Rewiring a home can seem like a daunting task, but with proper planning and safety precautions, it is very doable as a DIY project. Our grandfathers used electrical wiring methods that are lesser known today, but can make rewiring safer, easier and more affordable. In this article, I will walk through everything you need to know to rewire your home the old-fashioned way, without electrocuting yourself.

Why Rewire Your Home?

There are several reasons you may want to rewire your house:

Dangers of DIY Home Wiring

While rewiring a house yourself can save thousands of dollars in electrician fees, it also comes with risks, such as:

How Our Grandfathers Wired Homes

Here are some of the key techniques our grandfathers used when wiring homes in the early-to-mid 20th century:

Knob and Tube Wiring

This very early wiring method uses insulated wires run through ceramic knobs and tubes attached to structural framing. It has largely been replaced by modern Romex cables and can be tricky to work with, but is grandfathered in in many areas and can be adapted.

Armored Cable (BX)

BX features insulated wires encased in a flexible metal sheathing. It was an early version of modern armored cable and can still be used safely today by carefully attaching proper modern fittings.

Conduit Wiring

Conduit wiring runs wires through hollow pipes or tubes to protect and conceal them. This allows easy replacement of individual wires and provides very rugged protection. Plastic PVC conduit has largely replaced old steel conduit pipes today.

Cloth-Covered NM Cable

This early version of Romex cable featured rubber-insulated wires wrapped in a cloth covering. The aged cloth coverings can be hazardous today, but the wire can be salvaged and run through modern NM plastic sheathing.

Safely Accessing and Examining Electrical Wiring

Before rewiring, you need to closely examine your existing wiring to see what needs upgrading. Here is how to do it safely:

Removing and Replacing Old Wiring

Once you have accessed and tested the old wiring, it's time to remove it. Here are some tips:

Installing New Wiring and Components

The fun part is finally installing the beautiful new wiring! Follow these guidelines:

Safety First! Vital Precautions to Take

Rewiring a house is dangerous work if proper safety isn't followed. Here are some of the essential safety steps to take:

Final Touches and Turning Power Back On

You're so close to the finish line! Double check everything and get ready to juice it up:


Rewiring your home the old-fashioned way takes patience, care and attention to safety, but can save thousands of dollars and give great satisfaction. Follow the guidelines outlined here closely. Although it's hard work, the payoff is enjoying your home's next 100 years wired up with modern electrical capacity. Our grandfathers would be proud!