How to Rewire Your Home’s Electrical System Yourself

Rewiring a home's electrical system is a major project that requires knowledge, skill, and extreme caution. As a homeowner, I decided to take on this complex task myself to save on labor costs. With proper preparation and adherence to electrical codes and safety standards, it is possible for a dedicated DIYer to successfully rewire their home.

Understanding Home Electrical Systems

Before touching a wire, I needed to educate myself on residential electrical systems. Here are the key things I learned:

Electrical Service and Main Panel

The electrical service brings power into the home. For most homes, this means overhead or underground power lines connect to a meter and service panel outside. The service panel contains circuit breakers or fuses that distribute electricity through the main panel inside. The main panel connects to all the home's branch circuits.

Branch Circuits

Branch circuits carry power from the main panel to different zones in the home. A typical home has between 5-10 branch circuits. Common branch circuits include:

Wiring and Conduits

Electrical wires transmit power through the branch circuits. In modern homes, wiring is usually copper. The wires are bundled and routed through conduits - metal or plastic tubes that protect the wiring. Different colored wires are used for hot, neutral and ground.

Switches, Outlets and Lights

The branch circuits connect to switches, outlets, light fixtures and appliances. These are termination points along the circuit. Switches control lights and fans. Outlets supply power for plug-in devices. Lights and appliances tap into the power.

Safety Gear and Tools

Rewiring a home requires some essential safety gear and tools:

I also used common hand tools like hammers, screwdrivers, saws and drills for access and repairs. Safety should be the top priority.

Planning the Rewiring Project

Careful planning is crucial before starting a rewiring project. I took the following steps:

Thorough planning helped the project go smoothly and avoided surprises.

Running New Wires

The most labor intensive task was running all new wires through the house. Here is how I did it:

I found it helpful to start wiring on one floor and work room by room. Plenty of holes and messy walls are part of the process.

Installing New Outlets, Switches and Fixtures

With the wires run, I was ready to install:

I replaced most outlets and switches for better safety and looks. Each had to be wired carefully and tested.

Connecting the Panel and Grounding

After all the wiring, the final steps were:

Main Service Panel

Branch Circuits


Proper grounding and bonding helps prevent shocks and fires. The local inspector checked my work before re-energizing.

Testing and Troubleshooting

With the new electrical system installed, I thoroughly tested it:

Where issues cropped up:

Taking it slow and checking each point allowed me to catch and fix problems.


Rewiring a home is a major undertaking. Proper preparation, safety protocols, technical skill and testing is crucial. While not for a novice, a dedicated DIYer can definitely take on rewiring their electrical system and get it done right. I saved thousands of dollars in labor costs. More importantly, I can rest easy knowing my home's electrical system is safer and up to modern standards.