How to Safely Rewire Your Home Without Professional Help

Rewiring a home can seem like an intimidating task, but with proper planning, safety precautions, and the right tools, a homeowner can successfully rewire their house on their own. As someone who has rewired my home without hiring an electrician, I have learned a lot through my experience. In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through all the key steps and considerations for safely rewiring your home as a DIY project.

Understanding Electrical Basics

Before attempting to rewire anything, it is essential to have a solid grasp of some basic electrical principles and components. This will help ensure you work safely and carry out the rewiring properly. Some key concepts to understand include:

Current, Voltage, and Power

Series vs Parallel Circuits

Common Wiring and Cables

Having a good understanding of these basic electrical concepts will help ensure you purchase the right materials and wire your circuits correctly.

Planning Your Rewiring Project

Careful planning is crucial when taking on a large rewiring project. Rushing in without the right plan can lead to potentially dangerous mistakes. Here are some key steps I recommend when planning a DIY rewiring project:

Evaluate Your Electrical Needs

Create a Home Wiring Diagram

Purchase Supplies and Materials

Turn Off Power and Inspect Old Wiring

Develop a Rewiring Plan and Schedule

Proper planning is time well spent. It will allow you to carry out your rewiring project efficiently and with greater safety.

Safety Precautions When Rewiring

Working with electrical wiring can be dangerous. Take every precaution to ensure your safety before beginning a rewiring project. Follow these essential safety tips:

Wear Protective Gear

Use Insulated Tools

Exercise Caution with Wires

Turn Power Off and Use Warning Signs

Have a Helper or Supervisor

Allow No Distractions

By putting safety first and taking precautions, you can rewire your home securely without taking unnecessary risks. Never rush or take shortcuts when electrical work is involved.

Removing Old Wiring

Once you have planned out your rewire project and gathered supplies, it's time to remove old wiring. Take things one step at a time:

Turn Off Power at the Main Circuit Breaker

Double check that all power is off using a non-contact voltage tester on wires. Tag and disconnect old circuits you are removing so they cannot be turned back on accidentally.

Remove Light Switches and Outlets

Unscrew and gently remove switches, outlets, and cover plates. Note wiring connections for reuse later. Disconnect and label wires.

Cut Old Wiring Free

Starting in one area, clip old wires through the cable sheathing one at a time to free them. Coil up and safely dispose of old wires as you remove them.

Check Walls and Attic for Hidden Wiring

Inspect for any hidden or abandoned wires stapled inside walls or run through the attic. Remove anything that is uncovered.

Remove Electrical Boxes

Unscrew old outlet, switch and junction boxes. Knock them free using a hammer if necessary, then patch walls.

Go slowly when removing old wiring. Document and label everything to avoid confusion. Removing all old wiring clears the way for your new circuits.

Running New Wiring

The key steps for running new Romex cable through your home are:

Plan Cable Routes

Map out where you will run new cables for each circuit from the panel through walls, attic, and basement.

Cut Wiring to Length

Measure each run and cut Romex cables to the needed lengths using wire cutters. Add a few extra feet.

Fish Cables and Pull Through

Fish wires through walls using long flexible electrical fish tape. Have a helper pull the cable through.

Allow Slack at Boxes

Leave 12-18 inches of extra cable at each outlet and switch box for easy handling.

Secure Cables Properly

Use plastic wire staples to neatly attach cables every few feet along studs and joists.

Label All Wires and Cables

Use colored tape and wire labels to mark all new wires at both ends for easy identification.

Take it slow and steady to run wiring neatly and avoid damaging cables. Keeping everything properly labeled will help the rest of the rewiring go smoothly.

Installing Outlets, Switches and Light Fixtures

Once your new wiring is in place, it's time to install the components that will bring your rewired home back to life:

Mount New Electrical Boxes

Secure outlet, switch, and junction boxes where needed. Attach them properly to studs, joists, and surfaces.

Connect Outlets and Switches

Match wire colors and use proper connectors to join each wire at outlets and switches. Follow diagrams.

Ground Everything Correctly

Ensure bare copper ground wires are secured to green screws on all boxes, outlets and switches.

Check Connections are Tight

Tug on wires to verify tight connections. Loose wires can arc and create fire hazards.

Secure Cables at Boxes

Clamp armored cable securely in the clamps of metal boxes. Protect wires from strain.

Install Devices and Covers

Carefully mount outlets, switches, and cover plates using the proper mounting screws.

Take your time at each box to make sure outlets, switches, and components are solidly installed. This protects your hard work from damage.

Connecting New Circuits at the Panel

One of the final steps is connecting your new wiring back to the main electrical panel:

Shut Off the Main Breaker

Always turn off all power at the main breaker before touching any panel wiring.

Label New Breakers

Identify the new breakers you will connect each new circuit to. This avoids confusion.

Create Pigtails

Use short 6 inch pieces of colored THHN wire to splice new Romex wires to breakers.

Connect to Breakers Securely

Wrap solid, tight clockwise loops around breaker terminals. Tug test each wire.

Organize Wires Neatly

Keep new wires neatly bundled and routed in the panel. This maintains safety.

Close and Secure the Panel

With all new circuit connections complete, close up the grounded panel door and lock it.

Work carefully within the electrical panel one wire at a time. Rushed connections can lead to shorts and fires.

Testing and Troubleshooting Your Work

The final step is turning circuits back on one at a time and testing all your hard work:

Inspect Each Location

Visually inspect all new outlets, switches and fixtures before powering up. Fix any issues.

Turn Circuits On Individually

Switch each new breaker on separately. Walk the circuit checking outlets and lights.

Check for Faulty Wiring

If outlets or lights fail to work, immediately turn off power and check connections.

Use a Voltage Tester

Verify power where expected and no stray voltage where not expected. Test 3-prong outlets for proper grounding.

Examine Light Dimming or Flickering

If lights dim or flicker, you may have loose wires or overloaded circuits. Investigate and fix.

Consider Hiring an Electrician

If you encounter any electrical issues over your head, don't hesitate to call a professional.

Be methodical when testing. Take the time to troubleshoot any problems before completing your rewiring project.

Staying Safe with Rewired Electrical

Even after completing your home rewiring, there are still important safety steps to follow:

Use GFCIs Where Needed

Install ground-fault circuit interrupters near sinks and other sources of water to prevent shocks.

Check Smoke and CO Detectors

Verify all your safety detectors are functioning in case of electrical fire. Replace batteries.

Examine Fixtures and Cords

Replace old light fixtures and brittle appliance cords that could be fire hazards.

Consider Arc-Fault Breakers

These advanced breakers detect dangerous arc faults. Have an electrician install them.

Rewire Additional Areas Slowly

Only take on small additional rewiring projects at a time to avoid rushing.

Never Modify the Service Panel

Only allow professional electricians to alter your main service panel or meter base.

Make safety your top priority even after finishing your major rewiring work. Take it step-by-step when rewiring additional circuits over time.


While rewiring a home is a major undertaking, it is entirely possible for a homeowner to achieve with proper planning, safety precautions, and attention to detail. Follow the steps outlined above and you can tackle rewiring your outdated home electrical one room at a time. Always put safety first, get help when needed, and take pride in the satisfaction of a DIY rewiring project done right. You will save money and gain invaluable electrical knowledge in the process.