copper conductors through the conduits one at a time. A fish tape can help feed wire through long spans. Leave plenty of extra wire at boxes.

Mark Wires

Use colored tape to mark wire ends to correspond with your diagrams. This prevents mix-ups when connecting circuits.

Connect Wires

Join the incoming and outgoing wires for each circuit using wire nuts. Keep hot and neutral connections separated. Ground all box mounts.

Outlets, Switches and Lights

You're in the home stretch—just outlets, switches and lighting left to go!

Install Boxes

Mount new electrical boxes where needed. Ensure outlets are 18 inches above floor level. Use old work boxes to avoid cutting drywall.

Install Devices

Connect your wires to any outlets, switches and light fixtures. Attach each device securely to its box. Wrap connections in electrical tape.

Cover Plates

Install new plastic wall plates over each box to complete the job. Use rocker-style plates for light switches. They look sharp!

Safety Checks

Before restoring power, perform safety checks to avoid problems.

Only once everything looks good am I ready to flip those breakers back on!


While rewiring a home is challenging, it can be accomplished safely using proven old school techniques. With proper protective gear, careful planning, and deliberate execution, I upgraded my home's electrical system without peril. If I can do it, you can too. Just don't cut corners when it comes to safety. Follow this guide closely and you'll see how rewiring without dying is completely possible. Our grandfathers would be proud!