How to Safely Rewire Your Home without an Electrician


Rewiring a home can seem like a daunting task, but with proper planning and safety precautions, it is possible for a homeowner to rewire their house without hiring an electrician. As someone who has rewired my entire home on my own, I want to share my experience and advice to help others take on DIY rewiring projects safely and successfully.

Reasons to Rewire Your Home

Before diving into a rewiring project, it's important to understand why you might want to rewire in the first place. Here are some of the most common motivations for rewiring a home:

Upgrading from Fuse Box to Circuit Breaker Panel

Expanding Electrical Circuits

Fixing Faulty or Damaged Wiring

Improving Safety

Dangers of DIY Electrical Work

While rewiring a home as a DIY project can save money compared to hiring an electrician, it's crucial to understand the risks involved when working with electrical systems yourself.

Potential for Injury or Death from Shock

Risk of Electrical Fires

Liability for Damages

Limited Insurance Coverage

When to Call an Electrician

While many rewiring projects can be DIYed, there are times when it's crucial to hire a licensed electrician:

Hiring an electrician for complicated aspects of a rewiring project can give you peace of mind that the work meets all safety codes.

How to Prepare for a DIY Rewiring Project

Careful planning and preparation will ensure your rewiring project goes smoothly and safely. Follow these key steps before getting started:

Educate Yourself

Create a Wiring Plan

Gather Tools and Materials

Install New Breaker Panel

Inspect Attic and Basement

Label All Circuits

How to Stay Safe During a Rewiring Project

Working with electricity poses serious hazards. Take these precautions when rewiring:

Shut Off Power at Main Breaker

Wear Protective Gear

Use Insulated Tools

Test Wires Before Touching

Cover Open Electrical Boxes

Avoid Working Alone

Know When to Stop

Step-by-Step Guide for Rewiring a Home

Once you've made all the preparations, you're ready to get started with the rewiring. Follow these key steps:

Step 1: Turn Off Power and Remove Old Wiring

Step 2: Run New Circuit Wiring

Step 3: Install New Outlets, Switches and Lights

Step 4: Connect Devices and Test Circuits

Step 5: Make It Look Good

FAQs about Rewiring a Home

How much wiring do I need to buy?

For each circuit, buy 15-20% more wire than you think you'll need to allow for waste. It's better to have extra than to run short mid-project.

Can I run wiring outside of conduit?

In most cases, new wiring does need to be run through conduit for physical protection. Romex-style cable is OK for some interior runs.

What is the hardest part about rewiring a house?

Physically pulling new wires through walls and ceilings can be very labor intensive and difficult in older homes. Be prepared for a workout!

What wire gauge should I use for lighting, outlets, appliances?

Lighting circuits can use 14 AWG wire. 15A outlet circuits should be 12 AWG. For 20A small appliance circuits, use 10 AWG wire for safety.

How do I wire a three-way switch?

Use the power feed to one switch, a 3-conductor cable between switches, and 2-conductor cables out to the lights. Ground all switches.

Final Thoughts

Rewiring your home is a big project, but also a very rewarding one. By following proper safety procedures and taking your time, you can achieve successful results. The key is doing your research ahead of time so there won't be any surprises mid-project. Be ready to get dirty hauling wires, make occasional trips back to the hardware store, and take lots of wiring photos along the way. If at any point you don't feel 100% about what you're doing, stop and call an electrician to get help. With careful planning and preparation, you can take control of upgrading your home's electrical system and enjoy confidence in your improved wiring for decades to come.