So what is an Electrical Rewire?
An electrical house rewire replaces all or part of the electrical wiring in a house in order to maintain safety and prevent dangerous problems, such as faulty wiring. If missed, such faults could lead to severe damage or even death from fires, particularly in older properties.
An electrical rewire will bring your property up to today’s standards, increasing your safety and could also provide you with additional and more conveniently placed electrical sockets, You can also include extras such as modern safety devices and circuit breaker boards that will provide protection from electric shocks and fire.
When Should a Rewire Be Done?
There are many reasons to rewire your home. Some of the most common reasons are as follows:
- Rewirings are needed approximately every 20-25 years, After this time you should get the wiring checked at the very least.
- Failed electrical inspections.
- Insurance requirements.
- Mortgage requirements.
- Continuous problems such as tripping RCDs or constantly blowing fuses.
- Buzzing noises or over heating from electrical sockets, Often identified as brown marks on the socket front.
- Electrical appliances turning on and off or lights flickering, these may nor require a full rewire but must be investigated immediately as they could point to loose wiring which will overheat.
- Electricity or appliances stop functioning in one (or more) areas of the home.
- Outdated, black rubber or even paper coated wiring (which can be over 50 years old).
The rewiring of a house can be a considerable amount of work, but it is necessary to prevent accidents such as short circuits, which can cause fires, never underestimate the damage a simple loose wire can cause.
You can check yourself if your house needs to be rewired.
If your fuses regularly blow, this could indicate that short circuits happen a lot.
Check the colour of your wires: if you find black wires, these are probably over fifty years old and they do not correspond to safety regulations. If you find these are rubber or even paper covered wires, your house definitely needs rewiring.
Factors Involved in the Cost to Rewire a House
Older homes, although filled with charm and character, may require whole-house rewiring for safety and to meet local building codes. There are several questions that determine the cost of rewiring a house, such as:
- What is the cost of hiring a licensed electrician?
- Will you need to install a new electrical panel?
- How much will the materials cost to rewire the house?
Think it through!
Is there really a need for four sockets in every room?
Or those 20 spotlights in your kitchen?
The answer could well be no!. Spotlights are time consuming to install adding extra cost to the rewire and if you are on a budget that is the very last thing you want.
Therefore, it can be seen that there is no simple answer to this question as each property will have it’s own requirements and difficulties.
Hiring an Electrical Contractor to Rewire a House
Rewiring a house can be a very time-consuming project and therefore it goes without saying that ensuring you hire an experienced, qualified and insured electrician is well worth the investment.
Be sure to ask for references, and ensure the electrical contractor is qualified and properly insured, Ask to see documents to prove this.
The rewiring of a home is a large project both in terms of time and financial investment, so you want to make sure you’re in excellent hands before the process begins.
Materials Involved to Rewire a House
You will also need to account for extra, unexpected, costs, such as new light switches, sockets and light fixtures. Some electricians may include these additional costs in the quote, and some may not.
It is possible to save a small amount of money if the existing switch plates and outlet covers can be used. However, new outlets and switches will usually need to be installed.
Do not be tempted to save money by purchasing switches and sockets from the pound shop, these are often inferior products and may not meet the correct safety standards, after all you are getting a rewire done for safety reasons and to cut corners for the sake of a few pounds is a very bad investment which could cost you much more than the amount saved, both in financial and health terms.
Remember that the copper wire alone used to rewire a house is expensive and depending on the size of your home, can add up quickly so, if possible, get a quote with parts included.
Electrical House Rewiring: Ensure Your Installation Is Safe and Legal
You must hire a professional to do the job. A professional electrician will be able to establish a plan of the electrical wires in your property and draw up with a method to replace everything.
They will, most likely, want to work on one room at a time. You can help, and save money, by moving your furniture away from the walls and getting ready to spend a few days without power. For safety issues, you should not turn the electricity back on until the house rewiring process is finished or unless your electrician says it is safe to do so, which could take up to a whole week if you have a large house although a good electrician will restore the power each day before leaving.
The electrician may have to remove wall, floor and ceiling panels and replace the wires one by one with new wiring that conforms to safety regulations.
If you have dry lining or suspended ceilings, the process might be easier as the walls and ceiling panels can easily be removed and then replaced. However, if you have solid walls and ceilings, electricians may have to drill holes to access the cables.
Once the electricians have replaced all the cables, they can replace the fuse box if it is too old for safety or regulations, as well as lighting points, outlets and switches with new products that are safer and look better.
New electrical equipment allows you to run all of your appliances safely on a safe network of wires, instead of using old and obsolete wires that were not designed for the amount of electricity used in today’s busy household.
Planning to have your property rewired
An electrical rewire is a major disruptive job to have carried out to your house. It is usually a huge project and you would be well advised to collect as much information as possible before making a decision whether to have a rewire done to your property.
To discover the true condition of the electrical installation existing in your home, have a very good Periodic Inspection Report performed which will highlight any problematic areas. However, if you just take a look at your fuse panel and you see that cables are coming away, then it may well be time to have a rewire anyway.
The only solution to rewiring a house is to employ a competent electrician. Why? Because they know the set standards for electrical installations as well as safety issues concerning electricity.
Here are a few tips on selecting the very best deals from an electrical contractor.
- Ensure that you are engaging professional electricians who are properly accredited by the relevant bodies. Ask to see their accreditation and get them to give full details. They should have a card with them, and also you should be able to check their registration number with the appropriate Authority.
- You would also be wise to get some information about their previous jobs. Ideally straight from previous customers. You should ask questions about the rewiring work they did for them. Did they have any problems with them along the way? Are they pleased with their work? If you find anything bad about them then you can look for someone else to do your work.
- Once you are happy with details about their previous work, the next thing to do would be to agree a fixed price for the work. Usually the electrician will present you with a proposal and then follow up later with a contract detailing the work that should be done. Study the small print and ensure that there are no hidden costs. Also make sure that that you are covered with a full guarantee on the work done.
- Of course you want the best price but not at the expense of poor workmanship, get at least three electricians to quote on your house rewire – unless you have already made up your mind after having recommendations from friends or relatives. Do not forget that this is a massive event for you and your property, you need it done right first time, your safety and that of the family is at stake, so base your decision on all things and not just the price.
- Ensure you are happy with the job start and estimated end date, Be aware that some quote lower but fit your work in around other work, This is fine if you have an empty property and are in no rush but not much use if you are trying to live in the property while the work is being done.
Bear in mind that this is a major undertaking with your property, disruption of your day to day routine is inevitable, but ask just what disruption you will likely be facing. Enquire if you will need to move out of the house while work is being done. Make it clear to the contractor who is responsible for moving furniture or lifting carpets, flooring etc before the project begins. It’s always a good idea to gather all of the information needed before starting on any undertaking such as a house rewire.
Walk around with the electrician and decide where switches and sockets will work best for you, This is your one chance to get things right so there is no point replacing a socket that is hidden by the wardrobe if it will serve you better a couple of feet along the wall.
A good plan is to walk around each room and decide what you really need and where, then you can put a post-it note on ones that need to be moved or are no longer required.
There are rumours surrounding new house rewire installations which state that you could be without power for days. This is not true, as has already been stated, a good electrician will restore the power each day before leaving.
Just how much is a house rewire likely to cost?
Obviously, there are lots of details when having a rewire and these will all contribute to the total cost.
Let’s start with the Consumer unit or as the older generation call them fuse boxes. This is the point in the electrical system of a house where the electrical supply is sent off to the different circuits. The main circuits being lighting, power sockets, cooker & shower circuits. All of these need to be protected by a separate circuit breaker. Then there will be a mains switch & an RCD or residual current device, this a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire. It can also provide some protection against electrical fires.
The consumer unit is a technical and time-consuming item to add to the work of an electrical installation and must to only be done by a competent electrician. The idea of a complete house rewire is to replace all old cables with new to the consumer unit and make them live.
Electrical circuits can be installed in various ways, two-way lighting circuits that operate from different locations, one-way lighting that only operate from one switch, power sockets, cooker points and the rest, this might mean various different lengths of fresh cable have to be ran throughout the property. This will require in-depth thought as to where best to gain access for the new outlets and in some cases require plastering or patching up around the affected areas. Additionally there is cross bonding (Earthing) to take in to consideration, This is where an earth wire is connected to any metal piping in the property to ensure, if the worst happened and there was a problem, the power would dissipate to earth via the correct route rather that it trying to get to earth through your body.
There will invariably be extras that must be included along the way, home alarm systems, bathroom fans, electric showers, shaver points, central heating circuits. All the earlier mentioned must be thought about when routing new cable back to your consumer unit.
To summarise then you can see it is not at all possible to price a rewire unseen as each job will be completely different.
There are some ways you can save money on your home rewire though.
Would you be happy with a Surface Installation?
Surface installations are something often overlooked when it comes to house rewiring. A surface installation is where wiring is put on the surface in what is called trunking which is a white plastic channel with a clip-on lid hiding your cables away from view. Sockets and switches can also be fitted to the surface sitting on what is called a pattress. The advantages of a surface install are that it is much quicker making the total cost of your house rewire as much as 40% less than a flush installation. The disadvantages are it can be rather unsightly to look at, but if you are on a budget and in need to make the wiring in your home safe it is definitely worth consideration. The trunking can always be painted or papered so that it hardly notices. Surface running could also be something to consider for just a part of the property where running a new cable is going to be considerably bothersome, there is no need to run surface over the entire project and if a surface cable is going to take an hour as opposed to a full day running the cable to follow the original route it could well be worth considering.
Consider having the most important rooms rewired first
This is a good way to get the rewire done without having to pay a large sum out in one go.
It is possible to have some rooms rewired first and get others done at a later date when you have sufficient funds to complete the job. If choosing which rooms to rewire first choose the ones that are considered most unsafe by your electrician, also the rooms used most, might be a good idea to get done first as these are the rooms creating the most load for the consumer unit to carry. This is the best way for someone on a budget to get the most dangerous rooms of the property made safe with a view to getting the rest done at a later date.
House Rewire Products
The standard products installed by electricians are designed to be fast and efficient to install keeping costs down. Additional items that contribute to the cost of a house rewire are shaver points, bathroom fans and outside lighting. If you are on a budget it is wise to contemplate exactly what it is you need, and leave the things you do not.
Do some work yourself
It is possible to relieve your electricians of some work they have to do on your property to complete your full house rewire. Some know-how may be required but not vast amounts, an example might be pulling back the carpet or even lifting the floorboards to save the electricians time and allow them to concentrate on the job using the expert skills you are paying them for.
Another big plus for any electrician is a property that has been de-cluttered, This may be a good time to get rid of some stuff you no longer need. A large time waster for wiring installation is the electrician having to move things around, bits of furniture of nic-nacs take time to move, Suppose you have book shelves with 150 books on it and a socket that needs to be rewired sitting behind it, Do you really want to pay electrician hourly rates to get them moved? Your electrician will have to move all of that to gain access to the outlet. If you think about it there are lots of ways to keep the costs down by saving them time.