Cost To Rewire A House & When To Hire A Contractor
Find out the cost to rewire a house, best tips and whether to hire a contractor for the job. Up to 4 free contractors’ quotes included.
A research report by the U.S Fire Administration indicates that the U.S fire department responds to at least 25,900 home fires related to electrical faults. The report further shows that the fires lead to about 280 deaths, about 1,125 injuries and property losses estimated at 1.1 billion. In fact, the report goes on to indicate that 39% of home electrical fires result from interior house wiring, outlets and receptacles and other electrical wiring systems.
The above numbers are clear indication that proper electrical wiring for your home is fundamental. If your electrical wiring is faulty and outdated, it’s critical to consider rewiring your home for safety purposes.
Rewiring your home comes with many benefits. It is actually a chance for you to avoid safety hazards and also gain a modern convenience. Rewiring allows you to upgrade to a more efficient wiring system, and add more plugs and switches for your home’s electronics and kitchen appliances.
Rewiring a home can be an expensive project, but the expense can be overruled in comparison to keeping your home and loved ones safe. Rewiring is not only preserved for old houses, in fact just because your home has old wiring it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe. You should know that even new houses can have faulty wiring as a result of a shoddy electrical job.
Whether you have a new home or an old one, rewiring is essential especially if you seem to be experiencing frequent electrical faults. It gives you an opportunity to upgrade your wiring, repair or replace electrical fittings and generally keep your home safe with an efficient wiring system. Rewiring your home is the best way to improve your home for functionality and safety reasons.
What Is Rewiring?
Rewiring a house simply involves installing new electrical wiring in your home. It’s a process where you get rid of old, faulty and uncompliant electrical components such as cables, panels, and other fittings and replace them with more efficient ones for an efficient performance.
Why Should You Rewire Your Home?
Perhaps you are wondering why you should consider rewiring your home? But, rewiring your home can never be a futile exercise. It comes with a host of benefits. Just like your car, you do not need to wait till you experience a problem to take it to the garage for service. Rather, you service it regularly whether it has a problem or not. This should also apply to your home’s wiring.
Here are reasons why you should consider rewiring your home regularly and why it’s essential.
Increased Service Capacity
If you have an older home that you know was built before 1960 and you haven’t upgraded the existing wiring, the chances are that the wiring system might not be able to accommodate the modern appliances. Homes built back then had a standard power capacity of 60-amp which cannot sustain the modern appliances. The modern houses require service capacity of at least 100-amp to be functional and accommodate the current appliances. 60-amp service capacity is not safe for your electrical operations, and it will not give you optimal usability. In fact, if your home has 60-amp service capacity, you have a slim chance of getting an insurance company that can agree to cover your home.
Today’s technology demands a higher service capacity that an older home’s wiring cannot handle. Back then, homeowners didn’t have many appliances and the few they had, had less voltage as compared to the current appliances.
Electrical needs depend on the number of appliances you have and the size of your home. Rewiring your home will enable you to acquire the right service capacity for your appliances, and you will no longer have to worry about overloading your electrical system. You will also upgrade to a wiring system that is in line with the size of your home.
An Electrical Panel Upgrade
Your home has an electrical panel that acts as distribution board where your home’s wiring starts. The electrical panel has subsidiary circuits that enable your appliances to operate on substantial power simultaneously and more efficiently. The modern home has around 2 or more 240-circuits that can operate high voltage appliances and more than sixteen 120-volt circuits for running simple operations such as lighting and powering small appliances.
The electrical panel has circuit breakers and fuses that protect circuits from overloads which often lead to sparks, cases of overheating and ultimately fires. Therefore, the electric panel as the main component of electrical supply should be efficient and up to date to bear your home’s electrical needs.
Older homes that have not been rewired are likely not to have the standard 240-volt capacity which means your appliances are running on insubstantial power with possible incidences of overloads. For example, without the 240-volt capacity, you might not be able to use your washing machine and the dryer concurrently. You have to switch off one appliance to operate the other one.
An outdated panel also means that it’s less efficient and you might not get maximum output from your appliances. In addition, an electrical panel that has seen better days will wear down with time and become a safety hazard. You might start experiencing power outages, or buzzing sounds which are an indication that your electrical panel is faulty.
Rewiring your home will enable you to upgrade to a new electrical panel that is properly grounded and can accommodate more circuits.It will have at least 240-volt circuits to run your heavy-duty appliances without overloading issues and still have other circuits for other simple electrical task and operations.
Upgrade Your Wiring
Rewiring your home will allow you to replace your wiring system to the one that meets the required codes. Some older homes, especially the ones built before 1945 may be fitted with the knob-and-tube system which considered to be a safety hazard. In fact, insurance companies don’t insure homes with this kind of wiring.
There is also a chance that your home has aluminum wiring especially if it was built in the 1960s and 1970s. This kind of wiring is vulnerable to hazards due to lack of proper insulation. The newer homes are fitted with insulated cables that have ground wires.
Rewiring your home will allow you to get rid of the old wiring system and upgrade to the new wires which will be installed appropriately. The new wires are well insulated, and they will be properly enclosed for maximum safety. Additionally, a new wiring system will meet the required codes and the set standards.
The new rewiring system gives you an opportunity to have the correct number of wall receptacles required for each room as per the current codes. Some of the receptacles have GFCI-ground fault interrupters to prevent chances of electrical shocks especially in wet areas such as in the kitchen and bathrooms.
GFCIs protects your home from incidences of high currents and also prevents electrocution. However, you will find that older homes have ungrounded two slot outlets compared to modern homes that are fitted with at least three outlets. Some outlets have a fourth slot that accepts the ground plug in your appliances and other electronics.
A new rewiring system guarantees protection for your appliances and electronic devices. As a homeowner, you are protected from any possible hazards that may come as a result of poor or outdated wiring that does not meet the required codes.
This is one of the most obvious reasons to rewire your home. Safety in your home is paramount, and as a homeowner, it’s your mandate to make sure that the wiring in your home is up to date, safe and meets the codes. Rewiring your home eliminates all the faults that can lead to electrical malfunction and safety issues.
By rewiring your home, you get a chance to install up to date fittings that allow you to operate your appliances and electronic devices without the risk of overheating and overloading. Additionally, you can be able to access affordable insurance cover for your home and protect your valuables.
Rewiring your home gives you a chance to have various electrical outlets in each room. This comes to an advantage for you because you can now customize your home particularly your living space for your convenience. You can have the outlets installed at places that are more convenient for use. In addition, you can actually have your most important appliances wired to their circuits which is cost effective and reduces overloading issues. In fact, by rewiring your home, you gain more control over your electrical needs. For example, you can now install dimmers and control your lighting needs to suit a particular mood or usability.
Increase the Value of Your Home
You could be planning to put your home up for sale in future. For you to get the best price, you need to invest in a proper wiring system for your home to make it more appealing to buyers. Potential home buyers may shy away from a house that has old and faulty wiring system for obvious reasons. Besides, it would be quite unfortunate if new owners suffered losses due to poor or faulty wiring in the home you just sold.
A potential buyer or assessor will request for inspection of the wiring system, and you are more likely to make a better deal if your home has proper wiring. It might be an expense to rewire your home, but you stand a chance of getting better returns on your investment.
Signs That Indicate That You Need To Rewire Your House
Your home’s wiring, just like any other part of your home will experience normal wear and tear with time. Sometimes the wiring in your home can be damaged due to external factors such pests leading to safety hazards. Whichever way, an aging or faulty wire is a safety hazard to you, and your family and action should be taken as soon as possible.
If your electrical wiring system is damaged or worn out it will give you various signs to indicate that something is wrong. Here are some of the signs you should look out for in your home’s electrical system to know if you need to consider a rewiring project.
Flickering lights is usually a sign that your current wiring is faulty especially in older homes. Sometimes occasional flickering is normal especially when you turn on appliances that require a lot of power to function such as heating and cooling system. However, if you the flickering is too frequent or recurrent there is an underlying problem. It could be that your wiring is damaged, worn out or already outdated.
Frequent Tripped Breakers and Fuses Blowing Up
Your home’s electrical panel is meant to flip if there’s an electrical overload that requires more power than what the breaker can allow. Generally, a breaker acts a safety feature in your home’s electrical system for a safe functionality.
If the breaker keeps tripping too often, it’s an indication that it’s faulty or your entire electrical needs are higher than the capacity of the breaker. Similarly, if you find yourself replacing fuses too regularly, it’s a clear indication that something is not right with your wiring. Often, it could be that some of your outlets are not getting the right amount of current and it’s possible that you experiencing power overload.
Burning smell should be treated as a red flag. If this happens, you need to call an electrician immediately to address the issue. It’s an obvious indication that something is very wrong with your wiring system. Burning smells could be as a result of overloaded circuit breakers or worn out power outlets that tend to burn when you plug in an appliance. In most cases, when you experience burning smells, it’s usually a clear sign that your home needs a complete rewiring job that will be able to sustain your power demands without overloading your circuits.
Your Home Has Ungrounded Outlets
Older homes may have ungrounded two slot outlets which have already been phased out by the electrical and construction codes. Ungrounded outlets are a safety hazard and they are not compatible with the majority of modern appliances. In fact, they are considered a threat to your home and household.
If you experience minor electrical shocks when you plug in your appliances, then this is a sign that the appliances you are using are not properly grounded and this is very dangerous. If this is the scenario in your home, then you have an underlying wiring issue that needs to be addressed. The modern homes are fitted with three prong outlets that meet the required standard codes for wiring.
However, some homes especially the older ones still operate with ungrounded outlets which cannot accommodate the modern appliances. If you rewire your home, you will be able to replace the ungrounded outlets with the grounded ones and operate your appliances safely.
If you hear buzzing sounds coming from the electrical outlets you need to call an electrician immediately. It’s an indication that there is a serious issue with your wiring that could lead to adverse safety hazards including electrical fires.
Buzzing sounds could be a result of wrong connections or worn out or damaged wires. This means that the wiring in your home is already compromised and action should be taken immediately. If you hear buzzing sounds coming from your electrical outlets, you are advised to take it as a serious issue. You should switch off the power supply and discontinue using any electrical appliances and then call an electrician.
Your Home Has Aluminum Wiring
Most homes that were built in the 70s, 60s, and 50s, were installed with an aluminum electrical wiring. Even though it was very common back then, aluminum wiring was discovered to be a safety hazard, and it was actually the main cause of most electrical fires in homes back then. Due to this, the construction and building standards replaced the aluminum wiring with copper which is considered to be safe and stable to handle the electric current.
If you happen to discover that your home has the discontinued aluminum wiring, you need to start budgeting for a complete rewiring. You will be safer having the current wiring system that meets the standard codes.
Your Home Has Electrical Wiring Dating Back To More Than 30 Years
If your home’s electrical wiring dates back to more than 30 years, you have no option other than to rewire your entire home. This can be a case where you move to home thinking its modern but in actual sense, it was constructed more than 30 years ago and it’s possible that the wiring has not been upgraded since then. If you are not sure about the wiring in your new home, it’s advisable that you call an electrician to inspect your electrical wiring system to see if it’s up-to-date and meets the required codes.
If indeed your electrical wiring system is more than 30 years old, you need to rewire your whole home. This is because the modern technology and appliances require more power compared to what was being used back then. Therefore, you need to rewire your home to accommodate your electrical needs and get a power supply that can effectively and efficiently operate your home.
Cost of Rewiring a House
The cost of rewiring a home varies depending on various factors such as the age of the house, the nature of the existing wire (whether it’s up-to-date with the codes), the number of outlets to be installed and the square footage of your home.
Once you call an electrician, they will inspect your home and do an audit of the entire wiring system in your house. From the findings, they will advise on the next course of action. In some cases, they could recommend just a few adjustments while in others, the entire house may require a whole rewiring.
A complete home rewiring project is a large project that requires money, planning and time. It also requires a professional, experienced electrician.
Electrical wiring is a delicate and complex process that needs precision and knowledge. It is not advised to handle a rewiring job as DIY. The main reason for rewiring your home is to ensure safety, so, it’s up to you to make sure that the job is properly done by a professional and meets the set standards.
An electrician will inspect and identify existing issues in your old wiring system. They will further find solutions and brief you on the power capacity of your home. They will come up with an effective and efficient electrical design that meets your electrical needs and suits the size of your home.
A professional electrician will charge you an average cost of $65-$85 per hour to remodel your house. This cost does not include the parts and materials needed for the rewiring job. For example, to rewire a 1200 square foot house, it will take approximately two hours for each wiring connection. If the electrician is using the hourly rate, the total cost of labor excluding the parts used will come to about $130 to $170 for the two hours.
If the rewiring project is fairly big, an electrician can work with a minimum service fee. However, this fee is set in such a way that the electrical company is still able to cater for overhead costs once they are at the site. This means that if the rewiring task takes 30 minutes, you will still be required to pay the minimum service charge. This ensures that you cater for the electrician’s time, transport charges and other associated costs.
Therefore, before you agree on the minimum service fee, it’s advisable to establish the scope of work and the expected amount of time the project will take. Professional electricians charge a minimum service fee of about $175 to $250. This fee will depend on your location and also the complexity of the job.
Cost Of Opening Walls, Installing and Running Wires
This is a complex process that requires time and adequate materials. For an existing home, electrical wiring is usually done inside the wall. This means that the wires are run behind the drywall and the plaster making the job more complex since it’s hard to reach-place.
To run new wiring, the electrician has to open up the walls, remove the existing wire and then replace the entire house with the new wiring. The professional will then repair the walls back after running the new wiring.
If you have a standard house of about 1200 square foot, it will cost approximately $3500 to $8000 to rewire the entire house through walls. However, the cost can sometimes be on the lower side in cases where the electrician doesn’t have to open the walls. Instead of opening walls, the electrician runs the electrical wires through the basement, floor joists, and crawl places or even through the attic.
If you have a bigger home or one that has limited access to crawl places, the cost of rewiring the entire home can go beyond $20,000. When getting a quote from a professional electrician, make sure that it includes the labor charges, cost of materials to be used, cost of opening and repairing the walls, and also cost of disposing of the old wiring and materials.
While doing the rewiring process, you can opt to use the structured wiring which is a heavy-duty electrical and data cable that accommodates the modern appliances, entertainment and communication devices in an enhanced manner. The average cost of structured wiring comes to about $2per square feet. For an average of about 1200 square feet, the cost of structured wiring will total to an average of $2400.
|Rewiring a house of 1200 square feet
|Removing the existing wiring, running the wires through the joists, floors, basement, crawl spaces, and the attic
|Wiring a house of 1200 square feet
|Opening up the walls, removing the old wire and replacing with a new one. Repairing the walls.
|Wiring a larger house of about $2,500 sq. ft.
|Opening walls and removing the old wires, running new wires- and repairs.
|structured wiring for a 1200 square feet house
|$2 per square feet
Upgrading an Electrical Panel
If you have an older home, you probably have an electrical panel that services capacity of 60 amps. Back then, appliances did not require high voltage, and so, most houses were built with a lower service capacity. However, over the years, appliances have undergone through technological advancements, and they require a higher capacity to function efficiently.
In addition, an older or worn out panel board carries a risk of getting corroded, overheating and overloading issues. If you have a panel of lower service capacity, your appliances will be running on insufficient power making them less efficient and overloading the panel more often.
With such a panel, you will start experiencing frequent tripping, blown fuses and with time you might start hearing a buzzing sound, an indication of a safety hazard. It is therefore prudent to consider upgrading the electrical panel when rewiring your home to sustain your power demands.
A modern home requires an electrical panel of minimum service capacity of 100 amps. The panels are available in service capacities of 100 amps, 150 amps, 200 amps and you can even one for 400amps.
If you are doing a home remodeling with major additions, for example, you could be planning to do additional wiring to your basement or garage, you will need to upgrade your electrical panel. This way your panel service capacity will be able to handle your electrical needs and run your appliances efficiently.
Expect to spend an average cost of $1300 to$3000 to upgrade to a 200 amps panel including the materials to be used. The bigger percentage of the cost of upgrading your panel goes to labor charges which come to about $500 to $800. The panel costs about $300 to $500. Other costs come to around $100 which include the necessary fittings and the extra wires required to complete the panel upgrade.
|Upgrading to100 amps electrical panel
|Upgrading to200 amps electrical panel
Cost of Adding an Outlet
When rewiring your home, you might have to consider adding more switches or outlets in most rooms for convenience purposes. Your existing wiring system may not have enough electrical outlets, or in some cases, the outlets may be located in less convenient places limiting their use.
The modern rewiring system allows for two or three outlets in one space as per the code requirement. Adding the number of outlets in your home will enable you to operate your appliances more conveniently without any limitations.
The cost of adding an outlet comes to about $100 to $180 per outlet. For wet rooms such as the bathroom and the kitchen, it’s advisable to install GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) to prevent incidences of electrical shocks especially for homes with children.
|adding three-way switch
|Adding single pole switch
|Installing GFCI protection
|Adding a conventional outlet
|Adding external outlet (with cover)
Other Rewiring Additional Cost Considerations
If you are planning to rewire your home, you need to consider the following additional costs that are likely to come up on top of the rewiring costs.
Upgrading lighting fixtures – when rewiring, you should consider upgrading your lighting fixtures to efficient ones. The cost of installing and adding lighting fixture varies depending on the type of lights you chose. The average cost of installing a single fixture ranges from $45 for basic ones to about $160 for standard or mid-range ones. The cost can go as high as $800 per light fixture for the luxury lighting fixtures.
Changing the grounding rod – when rewiring your home, it is essential to change the grounding rod to make sure your home is properly grounded. The standard 8″ rod will cost you approximately $350.
Local codes – includes permits and inspections- if you are planning to rewire your home your project has to abide by the local codes and electrical laws. The electrician should be aware of the required permits and has to make sure he acquires the permits before they start the rewiring project. The permits allow the relevant authority to inspect the rewiring project after completion to make sure that the work meets the required standards and codes.
The permits are extremely important, and they are used to make sure that your home meets the modern standards and that you are safe and protected from any electrical hazards. The permits come at a cost, and the charges are usually included in your initial rewiring quote. But, it’s essential to discuss the charges with your contractor when coming with the rewiring quote.
It’s also necessary to note that permit fees are different for different regions. Similarly, various electrical works require different permits. For example, if you are removing knob and tube wiring, you will be charged around $250 to $550 for a permit.
Replacing meter socket – this is an electrical socket that is usually installed outdoors. It connects the electrical meters to the panel board. Meter sockets are generally designed to last for a long period, over 30 years. However, some circumstances can force you to replace the meter socket.
If your meter socket is outdated and it doesn’t meet the electrical codes you have to do a replacement as you rewire your house. Other factors such as power loads, external damages such as vandalism or even natural damages such as excessive moisture can affect the quality of meter sockets.
Meter sockets come with different costs depending on service capacity. 100-amps meter costs an average of $50 to $150. An electrician will charge you $400 to $500 for its installation. 200-amps meter sockets come at an average cost of $200 to $400 with an installation fee of about $500 to $800.
Replacing knob and tube wiring – older homes especially ones built before 1950 are likely to have knob and tube wiring. This kind of wiring is considered as a safety hazard, and most insurance companies do not insure homes with this kind of wiring.
This kind of wiring was prevalent 1950s, but now it’s considered dangerous, and it doesn’t meet the electrical code’s requirement. It has no ground wire meaning you are not protected in case of any faults. Since it’s insulated with a sheathing, if exposed to electrical overloads, the insulation might become brittle and expose the wires leading to excessive heating which can cause electrical fires.
The codes do not indicate that you have to do away with the knob and tube wiring except in access points. However, if you are remodeling your home or rewiring your entire house, it makes sense to do away with this kind of wiring. The average cost of removing knob and tube wiring ranges from $4500 to $5500. This task requires you to obtain a permit which will cost an additional $250 to $550.
Factors to Consider When Planning a Rewiring Project
As a homeowner, you have your reasons for considering rewiring your home. It could be that you have an older home that has an outdated wiring system that has seen better days and it’s now worn and inefficient. Or, you could be doing a remodeling job that involves major addition, and the project presents the perfect opportunity to rewire your home. Or, the current wiring cannot handle your modern appliances, and you need an upgrade.
Whatever reasons, it’s essential to put the following factors into consideration as you plan to rewire your home.
Rewiring a house is not a simple job that anyone can perform. It requires an experienced and skilled electrician to rewire your home to meet the safety standards and codes. Before you start a rewiring project, you will require a professional assessment.
An electrician will inspect and assess the state of the existing wiring system and give you an audit report detailing what needs to be changed and replaced. At this point, they will give you a quote based on the scope of work.
To do this, you need to search for a qualified contractor who is licensed, certified and insured. The assessment stage also allows you to get multiple quotes that will let you make a price comparison. This way, you will not have to spend exorbitantly or pay lowly for a substandard job.
Inspection by the Relevant Authority
Rewiring an entire home is a major project that touches on electrical and construction codes. For you to rewire your home, you have to obtain permits, and the local authority will have to inspect the rewiring job after its completion.
Permits and inspection verify that the rewiring was done up to the set standards and codes. They ensure your safety as a homeowner, and it’s a way of protecting you from substandard work from unqualified persons. This is why it’s recommended that you hire a qualified, licensed and certified electrician to rewire your house. A qualified electrician knows the codes and the necessary permits to be acquired and will take you through the process of rewiring smoothly without delays and unnecessary complications.
Rewiring a home is a big project and a major investment that is likely to put a dent in your pocket. The cost of rewiring majorly depends on the scope of work, the size of your home, labor charges, and materials to be used.
It’s critical that you take your time and come up with a budget that will accommodate top quality materials. A rewiring job should be done to last and stand the test of time. A shoddy job or substandard materials might come at a lower price, but the wiring won’t last, not to mention the safety hazards.
Consider investing in premium materials that will guarantee you quality work such that you will not have to repeat the rewiring. In this case, take your time and budget accordingly.
Plan for Your Future Electrical Needs
When doing a rewiring job, don’t limit yourself to the current electrical needs of your home. As time goes by, your electrical needs may increase, and you will require a higher service capacity. For example, you might be planning to add an air conditioning unit after a few years. If you have a single phase electrical system, it will become inadequate if the additional appliances require a higher power capacity.
To avoid this, discuss with your electrician and consider installing wiring with a higher power capacity than your current needs. This way, you can always add more appliances without worrying about power capacity issues and overloading problems.
Rewiring your home is an essential step towards ensuring your safety and that of your household. Worn out, damaged and outdated wiring can be a safety hazard that can lead to electrical fires, injuries, and even deaths. Your electrical system will show you signs that indicate that you need to rewire your home.
Some of the signs that you should never ignore include, frequent tripping of circuit breakers, blown fuses, burning smells, discolored outlets, flickering lights and lack of proper grounding. If you experience any of the highlighted signs, it’s time to look for an experienced and qualified electrician to assess, inspect and recommend the right action for your home’s wiring system.
Fortunately, rewiring, if done appropriately can be a one time job that will serve you for years and a good return on your investment. It is advisable not to try DIY as rewiring is a complex task that requires skills and knowledge to ensure safety.