Rewiring a home can seem like a daunting task, but with the right precautions and preparations, it can be done safely without risk of electrocution. As a daring do-it-yourselfer, you may be eager to take on this type of ambitious project to upgrade your home's electrical system. However, caution is absolutely necessary when dealing with electricity. In this comprehensive guide, I will walk through all the steps needed to rewire a home, while avoiding any shocking mishaps along the way.

Safety Gear and Precautions

Before touching any wires, there are some essential safety steps to take in order to avoid getting electrocuted while rewiring your home:

Turn Off Power at Main Circuit Breaker

This is the most important precaution. Locate your main circuit breaker and switch the power completely off before doing any work. Verify power is off by testing lights and outlets. Working on live wires can easily lead to electrocution.

Wear Insulated Gloves and Eye Protection

Make sure to wear rubber-insulated gloves and safety goggles to avoid contact with live wires. One touch of an exposed wire can send deadly current through your body. Eye protection will prevent injuries from sparks or falling debris.

Use Insulated Tools

Only use tools specifically designed for electrical work, like insulated screwdrivers and pliers. Normal household tools can conduct electricity and should never be used when rewiring.

Work One Circuit at a Time

Rewire your home one circuit at a time to avoid confusion. Label each wire as you disconnect it. Trying to rewire multiple circuits at once raises the risk of making an error.

Double Check Wiring

Carefully verify all connections are tight and properly insulated before restoring power. Have an electrician inspect your work if at all uncertain. Faulty wiring can lead to fires or electrocution down the road.

Planning the Rewiring Project

Careful planning and preparation will make the rewiring process smoother and safer:

Removing Old Wiring

Once you have prepped for the project, it's time to remove the outdated wiring:

Disconnect Old Wires

Turn off power at the main breaker then disconnect old wires from devices and junction boxes. Label each wire as you detach it to avoid confusion.

Remove Outdated Components

Take out old switches, receptacles, junction boxes and any knob-and-tube or cloth-wrapped wiring. Properly dispose of outdated electrical components.

Fish Out Wires

If possible, carefully pull existing wires out of the walls. This leaves conduit open for running new wiring. Use care not to damage walls or wiring.

Inspect for Damage

Examine walls, boxes and wiring for any signs of overheating or corrosion. Such hazards must be fixed before installing new wiring.

Clean Surfaces

Use rags and cleaning solutions to thoroughly clean all electrical boxes and wall areas where new wiring will be installed. Start fresh with clean surfaces.

Installing New Wires and Components

The fun part is routing new wiring and outlets/switches for your renovated electrical system:

Map Circuits

Follow your rewiring plan to install circuits, deciding which outlets and devices will be connected to each circuit. Avoid overloading any single circuit.

Run Wiring

Carefully route new NM electrical cable through walls and conduit. Leave plenty of extra wire at boxes for easy connections. Use cable staples to securely attach.

Connect Switches and Outlets

Attach wiring to all outlets and switches per code, matching hot, neutral and ground wires. Ensure secure, tight connections.

Ground Properly

Ensure all devices and boxes are properly grounded. Install ground wires, pigtails or grounding screws as required. This protects against shocks.

Label Circuits

Use circuit directory or colored tape to label breakers and wires for each circuit at the panel and inside boxes. This facilitates safe future access.

Caulk Holes

Seal any holes in walls from wiring with fire-resistant caulk or putty. This prevents fire spread and drafts.

Wrapping Up the Rewiring Job

You're in the home stretch. Finish strong by double checking work and restoring power properly:

Inspect Wiring

Carefully examine every connection and wire run to verify proper, safe installation before power is restored. Fix any issues.

Test Circuit by Circuit

Turn power back on at the breaker and test each circuit individually before energizing the entire system. Verify proper function of outlets and lights on each circuit.

Check Grounding

With power on, use a multimeter or receptacle tester to confirm adequate grounding exists through the system. Reliable grounding prevents shocks.

Complete Panel Directory

Document details of all new circuits in the electrical panel directory. This provides important reference for future electrical work.


flip the main breaker back on and test all your hard work! When all lights and outlets function properly you can relax knowing your diligent efforts paid off with a safer, upgraded electrical system.

Rewiring a whole house is no easy task, but carefully following safety measures and executing a systematic plan allows the ambitious do-it-yourselfer to achieve great results. Paying close attention to details like turning off power, wearing protective gear, properly labeling wires, and double checking connections lets you accomplish a major electrical upgrade without getting zapped in the process.