Rewiring a house with an outdated or wiring system that is too small is essential to keeping your home safe through the years, as well as more energy-efficient. And while electrical rewiring can be a massive undertaking, with the right planning and a bit of patience, it can make a world of difference for your home’s system.
What Does It Mean to Rewire a House?
So, what is involved in rewiring a house? Rewiring electrical in house upgrades involves removing outdated wiring from inside a house’s walls and implementing a more modern, new wiring system. A house rewire is essential to meeting today’s electrical needs and improving the safety of your home.
Typically, it’s best recommended that a home rewire is conducted by a licensed electrician, who has experience with stripping old wire and running new wiring throughout the house. This professional is well-equipped to handle the oldest wiring and install a new circuit breaker panel to handle the upgraded wiring system. With this expertise, an electrician rewiring a house is sure to follow all building codes.
When to Rewire a House
If you’re a new homeowner wondering when should you rewire a house, there are a number of circumstances that signal it’s time to get the house rewired. Common indications for when to rewire a house include flickering lights, outlets making popping sounds, as well as tripped breakers. Typically, when buying an older home, the inspection will determine whether it’s time for house rewiring or not.
To find out if a rewiring house project is required, building inspectors look at both the inside and outside of the home to see if the wiring is up-to-date. Even before this inspection, home buyers can take a look at the attic, basement, and crawl spaces to get a feel of if it is required. Specifically, if you notice knob or tube wiring, this indicates old wiring from the mid-1900s that is likely in need of an upgrade. This type of wiring relies on ceramic tubes to protect the wires, unlike more modern connections using plastic or metal junction boxes.
How Long Does It Take to Rewire a House?
We know, rewiring an old house sounds like a big project, but how long does it take to rewire a house, actually? Typically, this task takes anywhere from three to ten days for a professional electrician to rewire your home. This depends largely on the size and age of your home.
Mind Your Future Expenses First: the Cost to Rewire a House
Similar to the amount of time it takes to rewire a house, the cost to rewire a house varies based on a few factors, too.
The cost to rewire a home varies largely based on the size of your home. A smaller home can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for rewiring, while a mid-range home will cost $3,500 to $8,000, and a large home will cost $8,000 to $20,000 for a full home rewiring. In the case your control panel needs to be replaced as part of the re-wiring, the cost of the control panel alone is anywhere from $1,200 to $2,400.
Keep in mind that the cost of rewiring house electrical systems will also vary based on the electrician and the location. For more information, inquire about an estimate before committing to a specific electrician to find your most budget-friendly solution.
Consider All the Details
When figuring out how to rewire a house, there are many factors that come into play. Typically, this task involves more than just replacing old wires. If an electrical panel is undersized, it will also need to be replaced with a larger one, ensuring that you’re equipped to handle the increased electronic use we’ve had in recent decades.
Prior to 1965, homes were built with 60-amp panels, which served well enough at the time when families used less electricity. And while some may feel this panel still serves well enough, it is still considered very small for today’s use. With many modern users overloading their panels, this small panel can be a fire hazard.
Nowadays, modern homes use 100-amp, 150-amp, or 200-amp panels. The most common panels used are 100 and 200-amp panels. Typically, 100-amps is enough for a home with less than 3,000 sq. ft., but any larger will likely use more appliances, and thus need more amps.
If your home was built or rewired in the 1980s or later, your upgrades will be smaller, requiring simple replacements of worn or damaged wiring and fixtures. These modern upgrades will help ensure the longevity of your system.
DIY House Rewiring or Hiring a Licensed Electrician?
Wondering how do you rewire a house as part of a DIY rewire house project? While DIY rewiring a house is possible, it is typically best handled by a licensed electrician. However, if you are dedicated to rewiring a house DIY, you can definitely save yourself some money.
If you want to rewire home electricity yourself, you must familiarize yourself with the local electrical codes and permits to start. Then, create a detailed map of the circuits you need to rewire, as well as all the sockets, switches, and other electrical elements you want to upgrade.
No matter what, when navigating how to rewire house electricity, you will always want a certified electrician to inspect your existing wiring before your dive into the project.
Create Your Plan
Every intricate home electrical project starts with a detailed home rewire plan. Especially if you’re planning on handling the rewiring yourself, you should plan how you will install your updated system. On the other hand, if you work with an electrician, you’ll plan what you want, and leave the circuit design to the professionals.
To begin your plan, start by listing the electronics and appliances you are currently using and those you want to add or upgrade in the next 25 years. Typically, homes are only required once every two decades, so it’s important to plan ahead as much as possible.
When making this plan, consider features like:
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning;
- Lighting and ceiling fans;
- Water heater;
- Washing machines and dryers;
- Kitchen appliances, i.e. refrigerator, oven, microwave, and dishwasher;
- Home office electronics, like a computer;
- Entertainment systems, including both TV and stereo;
- Hot tubs, spas, saunas, or swimming pools;
- Any hobby-related electronics, such as a sewing machine or guitar amp;
- Mobility assistive devices, i.e. wheelchair lifts;
- Larger miscellaneous features such as a treadmill.
Once you know what you want for the future, it’s time to make a simple map of your home that includes all of your major appliances and electronics, as well as the various lights, switches, and sockets. This will help better plan for the electrical circuits.
With a complete drawing, it’s time to review it with an electrician. They can help make some suggestions based on safety, practicality, and costs. It’s important to review the plan and ensure you're satisfied before beginning the house rewiring, as making changes once you’ve begun can increase the total cost in the end. While some changes may seem simple, they can actually result in complex wiring needs.
Create a Budget
Calling an electrician to rewire your house can certainly cost a pretty penny, as well as induce some short-term inconvenience around the house. That being said, investing in an electrician’s work can ensure that your home is properly updated with wiring that is safe for your family, maintaining the most modern electrical requirements.
However, this kind of job does require some budgeting, whether you go for a licensed electrician or rewiring a house DIY. The cost will vary based on the rewiring needs, which will be determined when a certified electrician inspects your existing wiring system.
As part of the budgeting process, especially when DIY rewiring a house, consider the materials needed and the extent of the rewiring process. If you need a new electrical panel, this will add at least $1,200 to the budget, so determine that in advance to see where you’re at.
It’s Better to Find a Qualified Electrical Contractor
It’s always best to trust professionals, especially when rewiring a house. For this reason, it’s important to find a qualified electrician. We recommend looking into at least three different companies and contracting them about their experience rewiring homes similar to yours.
Once you have a few companies in mind, look at the electrician’s licensing. Make sure that the company you choose has at least one master electrician who has both a master electrician license and an electrical contractor license. This will ensure they have all the relevant requirements and skills to tackle a large house rewire.
By doing your research, you can ensure you end up with the best electrical services for a safe, enduring project.
Wondering, “can you rewire a house in stages?”. Actually, you can. Rewiring the home can be quite disruptive, requiring the lifting of carpets and floorboards, as well as the opening of walls and ceilings to access wires. For this reason, rewiring a house room by room through each stage helps keep everyone organized and safe. Here’s the stage breakdown.
During the prep stage, we work to locate places for new wiring, prepping your workspace to allow enough room for the wiring while getting a full view of what you're working with.
A key element of this prep is understanding the crawl arrears that will be useful for installing the new wires. Oftentimes, the crawl areas are where electricians will do a lot of the work, so it’s essential that they are clear and ready for the project.
During the removal stage of a house rewiring project, it’s all about the filtration of the entire house. However, this can be a complex process.
While you may think this is simple, it’s never a good idea to unplug the entire system. An expert can determine if they want to pull off the complete cable or not. In more challenging scenarios, only visible wires will be removed.
In some cases in crawl spaces or important areas, you may only have the option to take out all the circuitry. Additionally, some arrears may have easily replicable systems. In these moments, an electrician will tape new wires with the old ones to replace the circuit accurately.
Now it’s time for new wiring. This rewiring process isn’t as simple as taking out the old and putting in the new. In fact, this process uses precise calculations and techniques to ensure the best results.
In some scenarios, you will begin by pre-cutting the area of every electrical circuit device. Then, we drill the openings. With this, we opt for ¾ inch holes in the top plate of the wall for each space. It’s best that two people tackle this project, with one catching the wires that come down, while the other lay the cables correctly.
Tips on How to Rewire an Old House
When it comes to rewiring an old house, there are some different tips that come into play to ensure the best results, including:
- Look into local codes and permits.
- Look out for existing infrastructure.
- Find an electrician who understands older buildings.
Rewiring a House Without Removing the Drywall
Trying to rewire a house without removing the drywall? While this is more difficult to understand, there are additional precautions that must be taken to ensure success. Without pulling drywall down, electricians are not able to staple cables to the studs behind the wall, which is the typical technique, causing them to turn to different solutions.
One option here is to secure the cable to joists or rafters with wire staples. With this, an electrician needs to ensure that each wire is expertly anchored to the correct device electrical box with a suitable clamp.
With the intricacies of this task, it’s essential a professional does the job to ensure it is installed correctly.
From prepping your space to making a plan and consulting a professional, licensed electrician, there are several elements that go into navigating how to rewire a house. Ultimately, electrical rewiring is best left to the professionals, ensuring a safe home with proper wiring to last through the years.
As the go-to electrical contracting company in South Florida and Palm Beach County, High Voltage Electric is happy to lend our expertise to tackle rewiring a house. With our team of experienced electricians, we will expertly rewire your home for years of success. To learn more about our services, contact us today.