Why Rewiring Outlets is Important

Rewiring the outlets in your home can greatly improve electrical safety and convenience. As homes age, outlet wiring can become outdated, hazardous, and inadequate for modern needs. Rewiring provides an opportunity to upgrade to safer and more versatile outlets. There are several key reasons to consider rewiring your outlets:

Dangers of Outdated Electrical Systems

It's important to understand the risks posed by outdated electrical wiring and outlets in order to appreciate the safety benefits of rewiring your home. Some potential dangers include:

Replacing the outlets and wiring eliminates these serious hazards.

Electrical Codes

Before rewiring any part of your home's electrical system, it's essential to understand the relevant building codes and regulations in your local area. The National Electrical Code (NEC) forms the basis of most local codes. Key codes include:

Consult your local building codes before buying materials or starting electrical work.

Needed Materials

Rewiring outlets is a major project that requires an array of materials. Some essential items include:

Outlet Wiring Instructions

Follow these step-by-step instructions to safely rewire outlets in your home:

Turn Off Power

Turn off the circuit breaker for the outlet you'll be working on. Verify power is off by testing with a contact voltage tester. Failure to shut off power can result in severe shock or electrocution.

Remove Old Outlet

Unscrew the outlet from the electrical box and carefully pull it out. Inspect the existing wires and electrical box. Check for signs of dangerous wear like heat damage, corroded wires or cracked insulation.

Prepare Wires

If existing wiring is old or damaged, replace it with new NM cable. Use 14 gauge for 15 amp circuits and 12 gauge for 20 amps. Strip away 1/2" of insulation from each wire end using a wire stripper.

Connect Wires

Refer to outlet wiring diagrams to connect wires correctly. Match wire colors using twist-on wire connectors. Ground wires connect to the green grounding screw or clip. Insert wires fully and tighten connections securely.

Install New Outlet

Place wires fully into the electrical box. Attach the outlet firmly with mounting screws. Make sure no bare wire is exposed. Attach cable clamps and install a compatible wallplate cover.

Test and Use

With the power back on, plug in a lamp and test the outlets. Confirm proper wiring by checking that the outlet is grounded using a tester. Install AFCI or GFCI protection if needed.

Special Considerations

Specific factors should be kept in mind when rewiring certain areas:

When to Call an Electrician

While many homeowners can handle basic outlet upgrades, some circumstances require professional help:

Hiring a qualified electrician ensures full code compliance and safety when rewiring.


Rewiring the electrical outlets in your home is a worthwhile project that boosts safety, convenience and functionality. By understanding important electrical codes, having the right materials, and following safe wiring techniques, you can upgrade your home's wiring yourself. However major electrical service upgrades are best left to professional electricians. With improved electrical capacity and protection, rewired outlets provide peace of mind and better accommodation of modern electrical needs and electronics.