How to Wire Your Home’s Electrical System Yourself and Save Thousands

Wiring your own home can be an intimidating task, but with proper planning and safety precautions, you can successfully wire most residential electrical systems and save thousands of dollars in the process. In this comprehensive DIY guide, I will walk you through the entire process step-by-step.

Understanding Electrical Basics

Before you start any electrical project, it's important to understand some basic electrical terms and components:

Some key safety tips when working with home electrical systems:

Planning Your Electrical Layout

The first step is deciding the layout of your home's electrical system.

Ask yourself:

Create a detailed plan showing all circuits, outlet locations, appliance circuits, and lighting.

Consider hiring an electrician for consultation on the overall system design if needed.

Obtaining Permits

Check your local building codes to determine if you need a permit to rewire a home. Permits are often required for:

Permit fees are usually under $200 depending on your area.

Hiring an electrical contractor usually includes permitting costs, but permits are the homeowner's responsibility for DIY projects.

Electrical Service Panel

The service panel, or breaker box, is the central hub connecting your home's electrical system to the main utility lines.

When rewiring, you may need to upgrade your existing panel if:

New 200 amp panels cost $200-500 plus installation. Hire an electrician if you need to upgrade the incoming service wiring or meter connection.

Running New Wiring

Here are the steps to run new wiring through your home:

  1. Map route for each new circuit from panel to endpoints
  2. Drill holes in framing and secure plastic grommets
  3. Feed wires through grommets between walls
  4. Leave 6-12 inches of extra wire at endpoints
  5. Connect wires to outlets, switches and appliances
  6. Label all wires indicating their circuit number

Use 12-2 NM electrical cable for 15 and 20 amp general lighting/receptacle circuits.

Follow local codes for wire gauge requirements based on circuit amperage. Using thicker than required wire is recommended.

Installing Boxes and Making Connections

Electrical boxes house the connections between wires and outlets.

When installing boxes:

Making neat, tight wire connections is critical:

Testing & Troubleshooting Your Electrical Work

Before turning power back on, test your work thoroughly:

Check all connections are secure, then turn on power momentarily to verify proper function before securing switches, outlets and covers.

Be prepared to troubleshoot any issues:

Patience and care is required, but you can troubleshoot most issues.

Completing Drywall, Painting & Finishing

Once electrical components are fully functional it's time to finish the job:

Take your time with finishes for a seamless look.


With good planning, safe working practices and attention to detail, wiring your own home is very achievable.

While initially daunting, breaking the project into smaller steps makes electrical work less intimidating.

Also remember that permits, inspections and hiring electricians for complex tasks is perfectly okay.

By DIYing what you can safely perform, you can have the satisfaction of wiring your own home electrical system and saving thousands in the process.