How to Rewire Your Home's Outlets for Higher Efficiency Without an Electrician


Rewiring the outlets in your home can provide higher electrical efficiency and allow you to upgrade to modern standards without hiring an electrician. With proper planning and safety precautions, a handy homeowner can safely rewire outlets to provide grounded three-prong connections, increase capacity with 240-volt lines, or add more outlets to reduce the use of extension cords and power strips. I’ll walk through the key steps to follow for a successful DIY outlet rewiring project.

Reasons to Rewire Outlets

There are a few main reasons why you may want to rewire the outlets in your home:

Upgrade to Grounded Outlets

Many older homes only have two-prong outlets, which lack a ground wire. Rewiring with modern grounded outlets provides safety and allows the use of three-prong appliances.

Increase Electrical Capacity

Rewiring with thicker 12 or 10 gauge wire and new outlets allows higher electrical loads for today's power-hungry appliances and electronics.

Add More Outlets

Adding more outlets can eliminate extension cords and power strips. New outlet locations near beds, desks, and entertainment centers can be helpful.

Lighten Cord Load

Too many items plugged into one outlet can cause fires or tripping breakers. Rewiring provides more outlets to spread out electrical loads.

Planning Your Outlet Rewiring Project

Careful planning is crucial for a successful DIY rewiring project. Here are key steps to plan out:

How to Rewire an Outlet

Here is an overview of the main steps involved to rewire an outlet:

  1. Turn off the circuit breaker for the outlet at the main electrical panel. Test wires with a non-contact voltage tester to ensure power is off.

  2. Remove the cover plate screws then carefully remove the outlet from the electrical box using a screwdriver.

  3. Disconnect and label the existing wires. Often there will be 2 wires plus a ground. Take photos for reference.

  4. Remove old electrical box if it will be replaced. If reusing box, inspect for damage and clean inside box.

  5. Thread new wire through electrical box depending on rewiring approach:

  6. Pigtailing - Connect short 6 inch ground wire and matching hot/neutral pigtails to the new outlet which existing circuit wires connect to.

  7. Splicing - Splice existing hot, neutral and new ground wires directly to new outlet. Cap with wire nuts.

  8. Connect wires securely to new outlet and install outlet into electrical box per manufacturer instructions.

  9. Secure outlet to box with mounting screws, attach cover plate, then carefully restore power and test operation.

Safety Precautions

Electrical work can be hazardous. Follow these safety tips:

Tips for Successful Rewiring

Here are some helpful tips as you rewire your home's electrical outlets:


Rewiring outlets is very rewarding work that can provide safer, more convenient electrical systems. Pay close attention to safety. For large projects, hire an electrician to handle the trickiest aspects. Take it slow, follow electrical codes, and get inspections as needed. Done right, your upgraded outlets will serve your home for many years to come.